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Iceberg lettuce, also known as Crisphead lettuce, is one of the most commonly recognized varieties of lettuce, a temperate annual or biennial plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. Iceberg lettuce has a tight dense head that quite resemble cabbage. They have very mild flavor and are usually valued for their crunchy texture. This variety is characterized by green leaves on the outside and whitish ones on the inside. It has a characteristic crisp texture and a watery, mild taste. The name Iceberg refers to the crisp, cold, clean characteristics of the leaves. This leafy vegetable is usually eaten either raw, in salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, tacos, and many other dishes, or cooked.

Nutritional value of iceberg lettuce

One serving size of raw iceberg lettuce weighs approximately 100 grams and contains around 14 calories. This food is low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of thiamin, vitamin B6, iron and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese.

Iceberg lettuce is very rich in vitamin K. One such a portion provides as much as 30% of recommended daily allowance (RDA) for this important nutrient. It also provides 7% of RDA for folate, 6% of RDA for manganese, 10% of RDA for vitamin A and 5% of RDA for vitamin C.

Health benefits of iceberg lettuce

This vegetable is packed with traditional nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Iceberg lettuce has high water content and it is very low on calories. Vitamin C and beta-carotene make this vegetable extremely healthy and able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. This way, iceberg lettuce helps in prevention of plaque formation on artery walls, heart attacks and stroke. The fiber in iceberg lettuce promotes regular movements of the bowel, while vitamin K promotes normal blood clotting, protects the bones from fractures, prevents postmenstrual bone loss, calcification of arteries and liver and prostate cancers.

How to enjoy iceberg lettuce

To get the maximum health benefits from iceberg lettuce, one should consume it raw rather than cooked. Sandwiches will get the characteristic crunchy taste when garnished with lettuce. Lettuce is also a great addition to different salads. One should always choose lettuce with crisp looking, unwilted leaves that are free of dark or slimy spots. The leaves' edges should be free of brown or yellow discoloration.

Always choose organic iceberg lettuce as the Environmental Working Group's 2010 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" lists lettuce as one of the 12 foods most frequently containing pesticide residues.

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