If you are trying to eat more healthily then salad is a popular choice for a meal as it can be quite filling and there are a lot of different things you can do with it. Lettuce often provides the base for the rest of the salad and you may not often give much thought to the type of lettuce that you use other than how it tastes. However, some types of lettuce are much healthier than others. The five healthiest types of lettuce that you can eat are listed below.
When you purchase living lettuce it will still have its roots attached. This means that is will keep hold of its nutrients for longer than other types of lettuce as you can just pick off the leaves yourself as and when you need them. It also stays fresh in your fridge for more than two weeks after it has been purchased. The amount of nutrients will decrease the older the lettuce is but there is a good chance that you will definitely be able to eat all of it before it gets to the point where it needs to be thrown away.
Oakleaf lettuce contains high amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It gets its name from the fact that the leaves look like leaves from an oak tree. It is one of the only types of lettuce that contains multiple types of vitamins which means it is one of the healthiest choices you can make. Vitamin A can give your immune levels a real boost and there are some powerful antioxidants that can be found in Vitamin C. Oakleaf lettuce is also a good source of dietary fiber and so it can help to improve your digestive health.
Red Leaf Lettuce
Red leaf lettuce contains a lot of phytonutrients and it is these which help to give the leaves it's red color. There are many health benefits that are associated with phytonutrients and eating lettuce with red leaves is a good way to get some of this type of nutrient. There are several different types of phytonutrients and red lettuce contains a number of these. They act as an antioxidant and some studies have shown that they can be effective in preventing certain types of cancer.
Green Leaf Lettuce
Lettuce with green leaves is a great source of Vitamin K. It is especially important to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin K if you have a very active lifestyle. It also helps to transport calcium throughout the body and so is important for the health of your bones. If you consume enough vitamin K through your diet then there should be no need to take a supplement. Eating lettuce with green leaves is a good place to start.
Many of the nutrients that can be found in green leaf lettuce can also be found in the Romaine variety, although not in such high quantities. If you prefer your lettuce with a little more crunch then Romaine could be a good choice. As with other types of lettuce the antioxidants that it contains are thought to be able to prevent cancer. Romaine lettuce does sometimes get something of a bad press as it has been linked to outbreaks of E-coli.
Iceberg lettuce is one of the most popular varieties of lettuce and is the one that most people think of first. In terms of nutrients though it is one of the worst that you can choose because it contains little more than water. If this is something that you usually have in your salad then you might want to change to one of the types of lettuce on this list. You can experiment with them in some different dishes and may end up finding some new favorite meals.
Another thing that you may want to consider is buying prepackaged bags of mixed greens. These may contain several different types of lettuces that have been discussed above and are one of the cheapest ways to buy a number of different varieties to eat at the same time. They will also contain other green vegetables that are full of nutrients and are an important part of a balanced diet.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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