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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Salad Reconstruction: Lettuce vs Spinach

Because I eat a lot of salads, I decided I should look at the nutritional value of my salad ingredients, one by one.

Of course I began by looking at the foundation of the salad, lettuce.

Well, I stopped there because if there is a problem with the foundation of anything, then it will need to be repaired before remodeling any other parts of the structure . . . right?


Lettuce contains the following:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup (30g)
Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrates, Protein 0%

Vitamin A - 10%
Vitamin C - 2%
Calcium - 0%
Iron - 0%
Vitamin K - 60%
Folic Acid (Folate) - 16%
Phosphorus - 1%
Magnesium - 2%
Zinc - 1%

Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 0.0% Carbs 0.0%
Protein 0.0%

There really isn't a whole lot going on with a head of lettuce when it comes to getting a good supply of nutrition in a raw lunch. So I decided it was time to make a change in that area as quickly and as simply as possible.

While looking for alternatives, I thought I'd also look for more flavor. Options for a salad foundation don't go much farther than the various types of lettuce and spinach. It is also important that I replace the lettuce in my salad with something I can grow in my own garden along with my other salad ingredients.

My choice is Spinach:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup (30g)
Fat, Cholesterol, Carbohydrates 0%

Sodium - 23.7mg - 1%
Potassium - 167mg - 5%
Dietary Fiber - 0.7g - 3%
Sugars - 0.1g
Protein - 0.9g - 2%

Vitamin A - 56%
Vitamin C - 14%
Calcium - 3%
Iron - 5%
Vitamin D - 0%
Vitamin E - 3%
Vitamin K - 181%
Thiamin (B1 - 2%
Riboflavin (B2 - ) - 3%
Niacin (B3) - 1%
Vitamin B6 - 3%
Vitamin B12 - 0%
Magnesium - 6%
Panthothenic Acid - 0%
Zinc - 1%
Copper - 1%
Manganese - 13%

Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 12.9% Carbs 62.9%
Protein 51.4%

Spinach contains more Vitamin A & K which is important to my personal diet. This is especially true if I do not cook the spinach. Simply tearing it raw as a foundation to my salads retains the nutrients.

Being rich in Vitamin A, spinach can help protect my body against cancer, blindness, bone disease, heart disease and stroke.

It also lowers cholesterol levels.

The Vitamin A in spinach will also help my skin because it has the ability to heal acne, psoriasis and reduces wrinkles and fades age spots.

Spinach contains high amounts of Vitamin K.

At one time, this was the Vitamin that none of the other Vitamins would take to a party. It didn't seem to have any purpose in the body aside from controlling blood clotting. This made it appear to be very dull company.

Move over popular vitamins!

Recent studies have shown new and exciting things about Vitamin K that are bringing it to the forefront.

Vitamin K is not only found in spinach but also hangs around with vegetables like cauliflower, green cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It can also be found in whole grain cereals, egg yolk, kelp and alfalfa.

Vitamin K helps the calcium in your body work to straighten your bones. This means people with Osteoporosis benefit from Vitamin K. It also works to help women absorb and retain calcium by reducing the calcium lost in urine. This is a good thing because over 10 million people have Osteoporosis and 80% of those are women.

The blood clotting benefits of Vitamin K makes it useful in preventing hemorrhage in babies and reducing the flow for women who experience excessive menstrual bleeding.

Personally, I find the most impressive benefits of Vitamin K are its ability to fight Alzheimer disease and prevent cancer.

(I must note here that as with anything else there is such a thing as too much Vitamin K. Too much Vitamin K can lead to liver problems or jaundice. If you plan to increase your Vitamin K intake do so by changing the foods you eat rather than buying a bottle of supplements to take. If you feel like you need to take supplements please talk to your physician first. He/she can check your Vitamin K levels and tell you exactly how much more you need in your diet.)

I now have a bed of spinach growing in the garden. Hopefully these newly germinated seedlings will grow and provide me with a delicious raw base for this year's summer time salads.


  1. This is such great information...thanks for sharing it!

  2. I switched to eating spinach instead of lettuce a few months ago. I really love it everywhere we used to use lettuce.
    Glad to know there are so many benefits!


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