We grow a variety of lettuces in the summer. We enjoy them all. Lettuces vary not just in taste and texture, but in nutrient density.

From our 2007 spring garden. left to right: rainbow chard, baby spinach, romaine and pea shoots, lollo rosso.

As a rule, lettuces that are bitter have more antioxidants than those with sweet/ bland leaves. (Arugula/Rocket is bitter and nutrient-dense, but is not a lettuce, it’s from the mustard family). Crunchier lettuces have a higher water content and therefore less nutrients than those with delicate leaves.

That means romaine is way better for you than iceberg lettuce.

Iceberg (1 cup shredded) raw – 72 grams

8 calories
0.5 gram protein
0.7 gram fiber
10 mg calcium
78 mg potassium
1.5 mg vitamin C
16 mcg folate
13.3 mcg of vitamin K
164 mcg beta carotene
152 mcg of lutein + zeaxanthin

Romaine (1 cup shredded) raw – 47 grams

8 calories
0.58 gram protein
1 gram fiber
16 mg calcium
116 mg potassium
11.3 mg vitamin C
64 mcg folate
48.2 mcg vitamin K
1637 mcg beta carotene
1087 mcg of lutein + zeaxanthin

(Source: USDA from about.com)

The USDA nutrient database is a great resource for information on various foods and ingredients. We have added a link to our right sidebar.

Red oak leaf Lettuce

The colour pigments in red lettuces (like red oak leaf and lollo rosso) have additional health benefits.

Lollo Rosso

The red pigment in red leaf lettuce contains small amounts of fairly strong antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein, along with Vitamins A and K. Red lettuces also have the least weight per 1 cup serving, which means their water content is relatively low and their fibre content is high.

1 cup shredded red lettuce raw – 28 grams

52 mg Potassium
2098 IU Vitamin A
39.3 mcg /vitamin K
1259 mcg beta carotene
483 mcg Lutein and Zeaxanthin

(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)

Foods high in natural beta carotene and Vitamin A are associated with eye health and a reduced risk of cataracts.

Peas and Lettuce Salad
Garden Salad

Lollo Rosso is our entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Rachel @ The Crispy Cook.

Event Details HERE

Photographer: Jai
Camera: Canon EOS 300D
Lens: 50 mm f/1.4
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
ISO Speed: 400
F-stop: f/4

DEADLINE: Jan 30, 2009

Filed Under: , , , , , , , , ,



  1. Rachel says:

    You’ve got me dreaming about my Spring garden already with this post! Thanks for sending something over for Weekend Herb Blogging.

  2. sra says:

    That first Lollobrigida … Lollo Rosso … is great. So is the very first photo – just looking at it makes me feel happy.

  3. Chris says:

    Very informative and mouth-watering post! I could definitely go for some fresh-picked salad greens right about now…

  4. Happy Cook says:

    Wish i had a garden like this with all these yummy salades.
    Beautiful pictures.

  5. Asha says:

    Love the red chards, I got quite a lot last Summer.Fresh greens are a joy to eat. Beautiful to look at!

  6. Cham says:

    Those frilly lollo rosso looks like flower! What a gorgeous leafy garden you have :)

  7. Uma says:

    What a lovely garden you have! Very useful information. Last picture is fantastic. of course all the pictures :)

  8. Rupa says:

    Wow !! You have a lovely garden ! Thanks for sharing :)


  9. anudivya says:

    May I tell you how envious I am of your beautiful garden and all that fresh produce you have! That is what says “home” to me.
    So, is that thing about the “green thumb” true?

  10. aquadaze says:

    This is such a refreshing post! I have 2 thumbs, but no, they are both not green :(

  11. Rathna says:

    Wow ! Such a lovely garden.Thanks for the very information about the greens. I love lettuces and I had a bitter experience with Arugula ;-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Gosh! You have me craving my favorite arugula, watermelon, walnut and feta salad! Yummy!

  13. musical says:

    Ouch, that anonymous was me.


