Next to potatoes, lettuce is the most popular veggie in the United States. Which leafy greens go into your salads?
Dark-green leafy greens offer plenty of the antioxidant beta carotene (forms vitamin A), which may help protect you from cancer and may slow aging, and another antioxidant, vitamin C. The darker the leaves, the more nutrient-rich the lettuce. (Romaine has seven times more vitamin A and C than iceberg lettuce.) Some greens deliver folate, potassium, and fiber, too. Greens supply lutein, which contributes to good vision and may help protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. And leafy greens fill a plate with few calories and essentially no fat (except what's added with dressing).
Perk up your salad making—more flavor, color, texture—by mixing in different greens.
- For a peppery flavor: arugula or watercress
- For leaves that aren't green: red-and-white radicchio
- For flavor with a "bite": chicory or escarole
- For a mild flavor and delicate green color: mache or Boston or Bibb lettuce
- For a deep-green color: spinach
- For a crisp texture: Romaine