Iceberg lettuce got its name from the fact that California growers shipped it covered with heaps of crushed ice in the 1920s. It had previously been called Crisphead lettuce.
While iceberg lettuce has a bad reputation of being low in nutrients, that’s not exactly true — it’s just lower in nutrients than some other types of lettuce. Iceberg lettuce serves as a good source of some essential nutrients, and at just 20 calories per serving, it fits into a calorie-conscious diet. You shouldn’t rely on iceberg lettuce as your sole source of leafy greens, but it’s OK to include it in your diet on a regular basis.
Most of iceberg lettuce’s calories come from its carbohydrate content. Each 2-cup serving — the serving size that counts as 1 cup of veggies, according to the Harvard School of Public Health — provides you with 4 grams of total carbohydrates, including 1.8 grams of dietary fiber. Carbs serve as fuel to keep your nervous system functioning and support muscle contraction, while dietary fiber helps you feel satisfied after your meal and fights constipation.
Iceberg lettuce serves as a good source of vitamin K. Each 2-cup serving contains 35 micrograms of vitamin K — 28 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 39 percent for women. This vitamin supports skeletal health and helps you form blood clots — blood cell aggregations that physically cut off bleeding after you’ve suffered tissue damage. Getting enough vitamin K in your diet might help preserve bone health as you age by reducing your osteoporosis risk, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Add iceberg lettuce to your diet, and you’ll also boost your intake of vitamin A. Like vitamin K, vitamin A contributes to the health of your skeleton — it regulates bone growth. Consuming enough vitamin A also supports the health of your skin, eyes and blood. A 2-cup serving of iceberg lettuce boasts 722 international units of vitamin A. This contributes 31 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 24 percent for men.
Use iceberg lettuce’s low-calorie content to your advantage and add it to your meals to make them more filling without boosting your calorie intake. Add shredded lettuce to your favorite sandwiches or wraps, mix it with other leafy greens — such as arugula or kale — for a mixed green salad and use it in homemade tacos and burritos. Alternatively, use iceberg lettuce leaves instead of tortillas to make healthful wraps or saute chopped iceberg lettuce in olive oil and minced garlic for a quick and easy side dish.