  14. Lien says:

    This is so interesting, I never knew there was so much difference in nutrients value in lettuces! Love all lettuces, but must say iceberg is least favorite, it’s just too bland. Lovely arrangement of baskets where you grow the lettuces.

  15. Navita Hakim says:

    love the red chards…my fav..my mum generally steams them and makes an interesting appetizer…will make n post about it , if i lay my hands on it here. :)

  16. Miri says:

    Lovely pictures and a very beautiful garden with a lot of hardwork put in obviously! I can’t eat too much fibre, so now I just auto shut off when I see some delicious leaves like these :(

  17. joey says:

    I dream of having a garden with such gorgeous produce! Your lettuce look like super models :) Appreciate all the information!

  18. Rashmi says:

    Firstly you have a lovely garden…seeing those photos reminds me of summer….Informative post….will check out the other link too….

  19. Giff says:

    great pics and informative! ty

  20. Soma says:

    I really envy u guys for getting to grow all those things at home. I would love to & dream of doing it, but for the rabbits! I have tried everything… (all that would not harm those cute creatures), but they beat me. Do let me know if u have any ideas to not letting them eat my food.


  21. Jyothsna says:

    Good info there and cheerful pictures!

  22. PG says:

    wonderful pictures! the red lollo rosso looks so fresh and crunchy. Thank you for the good link.

  23. Rajani says:

    lovely shots bee & jai… it must be lovely to wake up every morning and get an eyefull of your garden – such beauties! miss our garden back home – here in the desert its a torture trying to maintain something green. but yes i am building a green patch on my balcony! v. informative post too.

  24. Soma says:

    Thanks for the link guys.

  25. lovely pics, as always!!!! I so wish I had a garden like yours :(

    Happy Sankranti!

  26. Paz says:

    I think it’s awesome that you grow your own lettuce and a different variety! Awesome!

    Happy and healthy eating,

  27. jaya says:

    first picture is so full of life…
    Its always good to eat fresh n healthy , and more good if its from your own kitchen garden…Love those pictures and I can imagine how good a romaine lettuce salad will taste!
    very informative post.
    Hugs and smiles

  28. mallugirl says:

    Happy new year.. a bit belated.:) Its time u guys started a calender with ur awesome snaps.. this lettuce is climbing high on my favorite list…its really beautiful…and send me a free calender!!:)

  29. Bhavana says:

    My friend at work and I pile up a plate high with arugula with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and munch on it through the day – some coworkers look at us as if we are goats :) whatever.

    I love your container garden – inspires me to start one as well.

  30. Sandeepa says:

    The green sure looks refreshing when all i can see is white snow

  31. Linda says:

    Dear Bee and Jai — wishing you a wonderful 2009!

    I love that USDA site — I’ve had it bookmarked ever since m. was diagnosed with diabetes. V. helpful in finding carb counts on mysterious food items ;) Happy to see you bringing it to a wide audience!

    Now enough nutrition — your photos are making me long, and I mean LONG, for spring planting :)

  32. Raaga says:

    I was just thinking about lettuce this morning… as I bit into my lettuce sandwich :-) I was thinking about the lettuce we saw at the nursery last week… and if there was anything else we could do with lettuce etc etc :-) Lovely pics and thanks for all that info :-)

  33. Kay says:

    I love seeing garden pics. Makes me want to grow some too. somehow I have never gone beyond trying any other lettuce than the crunchy ones from the typical salads. I thought they were very less nutritional. :( so never gave another thought. Now that I know, I will try to include them as well.

    Is it okay to ask if you could post pictures of your whole garden? I’d love to see that. Your garden pics and posts are very inspiring.

    Also, could you tell us how you prepared the soil before planting please…

    you can see pics of our garden among these posts.
    as for the soil, an organic all-purpose planting mix, or regular soil mixed with about 20% organic compost.

  34. Kay says:

    Thanks Jai and Bee!

  35. Maninas says:

    fabulous photos. I’m also very impressed by what you did!

  36. [...] Lettuce – Green or Red? Delicate or Crunchy? [...]

  37. Margie says:

    I love this photograph. Fresh, lively and spirited. I think you have a masterpiece here.

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