6 Benefits Of Iceberg Lettuce, Nutrition, And Side Effects

Boost your health and immunity by including this cabbage look-alike in your diet routine.

Reviewed by Mayuri Aavula, MSc (Nutrition)
By Aparna Mallampalli, BEd (Biological Sciences), MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition

Iceberg lettuce, a cruciferous vegetable, has tightly furled leaves and a crunchy texture. It is often used in salads or on burgers.

Various beneficial nutrients are responsible for the health benefits of iceberg lettuce. Incorporating it into your regular diet may offer protection against various diseases. Here, we discuss the benefits and nutrition profile of iceberg lettuce and its recipes. Keep reading to know more.

What Is Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce is a variety of crisphead lettuce widely consumed across the world. It has tightly furled, crunchy leaves and a mild flavor. It is rich in water and low in calories. It can be consumed raw or cooked and resembles a cabbage.

StyleCraze Trivia
Iceberg lettuce was developed for growth in 1894 in the northern United States by Burpee Seeds and Plants.

Continue reading to know the nutrition facts of iceberg lettuce.

Iceberg Lettuce Nutrition Facts

These are the nutrients in 100 grams of iceberg lettuce (1):

Energy14 kcal
Protein0.9 grams
Fat0.14 grams
Fiber1.2 grams
Calcium18 mg
Iron0.41 mg
Magnesium7 mg
Phosphorus20 mg
Potassium141 mg
Vitamin C2.8 mg
Thiamin0.041 mg
Vitamin B60.042 mg

Health Benefits of Iceberg Lettuce

 1. May Promote Cardiovascular Health

Animal studies show that regular consumption of lettuce promotes cardiovascular health (2). Lettuce may increase the excretion of total cholesterol levels. It also may boost the body’s antioxidant status.

2. May Help Regulate Cholesterol Levels

Regular consumption of lettuce has been proven to promote cholesterol metabolism. In a study, rats fed with lettuce for 3 weeks had shown a significant decrease in liver cholesterol levels. Their ratio of LDL/HDL cholesterol had also improved.

3. May Help With Weight Management

Iceberg lettuce may help manage weight

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In a study, a salad made with lettuce, carrots, celery, and cucumber was found to improve satiety and decrease the amount of food intake (3). This may eventually contribute to healthy weight loss. Regular consumption of lettuce in the form of salads is highly recommended for effective weight loss and weight management.

4. May Improve Bowel Health

Iceberg lettuce is rich in fiber. Regular fiber intake is associated with many beneficial health effects. As per a study, fiber improves bowel health by preventing the formation of hemorrhoids (4). It also increases bowel movements by absorbing water and softening the stool. Iceberg lettuce is low in calories, and eating more of it means you have more fiber in your system.

5. May Improve Skin Health

Iceberg lettuce is rich in vitamin C (5). Research shows that vitamin C helps reduce skin dryness, sagging, and hyperpigmentation (6). It also may delay the signs of aging.

These are the few important benefits of iceberg lettuce. This lettuce is available in various varieties to choose from. We have discussed the same below.

6. May Help Prevent Birth Defects

Iceberg lettuce may help prevent birth defects

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Iceberg lettuce is a good source of folate, which when consumed by pregnant women helps prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida.

Iceberg Lettuce Varieties

  • Ballade: This variety is especially known for its heat resistance. It has crisp leaves that are bright green in color.
  • Crispino: It has glossy green leaves with a mild, sweet flavor. This variety grows in warm weather and is known for its resistance to humid climates.
  • Ithaca: This variety produces crisp leaves especially suitable for sandwiches and salads. It grows in warm weather.
  • Legacy: This variety grows with medium-large heads that are deep green. It grows effectively under cool conditions. Its recommended harvest is winter to early spring.
  • Salina: This variety grows with medium heads. The heads have full outer leaves. This lettuce is especially suitable for salads.
  • Sun Devil: This is a unique iceberg variety that thrives in hot, desert climates. It has large green heads with tightly furled leaves, which are widely used in salads and sandwiches.

Iceberg lettuce is often confused with Romaine lettuce. However, they two have some basic differences.

Iceberg Lettuce Vs. Romaine Lettuce

Iceberg LettuceRomaine Lettuce
It is a moderate source of phenolic compounds.It is a good source of phenolic compounds.
Has moderate vitamin KRich in vitamin K
Round in shape, resembling a ball with tightly furled leavesLonger, greener, and leafier in appearance
100 grams provide 14 calories100 grams provide 17 calories
Is pale green in colorIs dark green in color
Has a mild flavorHas a slightly sweeter and bolder flavor

 It is important to select and store iceberg lettuce properly to enjoy the maximum benefits. Read on for more information.

How To Select And Store Iceberg Lettuce

Always select iceberg lettuce that is heavy and has fresh leaves. The leaves should be firm and should not show any signs of wilting or browning.  Also, the lettuce should have a compact and firm head.

While storing the iceberg lettuce, wipe it with a dry cloth to remove any extra moisture. Store it in a loose plastic bag and wash it under running water only before consuming it. Do not refrigerate iceberg lettuce as it may lead to browning or wilting of the leaves and also minimizes its shelf life.

Fun Fact
Since iceberg lettuce is heat-sensitive, it was transported in crushed ice, which made its head look like an iceberg. Hence, it came to be known as iceberg lettuce.

