Lettuce nutritional value

Lettuce nutritional value includes a rich source of flavonoids and folate.

Are you concerned about where your food is sourced from, what medium it is grown in and which toxic poisons it has been sprayed with? And how long ago it was picked? Then it is time to start planting some lettuce seeds yourself.

How many different kinds do you have growing in your garden? There are those with pale green leaves but others are much darker; some are purple or reddish. There are oak-shaped fronds, a few are soft and frilly; and there are those that are very firm.

Lettuce patch

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 9th May, 2024.

Notice too the baby spinach arrowed; it is perfect in a green salad. Each of these plants has subtle variability in the vitamin, mineral and phytochemical mix; that is why we should enjoy at least five and preferably ten different coloured vegetables and fruits every single day.

We have been picking two leaves from each every day for a month and it will go on for at least another; don't pull out the whole plant. Lettuce in your own garden is rewarding because it will continue for so long providing you with fresh greens daily.

Notice the mulch that keeps the weeds down and the roots damp.

"Kale boasts over 3 times as much fiber, almost 10 x as much vitamin A and 14 fold the calcium when compared with iceberg lettuce.

It has 16 times as much vitamin K and almost 30 x more C."

- Marygrace Taylor

There are subtle differences between all these greens; some are rich in this, others in that; yet they all get heaped together at lettuce.

You may have heard that if you daily consume at least seven different coloured foods, you have a 35 percent lower risk from all-causes of death. It is strong research in which scientists followed folk over a twenty year period.

Each of these lettuces constitutes a contrasting coloured salad; they are not the same.

Red and green lettuce

Then you add the differences between organic green salads and those that are grown using fertilizers and chemical sprays; there is a vast distinction between one and another.

If you are serious about food and really believe that it makes all the difference to both taste and well-being, then it behooves one to grow as many kinds of lettuce as you can. 

In any event it adds colour and variety to your lunch plate and not just sparkling wellbeing.

As soon as the lettuce patch gets to the maturity of that above, it's time to start the next. In a larger family obviously one wants more plants; a single leaf from each of say ten would make a lovely fresh, green salad.

Salad green summer

Lettuce nutritional value

This page on lettuce's nutritional value was written especially for women of childbearing age and parents of school-going kids.

One of the main considerations when thinking about the nutritional value of lettuce is how much of that good stuff is actually absorbed into the body. Perhaps the best parts of all salads are substances called carotenes; they are anti-oxidants that help prevent malignant tumours.

They are fat-soluble, so enjoying olive oil or an avocado for example with your lettuce salad increases the absorption by three to five times. It's no coincidence that we have a culture of having a dressing with our greens.

It improves the taste, the digestibility and the absorption of the phytonutrient fraction.

But do add a nutritious salad dressing, based preferably on olive oil or avocados and with no chemical preservatives, flavour-enhancers and the rest; nor high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

In short make your own. Or just dribble olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice over your salad.

"Iceberg is also pretty low in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin which are present in higher concentrations in many other leafy greens; and play an important role in eye health."

So what is the nutritional value of lettuce? First of all it provides fibre, so necessary for a happy colon. The gut needs bulk and if you eat only refined food, most of which is absorbed, then there's nothing left for the alimentary canal to work on. The result is constipation, a very serious malady that contributes greatly to colorectal tumours. Eat your organic green salads on a daily basis or suffer the consequences.

If you are wanting food high in protein, carbohydrate or fat then look elsewhere. The value of lettuce is in the fibre, its delicate flavour and the micronutrients.

You need to eat two cups of lettuce just to get one gram of protein, for example; and it's no different with the carbs and fats.

These young lettuce plants may not look so exciting but the photos were taken two days after the winter solstice. Temperatures are low and it's the middle of the dry season; growth is slow.

Nevertheless we have nine lettuce colours each and every day.

It's a matter of regular plantings if you want sufficient lettuce nutritional value.

