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Upgrade Your Lettuce Game — Boost Your Nutrient Intake 3000% With This Two Second Salad Hack

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Image: Epicurious

What if we told you one mindless—and laughably easy—nutrition hack could boost your vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C intake by over 3000%, and your potassium, calcium, and iron consumption by as much as 600%?

GET IN THE GREEN. We’re gunning for a salad overhaul. Call it a dietary supercharge.

Before tossing on gobs of HQ protein, a mountain of veggies, and (hopefully) a very light waterfall of dressing, lettuce forms the bedrock of any salad. The reality is, most salad greens are utter crap. It’s nutritionally devoid hamster bedding that serves no purpose other than to clog space, add weight to any salad bar tab (AKA $$$), and contribute some semblance of health.

Specifically, we’re talking about iceberg lettuce.

It’s in almost every salad you’ll find in stores, and generally forms the base for orders at Chop’t, Just Salad, and any other build-your-own-salad places. Hell, you’re probably even using it at home.

STOP IT. It’s house money that you’re letting wilt and fly away, completely unclaimed.

We’ll let the evidence speak for itself. We’ve calculated and split out the nutritional data for 5 lettuce varieties—the common ones available at any supermarket or lunch joint—including iceberg, romaine, spinach, arugula, and kale.

Let the battle royale begin.


Food Faceoffs — Kale vs. Spinach vs. Arugula vs. Romaine vs. Iceberg

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MAKE THE UPGRADE. When you put each lettuce type side-by-side there’s no contest — kale and spinach reign supreme, while iceberg safely assumes worst place. And it’s not just a trivial little boost, the difference is absolutely stunning.

Like, copious orders of magnitude. A few things happen when you swap out iceberg lettuce for kale:

  • Vitamin A jumps a whopping 3000%, a nutrient critical for healthy skin & teeth.
  • Vitamin C skyrockets by almost 4000%, a powerful antioxidant.
  • Vitamin K spikes 3300%, a nutrient critical for blood clotting
  • Calcium increases by 600%, a mineral that supports bone health and muscular function.
  • Iron more than quadruples; and if you go the spinach route, it increases by more than 10-fold. Up to 80% of people are estimated to be iron deficient, many of whom have anemia. Eating more spinach, kale, or arugula is an easy way to ameliorate deficiencies, especially given that vitamin C boosts iron absorption.
  • Potassium bumps up 225%, and 300% for spinach. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps with nerve function.

Bottom line: drop iceberg and romaine from your culinary vernacular and go big with kale or spinach.

They’re unadulterated nutritional powerhouses and a green opportunity to beef up your nutrient intake — without any pain or sacrifice whatsoever.

And don’t just stop at the salad bar. Toss spinach into your smoothies. Throw a little arugula into your omelettes. Whip up a few crispy lemon pepper kale chips.

You might think this whole thing is absurd. He’s ranting about lettuce. But look at the bottom line, there’s no argument.


Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Owner & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
Bryan DiSanto is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a culinary student at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, an ACE-CPT & CSN, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness/nutrition nutjob.

He also contributes to Men's Health Magazine.

When he’s not working on his (or somebody else’s) abs, whipping up Eggocados, or running a Tough Mudder, he’s probably off yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
Bryan DiSanto
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