The Iceberg Lettuce Shortage Is More Blessing Than Curse
People are losing their minds over the Iceberg Lettuce shortage. Storms in Spain have caused stock shortages in many UK supermarkets for a few different vegetables and Iceberg Lettuce seems to be one of the worst affected.
Eating a keto diet plan involves a generous amount of leafy green vegetables. With that in mind, it may surprise you to hear I don’t care one bit about Iceberg Lettuce not being on the shelves. In fact, I’m using this opportunity to encourage as many people as possible to get more from their greens!
There are 5 general types of lettuces. Out of all of them, Iceberg Lettuce is the least nutrient dense of all of them.
In checking the CDC rankings for fruits and vegetables you see just how dire the situation is for our frosty friend. The ranking looks at 17 of the most notable vitamins and minerals including Fibre, Calcium and Zinc in addition to vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. If you’re in love with Iceberg Lettuce, then look away now:
|Lettuce varieties||Nutrient density scores|
There are so many tasty greens out there! Here are a few of my favourites.
A superb source of Vitamin K (987% of DRI/RDA), Vitamin A, Manganese and Folate – Spinach truly is is a great green and offers a much more nutrient dense alternative to Iceberg Lettuce.
Spinach works in both raw form and cooked. Both methods promote different nutrients so it’s probably best to eat a mix of both of them.
If you’re on this blog, then there’s a good chance you’re interesting in avoiding illness and disease. Spinach is a great source of Carotenoids, a subset of A vitamins (namely Lutein, Lycopene and Beta-carotene). They all feature prominently in the fight against free radicals. Those pesky little free radicals are thought to be contributing factors in quite a few diseases including certain forms of cancer and macular degeneration.
Also offering a great source of Vitamin K, (107% of DRI/RDA), Vitamin A and Folate – Romaine has another tool in its nutrient arsenal too: Molybdenum.
It’s probably not a mineral you’ve heard much about, but that will change in the future. What the small amount of literature out there does tell us so far is that Molybdenum is used in the creation of proteins called Amidoxime Reducing Component Proteins (mARC). These useful proteins are now known to be a key part of way that mitochondria function.
It also plays a role in maintaining sulphur levels and antioxidant processes through its involvement in the production of Uric Acid.
One of my favourite leafy greens doesn’t feature as high in the CDC list above, which may be as much of a surprise to some of you as it was for me. But the CDC tables don’t take into account all the measures you would look for in making an assessment of a food’s potential contribution to total body health.
Kale is packing the Vitamin K (1180% of DRI/RDA per cup) and Vitamin A in abundance. It also provides a source of Vitamin C and Copper unrivalled in many other salad greens.
Much like Spinach, it also works well in cooked form and raw form and both will provide a different boost to the aforementioned vitamins and minerals.
Sulforaphane is one of the most well studied of isothiocyanate compounds. It’s found by the bucketloads in cruciferous vegetables, particularly Broccoli sprouts. This is where Kale’s double life really pays dividends. Although Kale looks like a lettuce leaf, it’s actually part of the cruciferous family of vegetables. This brings with it Sulforaphane content, which is important as studies have shown Sulforaphane can help to protect against colon and prostate cancers.
Variety is the spice of life
Considering the different benefits of each individual leafy green, we’ll always advocate nutrient variation in addition to nutrient density. By eating a broad range of healthy foods, you’ll benefit from the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals in addition to keeping your meal plans fresh and exciting – rather than boring and stale.
Hopefully the range of different leafy greens we’ve explored in this post is enough to stop you fist fighting in your local supermarket over the last iceberg lettuce. Use the opportunity to try something new today!