Iceberg Lettuce: Does it deserve its bum rep?

I’m sure you’ve all heard at some point that iceberg lettuce (called “Crisphead” until the 1920’s) lacks any real health benefits and so you shouldn’t waste your time eating it. While it’s true that when it comes to lettuces in general the greener the leaf the greater the nutritional value, does that mean you should just pass over this little guy?!?

iceberg lettuce

Iceberg is a great source for folate (a B vitamin), vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and thiamine. It’s made up mostly of water (95% or more) and dietary fiber providing necessary roughage for our digestive system.

It’s alkaline, clarifies your blood, and a nerve strengthener.

On the other hand, other lettuces are frequently higher in the same nutrients. Iceberg also can tend to accumulate cadmium (a toxic metal known to cause cancer) when it’s in the soil and who here really knows where their lettuce was grown besides Lesli and Dana?

Personally, we use just mix all our lettuces together in salads. With what we get from our CSA we usually have spinach, mustard greens, turnip tops, cress, and buttercrunch on hand. I just buy iceberg or romaine, whichever is cheaper that week, to supplement. What do you use?

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5 Comments on “Iceberg Lettuce: Does it deserve its bum rep?”

  1. Alicia M says:

    I never buy iceberg, but that’s because I don’t have CSA greens to mix it with, otherwise I probably would buy it as a filler. I agree that iceberg has gotten somewhat of a bad rap because it’s made to seem like it’s a “bad” food. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not as good as comparable choices. I wouldn’t call it a great source for vitmain A, folate, or vitamin C, as romaine is significantly higher in all of those, so I’d maybe call it an ok source. The real problem with iceberg comes when it’s all people eat for “greens”. You’re missing out on lots of great nutrients, and even though it’s cheap, it may not be the best nutrient buy, especially if you don’t eat a lot of fruits and veggies in the first place.
    It’s kind of a running joke in my profession, but if you ever don’t know the source of a particular vitamin or mineral, just answer “dark green leafy vegetables” and you’re likely to get the answer right :)

  2. By “great source” I mean way better place to get your nutrients than say fortified cereal. :)

  3. April says:

    It’s funny because on your blog about 10 things you won’t find in my kitchen one of my absolute, never budge would be iceberg because I would always choose another lettuce instead of it. On that note, we buy spinach, mixed baby greens (which are my favorite) and romaine mostly.

    You should check our my latest post-it’s mostly thanks to you!! :)

  4. Alicia M says:

    Ambre- I totally agree with you on that point! :)

  5. erik says:

    to answer your question:
    we usually have spinach, mustard greens, turnip tops, cress, and buttercrunch on hand, and just buy iceberg or romaine, whichever is cheaper that week, to supplement.


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