Eating vegetables is super good for your health. They have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and things called antioxidants that help your body stay strong. But not all veggies are the same. Some that people think are super healthy might not be as awesome as we thought. Like avocados, spinach, watercress, and jicama – they don’t all have the same good stuff in them. How we get them ready to eat and even what we believed about them in the past can change how healthy they really are. Even though veggies are still really important for our health, we should think more about some of them.
The way we cook and add stuff to these veggies can change how healthy they are. Putting on dressings or dips with lots of calories, or cooking them in ways that take away their good stuff, can make them not as healthy. Some veggies have special things in them that might stop our bodies from using the good stuff in them. This can make certain health problems worse or even cause unexpected things to happen in people who are sensitive. Even something as simple as taking off the outer layer can change how good a veggie is for you.
Iceberg lettuce isn’t as full of good things as other types of lettuce. It’s mostly made of water, like 95-96% of it is water. This means it’s low in calories and not very high in fiber, vitamins, or minerals. It doesn’t have a lot of important vitamins like vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and vitamin E. It does have a bit of fiber, but not too much. It’s missing things like lycopene and beta tocopherols, which are good for stopping bad things from hurting our bodies.
Iceberg lettuce isn’t totally without good stuff, but it’s not as good as other leafy green veggies. Spinach, for example, has a lot more vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, and folate.
Farmers sometimes grow iceberg lettuce in ways that make it last longer on the shelf and look better, even if it’s not as good for us. In 2022, a study found that lettuce grown in water with fewer good things in it can last longer. This is important for sending it far away. Farmers can also change how it looks by changing what they give it to eat, but that might make it less healthy.