Incorporating iceberg lettuce in your diet is simple. The following recipes can help.

Iceberg Lettuce Recipes

  • Beetroot Cucumber And Lettuce Salad

Beetroot cucumber and lettuce salad

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 What You Need

  • 1 medium slice of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 medium beetroot
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ a tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Method

  1. Take a slice of iceberg lettuce and cut it into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Peel the beetroot and onion. Dice them into small pieces.
  3. Slice the cucumber into medium-sized pieces.
  4. Transfer the vegetables into a mixing bowl and give a gentle mix.
  5. Dry roast sesame seeds on low flame for 1 to 2 minutes and add them to the mixing bowl.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ½ a tablespoon of salt and mix thoroughly.
  7. Sprinkle lemon juice and mix gently.
  8. Consume immediately without storing it.
  • Stir-Fried Lettuce

Stir-fried lettuce

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 What You Need

  • 1 medium iceberg lettuce
  • 3 chilis
  • ½ a teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • ½ a teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of salad oil
  • 4 garlic cloves

Method

  1. Wash and dry lettuce leaves for about 20 minutes.
  2. Tear or cut the leaves into medium-sized pieces.
  3. Separate the leaves and air dry them for 5 minutes to remove any excess moisture.
  4. In a small bowl mix soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Keep it aside.
  5. Place a frying pan on medium heat.
  6. When it is hot, add the salad oil. Add chopped garlic cloves and chilis.
  7. Stir fry until the garlic begins to change color.
  8. Add lettuce and stir fry until slightly crisp.
  9. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and toss well.
  10. Add salt and pepper.
  • Creamy Lettuce Soup

Creamy lettuce soup

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What You Need

  • 1 medium iceberg lettuce
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 2 small onions
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of fresh cream
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • ¼ a tablespoon of pepper
  • 300 ml water

Method

  1. Chop the leaves of iceberg lettuce finely.
  2. Dice the potatoes into small pieces.
  3. Chop the onions finely.
  4. In a pan, add the butter and allow it to melt.
  5. Add potato and onions. Fry them for 5 minutes.
  6. Add water and bring it to a boil.
  7. Add the lettuce leaves and let them cook for 10 minutes. Allow to cool down.
  8. Transfer the vegetable mix to a blender jar and blend to a smooth paste.
  9. Heat a pan and pour the blended paste into it. Add the fresh cream and mix thoroughly.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

These simple recipes offer you a convenient way of enjoying the goodness of iceberg lettuce. But before you start consuming it, you need to consider something – does iceberg lettuce have any side effects?

Are There Any Side Effects Of Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce is usually safe for most people. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals.

Raw intake of iceberg lettuce may cause gastric pain and bloating in some. Few may also experience a mild tingling sensation on the tongue. The exact mechanism of these reactions remains unclear.

If you experience any of these side effects, stop the intake and drink plenty of water to minimize any discomfort. Most side effects subside on their own without any medical assistance. But if the discomfort persists, consult your doctor without further delay.

Infographic Excerpt: Tips To Use Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce, with its mild flavor, adds a nice crunch and texture to many salads, dressings, and other foods. It also blends well with other leafy greens and fruits. Click on the infographic below to know how you can use iceberg lettuce to make the most of its taste and nutrition.

tips to use iceberg lettuce [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Iceberg lettuce is a low-calorie, light, and crunchy vegetable featured in many salads, burgers, and delicious dishes. It is often compared to Romaine lettuce, but it is paler, milder, and rounder than it. It is loaded with beneficial nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that promote good health. Iceberg lettuce’s benefits include promoting heart health, improving bowel movements, and aiding weight management. However, its excessive consumption can lead to a few side effects. There is a possibility that it may induce gastrointestinal issues. If you experience any adverse effects, limit its use and seek medical advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is healthier: iceberg lettuce or spinach?

Spinach is more nutritious than iceberg lettuce and may offer additional benefits.

Is iceberg lettuce better than normal lettuce?

Not really. Iceberg lettuce has low nutrient values when compared with other types of lettuce.

Is iceberg lettuce hard to digest?

No. Iceberg lettuce is very digestive.

Which is healthier: kale or lettuce?

Kale is healthier than lettuce due to its rich nutritional value. Kale is three times higher in carbs than lettuce.

Key Takeaways

  • Iceberg lettuce has crisp, tightly furled leaves that are often used in salads and burgers.
  • It is low in calories and offers an array of highly beneficial nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.
  • Its rich nutritional profile reaps a variety of benefits, such as promoting heart, skin, and bowel health.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Lettuce iceberg (includes crisphead types) raw Food Data Central U.S. Department Of Agriculture
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169248/nutrients
  2. Health effect of vegetable-based diet: lettuce consumption improves cholesterol metabolism and antioxidant status in the rat
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15297097/
  3. Salad and satiety: the effect of timing of salad consumption on meal energy intake
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3264798/
  4. High Fiber Diet
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559033/
  5. Characterisation of polyphenols and antioxidant properties of five lettuce varieties and escarole
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26065768/
  6. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
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Aparna is a professor-turned-content writer with over 5 years of experience in life sciences. Her passion for writing and interest... more

Mayuri Aavula

(MSc (Dietetics))
Mayuri Aavula is one of the top nutritionists in Hyderabad, India, and has won several awards and accolades. She started... more

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