April 28, 2014 by Dr. Sana Keller
Healthy reasons to just keep walking past the eye-catching supermarket display of symmetrically placed heads of iceberg lettuce…and instead stopping by the romaine lettuce section for your lettuce selection. Read on…
Comparing the nutrition benefits of one cup of chopped iceberg lettuce to one cup romaine lettuce reveals that romaine is the clear winner…leaving iceberg closer in comparison to ‘crunchy water.’ Check it out:
Notice the significantly higher levels of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin in the romaine column? These are all members of the ‘carotenoid‘ family of nutrients. Carotenoids are natural antioxidants (protecting our cells from the damaging effects of free radicals) and immune modulators (supporting our natural immunity). They are beneficial in protecting us from heart disease and cancer.
Beta carotene can be converted to Vitamin A (retinol) as needed. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the retina and lens of the eye. Nutritional studies suggest that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may help slow the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Enjoy your romaine—its great dark green color—its great nutritional benefits—and its great versatility in salads! Simple steps toward better health…switching out iceberg lettuce for romaine lettuce. There you go!
Sana Keller MS, RN, CNC, MH, HHP www.healthunlimited.biz
Photo credits: downtownphoenix.com, nutrition.about.com, usda.gov, foodnetwork.com, acoupleoffoodiesintacoma.blogspot.com, fortycloves.com, prouditaliancook.com