When it Comes to Your Salad, Be Picky

Written by yvonnethornton on December 17th, 2012

If I lectured you about the importance of adding more salad to your diet, I’d be wasting my time. We all know that fresh vegetables are extremely important to a healthy diet, and women especially will benefit from the nutrients present in the veggies common to salad. If you’re eating a healthy diet, you probably try to add salad to your daily diet by eating one for lunch or dinner on a regular basis. Though they can taste boring when not prepared well, it’s no secret that they are one of the healthiest meals a woman can consume. However, next time you’re making your salad, consider the difference between Iceberg and Romaine lettuce.

Iceberg lettuce does not totally lack vitamins and nutrients, but it is far less healthy when compared to romaine lettuce. If you’re trying to get as many nutrients as possible from your salad, always choose Romaine, because many of the vitamins in the vegetable are essential to the health of the female body. Romaine lettuce contains high levels of folate, which are especially important prior to conception and during pregnancy. A deficiency can cause fatigue and confusion. Some studies have shown that  women who eat more folate are less likely to get certain neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Romaine also contains much more fiber, carotenoids, and vitamin C than iceberg lettuce.

As a general rule of thumb, always choose vegetables that are dark in their color. Romaine is slightly darker than iceberg lettuce, which is a good indication that it is richer in the essential vitamins and nutrients you need. With that said, romaine is a better choice across the board for all women trying to maintain a healthy diet. If you’re really looking to make a power-packed salad, kale would be an even better choice.  One cup of kale has more calcium than one cup of cottage cheese.  Go Figure!

Hitting the salad bar is definitely a step in the right direction, but you can improve your health even more by choosing the right lettuce to make sure you’re getting as many nutrients as possible. Without these nutrients, your body will degrade more quickly and you’ll feel the effects of old age sooner rather than later. Weight loss and exercise will also be more difficult, so be picky when you’re at the salad bar.

 – Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.



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