A recent article in the Washington Post by Tamar Haspel, described as a food and science writer and oyster farmer, claims that salads are not the best choice for nutritional value or the health of the environment. This article has raised the ire of the salad lovers of the world based on the Comment Section. Both have stated good points, but in my opinion, we should not classify salads as “junk food” by any means. Lettuce alone is not a nutritional powerhouse, but does provide a vehicle for consuming other healthier fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, avocados, tomatoes, etc. etc. most of which contain dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, some restaurant salads with dressing and other less healthy ingredients are added resulting in a nutritional nightmare.
All lettuce is not created equal – there is the traditional competition between iceberg and romaine lettuce lovers. In terms of nutritional value, romaine with its darker leaves comes in slightly ahead of its counterpart. Here are the differences in vitamin content based on % Daily Values. Romaine comes in ahead in vitamin A, C, K, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6. The rest of the vitamins are nearly identical (vitamin E, niacin, pantothenic acid)
As far as minerals go, Romaine leads with iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese. The rest are nearly identical (calcium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium).
Speaking of salads, kale has recently become the leaf of choice for many salad lovers. Kale significantly beats both iceberg and romaine in almost all vitamin and mineral content. That would include: calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, iron, manganese, copper. It also contains more protein.