Lettuce green
Curly green lettuce
Lettuce green oakleaf
Lettuce green 4
Lettuce green 5
Lettuce red
Lettuce red 2
Lettuce red 3
Lettuce red 4

And lastly my favourite, this curly-leafed red variety; the darker colours have greater lettuce nutritional value.

Lettuce red

Is it so absurd to think of nine different lettuce leaves in your lunch, plus leaves of kale and baby spinach? Now add a few baby tomatoes, a good dollop of homemade hummus and a couple leaves of cilantro; include a wedge of lime and you have the perfect lunch. Young freshly-picked peas will add some vegetable protein.

Dribble some extra virgin olive oil and a wedge of feta cheese; it is simply without equal. Not shown, we also enjoyed a slice of low GI bread and butter; yes, it's smothered with newly harvested natural honey from our hives. A freshly-picked salad is heaven.

You could do it too if you want to take no drugs and hope to live to a zestful eighty plus, with all your marbles intact. It can be done but it takes some determination to turn the television off and get into the garden!

Now add some parsley pesto and you have a delicious, wholesome meal.

"There is increasing evidence that exposure to plants and green space and particularly to gardening, is beneficial to mental and physical health."

- Clinical Medicine (PMC6334070)[2]

Nutritious choice foods

Nutritious choice foods make no apology for themselves; they are the way to keep out of the clutches of doctors and the DC too, to a certain extent. If you are tired of taking so many drugs then it's time to start on the green food kick; understanding the lettuce nutritional value is as good a place as any to start.

"It has been estimated that 20% of Medicare beneficiaries have five or more chronic conditions; and fifty percent are taking 5 plus drugs."

Notice the homemade hummus in the centre, together with the feta cheese; they make up the protein. The fats come with a mixture of fresh lemon juice and olive oil that's dribbled over the whole salad.

The lettuce makes up the base of most salads and that's fine as long as there are other colours. As one wag asked, "if you don't eat choice foods, just where are you planning to live?"

Of course lettuce nutritional value is just one small part of wellness; the kaempferol and tumour prevention alone make it a winner.

Convincing your kids of the value of dark-green leafy vegetables may be a mission; just stating that research shows it will help them perform better in school may not wash but these lettuce wraps recipes might.

Lettuce lunch

Frankly I too find a lettuce dull without either olive oil and lemon juice; or hummus or one of our other condiments like the sweet basil in pesto. They are so simple to make but do take a few minutes of aforethought. Do you have tahini in the cupboard and what about some lemons in the fruit rack? Every home should have an ample supply of olive oil; it's medicine

"People who used more than 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil daily in their diet had a 19% lower risk of death from any cause and an equal lower risk of death from heart disease."

- Yale School of Medicine

If you cannot afford olive oil then plant an avocado tree. Over its lifespan it will shower you with an astonishing R150,000 worth of fruit; and ten times that in lower health costs.


Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9. The lettuce nutritional value is one rich source.

It's synthetic form is called folic acid.

Lettuce contains six of the eight B vitamins but by far the richest is folate. It has many important functions in the body but perhaps the best known is its role in DNA synthesis. Without it, cells cannot divide. This is particularly important for the young foetus in its first weeks; a deficiency causes cleft palate, spinal bifida and other neural tube diseases, even before a young woman knows that she is pregnant.

All women of child-bearing age absolutely must have a diet rich in folate.

Fortunately high folate levels are found in most fruits and salads. Only the woman on a black and white diet is at risk. As in television, think colour!

Folate also plays an important role, along with choline in preventing the build up of toxic homocysteine; it's a breakdown product of protein metabolism that is strongly implicated in blood vessel and many other diseases.

If you are deficient in both choline and folate then it's game, set and match; you will have inflammation in your body and that means pain, with a capital P no matter how skilled your doctor and DC are.

Folate and choline food sources should be daily on the menu. You need look no further than our Eggs Florentine for breakfast every day. Even the American Heart Association admits it was wrong and encourages us to enjoy them regularly.

