Diet Tip: Iceberg vs Romaine Lettuce
Ever since my friend Didan shared an image on Facebook of the comparison between the nutritional facts of Iceberg and Romaine lettuce, I can be heard all over being the ultimate salad snob requesting romaine everywhere and lamenting that nowhere offers romaine over iceberg. The differences are astounding and here in Jamaica where “salad” is two huge slices of tomato and two leaves of iceberg, maybe likkle carrot and cabbage shredded over it, I am not amused. I want romaine! Take a look at this:
Things start getting REAL serious when we get down to the vitamins and minerals, doesn’t it? Like, why are we even eating iceberg lettuce??? It should be used as mulch for romaine. Hmph! And if you want a salad in any of the most uptownest expensivest places in Jamaica, best believe a huge bed of iceberg is the first ingredient and all the other fanciness make up the 10% of the salad left, for an arm and a leg. Here’s a quote from The Examiner:
Aren’t all types of lettuce pretty much the same? Iceberg is the most commonly known lettuce in salads, and the main reason it is so widely used in restaurants is its cost and shelf life. Iceberg does not go bad as quickly as leaf lettuce and is usually less expensive, so it brings a better profit.
Romaine is the most commonly used leaf lettuce, and it is a bit harder than mixed baby greens and other varieties. It is normally more expensive than iceberg and is therefore not used as widely, although more and more restaurants are adding it to their salad menus.
Romaine is nutritionally superior to iceberg. According to a chart posted on World’s Healthiest Foods, romaine is packed with nutrients, including vitamins K, A, and C, and also good amounts of folate and magnesium. The green leafy parts are more nutritious than the white crunchy centers, but all of it provides fiber. And fiber is what acts as an internal cleanser, safely ushering out waste while absorbing toxins. According to the American Dietetic Association increased fiber in the diet benefits health maintenance and disease prevention, and is a strong player in colon health. The ADA also points out that a good-sized salad can provide as much as 2-3 servings of vegetables!
I got pretty excited when I was invited by the Jamaica Observer on their Quick Service Restaurant Week crawl to explore a few of our fast food offerings and found out that Pizza Hut in New Kingston offers a delicious looking chicken caesar salad made with romaine lettuce! Alas, it seems to be a slippery option on the menu, available whenever I am not looking only. :/
Hold the croutons and breadsticks please. Dark leafy greens pack the most powerful punch. Popeye had it right when we were kids. Want an even funner comparison? Check out why I try to never ever run out of superfood kale! (or spinach)
What are you having in your salads?