Lettuce

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Oak leaf and butter leaf lettuce make the top-ten list of vegetables high in nitrates, which may boost athletic performance and protect against heart disease. Lettuce is low in antioxidants, but even iceberg lettuce beats out most animal products. Red leaf lettuce has more antioxidants than green leaf lettuce.

At the salad bar, the most nutrient-packed choice may be spinach, radicchio, or, in a pinch, romaine. Fat-free dressing may not be the best choice for salad, since some fat is needed to absorb the nutrients in these greens; the best choices are nut or seed-based dressings. It’s difficult to remove pesticidal residue from conventional lettuce and other plant foods; a 10% salt solution may work better.

Iceberg lettuce is one of the least nutritious vegetables among all plant-based foods. Even federal recommendations for the minimum number of servings of fruits and vegetables do not count a serving of iceberg lettuce toward the total.

Topic summary contributed by Linda.


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