Along with vitamin B12 and iron, folate is absolutely required to form abundant red blood cells; a deficiency causes a serious type of anemia.

B9 is also very important for the developing mind. Children deficient in the vitamin perform significantly worse in school. The benefits of folate are backed by strong science.

In short the folate alone in lettuce nutritional value make this salad a winner.

Vitamins A and K

Vitamins A and K are found in large amounts in lettuce.

The vitamin A comes from the well known carotenoids that have anti-oxidant properties; and thus help in the prevention of malignant tumours.

Vitamin K is important in the clotting mechanism of the blood and the absorption of calcium from our food.


Molybdenum is but one of a host of minerals found in lettuce. The biochemistry is complex but for the the DC, the particular importance is its role in neurotransmitter metabolism; the ability of nerves to pass on information to connecting fibres correctly is vital.

I have not included the dietary values as it varies from one variety of lettuce to another. Those in Cos would be quite different to Iceberg; or the curly purple-leafed members that I personally love.

Iceberg has a long shelf life, hence its popularity with supermarket owners in comparison to the soft leafy varieties that gardeners prefer as they have more flavour; and more nutrient value. Growing lettuce in your own backyard is the solution; plant a few seeds or a punnet every month from Spring to late Autumn.


Flavonoids are a group of plant phytochemicals important for their antioxidant effect; and in so-called "cell signalling pathways." Lettuce nutritional value contains many of them.

Lettuce contains dozens of phytochemicals that are important if you want to achieve optimal wellbeing. Some have been researched but little is known about many others. One thing you can be sure of though, is that they are fundamental to health.

Green lettuces contain the flavonoid quercetin, whereas the red varieties have cyanidin. Google them for more information. You'll see just how important they are.

Another is the flavonoid kaempferol. It's found mainly in your greens but also in butternut, leeks and tomatoes; and other foods too.

Lettuce nutritional value must surely include a mention of kaempferol and cancer prevention; you can either enjoy it daily in your greens for a pittance, or you can pay $5000 per month for treatment. Yes, it's looking that powerful so pharmaceutical companies are researching its effectiveness as a drug.

Summer salad for CThis summer green salad is rich in vitamin C and flavonoids.

The lettuce iceberg frankly is my least favourite; it has little flavour and the lack of colour tells you that it is far lower in these important nutrients.

Yet many of us eat only iceberg lettuce, if that. It's little wonder we find a salad dull; it is indeed uninteresting.

Nevertheless we have been fooled into thinking that we need eat only those foods that we find attractive. It's a gross falsity; there are many dishes we must consume if we want to be strong. Whether we find them tasty or not is simply no relevant. The coloured lettuces are amongst the best.

Green leafed lettuce is a rich source of choline too; that's a B vitamin involved along with folate in methylating toxic homocysteine. A deficiency causes birth defects amongst many other serious diseases.

Include several of these choline food sources daily in your diet.

In short the tongue can be trained to appreciate lettuce nutritional value, whether we like a salad or not. I know because I've raised mine to eat and even enjoy foods that once I detested; like broad beans and susus. The reason is that many of them are unpalatable unless harvested fresh, straight from the garden.

Old broad beans are truly yuk. Young ones are the solution to Parkinsons's disease; the pods are rich in an important phytonutrient. Google it; it is called L-dopa.


It's a heavy feeder, needing plenty of compost; and has a shallow root system. It has to be watered regularly in dry weather and preferably mulched. I now routinely use worm-wee to feed our plants; the growth is spectacular, contributing in unknown ways to the lettuce nutritional value.

Look at this organic butternut page to see the difference between veggies grown in deep compost as compared to ordinary soil.

Many scientists are now confirming that the chronic degenerative diseases are in part due to foods grown in nutrient-deficient earth. Getting your garden soil ready for planting is so important; not only for better tasting meals but also to prevent that feeling of being continually tired and poorly.

Easy composting may give you a few tips.

Considering all these matters, lettuce nutritional value is not "small beer."

From the horse's mouth

Useful links @ lettuce nutritional value


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