Is Lettuce Keto? Carbs and Calories in Lettuce

lettuce keto

Crisp and refreshing, lettuce makes a great addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches or burgers. Not only is lettuce low in calories and carbs, but it is also high water content, very hydrating, making it the perfect choice on a hot summer day.

Whether you choose from crisp iceberg lettuce, butterhead, leaf lettuce, romaine or one of the other varieties, this green leafy veggie contains a plethora of essential nutrients, like calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. 

There are so many ways lettuce can benefit your health and well-being; it promotes weight loss, improves your skin and hair and even slows the aging process.  So keep reading to find out how you can get the most out of this amazing vegetable…

Is Lettuce Keto Friendly?

Lettuce is one of the lowest-carb vegetables on the planet. One cup of lettuce contains only 2 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fiber, bringing the total net carbs down to just 1 gram per serving.

In fact, lettuce is a popular accouterment for the Keto diet because it makes a great bread substitute for wraps and burgers.  Any sandwich filling can be wrapped in a lettuce leaf for an instant low carb fix.

Above-ground vegetables, like lettuce, are generally lower in carbs than root vegetables.  On a strict low carb diet like Keto, choose veggies like lettuce, zucchini, asparagus and kale – all of which are less than 5 grams of carbs per serving.

How Many Carbs are in Lettuce?

One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce contains only 1 gram of net carbs. One cup of chopped romaine lettuce contains only 1.5 grams of net carbs.

How Many Calories are in Lettuce?

One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce contains only 5 calories.
One cup of chopped romaine lettuce contains only 8 calories.

Health Benefits

Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Despite the popular belief that iceberg lettuce is low in nutrition, it actually contains a number of essential nutrients, including:

  • Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) – A potent antioxidant that supports cell growth and eye health.
  • Calcium – A mineral that maintains bones and teeth, along with healthy muscle and nerve function.
  • Vitamin C – A powerful antioxidant that supports the health of your immune system.
  • Vitamin K – A vitamin that helps prevent bone fractures and aids the body in blood clotting and wound healing.
  • Folate – A B vitamin that helps to produce DNA and red and white blood cells in the bone marrow. It’s especially important for pregnant women.  This vitamin is also used by the body to convert carbohydrates into energy.
  • Potassium – An essential mineral that maintains healthy blood pressure and supports the heart.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Lipoxygenase, a protein in romaine lettuce can help reduce inflammation in the body.  In fact, lettuce has long been used in folk medicine as a remedy for Arthritis pain and inflammation.

According to Arthritis Foundation, vegetables that are rich in vitamin K, like lettuce can dramatically improve symptoms of inflammation.  Most cruciferous vegetables contain a decent amount of vitamin K, such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and cabbage.

Promotes Heart Health

Romaine lettuce is also a good source of vitamins A and C also improves blood flow to prevent heart attacks and stroke.  Lettuce is a good source of folate, a B vitamin that supports the heart by preventing damage to the blood vessels and preventing the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

Consuming lettuce regularly can also promote healthy cholesterol levels and protect against cardiovascular disease.  The potassium in lettuce also supports the heart and lowers blood pressure.

Help Fight Cancer

Lettuce consumption has been linked to a lowered risk of stomach cancer,

A report by the World Cancer Research Fund suggests that non-starchy veggies like lettuce can protect against cancer.  A study conducted in Japan on smokers diagnosed with lung cancer found that regular consumption of lettuce could offer protective effects against the progression of the disease.

Promotes Digestive Health

The fiber in lettuce promotes digestion and prevents constipation and improves intestinal health.

Builds Strong Bones

Vitamins K, A, and C in lettuce are key vitamins that produce collagen, a protein used by the body for bone formation.

Vitamin K helps build cartilage and connective tissues, while vitamin A helps your body develop new bone cells.  Vitamin A deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.   Vitamin C prevents age-related bone loss.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, vitamin K is also a vital nutrient in bone mineralization.

Reduces Diabetes Risk

Studies show that the low glycemic index of leafy green veggies like lettuce can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Lettice won’t spike blood sugar and it is low in calories and carbs, making it a great addition to a healthy diabetic diet.

Lettuce also contains lactucaxanthin, a powerful carotenoid with anti-diabetic properties.  Lacuxaxanthin can help treat diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels.

Promotes Healthy Vision

Lettuce contains zeaxanthin, a potent antioxidant that boosts the health of your eyes and prevents eye disorders, like macular degeneration.

According to a report by the American Association of Ophthalmology, dark leafy greens like romaine lettuce contain both lutein and zeaxanthin, a powerful combination of nutrients that protect against the onset of eye diseases.

Treats Insomnia

Lettuce has been used since medieval times to treat insomnia.  A substance called lacquer cerium found in lettuce acts as a sedative on the nervous system to promote a good night’s sleep.  

Another substance found in lettuce called lactucin induces relaxation.  

Helps Prevent Anemia

Romaine lettuce contains vitamin B12, iron and folate, nutrients that prevent anemia.

Side Effects

lettuce in salad carbs

It is advisable that lettuce is washed well before eating as lettuce crops may be sprayed with pesticides.  Consumption of lettuce may result in allergic reactions in some individuals.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating an outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) linked to romaine lettuce, which can cause symptoms like diarrhea.

Lettuce Burgers

Keep burgers Keto by using lettuce instead of burger buns.  A big piece of crispy and refreshing Romaine lettuce can be used to wrap your burger and all the fixings. Romaine lettuce is a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and K, and potassium.

Lettuce Wraps

To make Keto lettuce wraps, iceberg lettuce leaves work best.  Cut out the core of the lettuce with a paring knife so the leaves will be easier to wrap.  Pull large leaves from the lettuce.  Wash the lettuce leaves well before topping with your favorite wrap fillings.  Try wrapping tuna salad, chicken salad or ham and cheese for a serving of protein and healthy fat.

Keto Salad Dressing

It’s super easy to make your own homemade salad dressing.  Not only is it cheaper than buying store brands, but it’s also better for you, too.   Just be sure to choose natural ingredients that are low in carbs like healthy oils and vinegar. 

Avocado oil and apple cider vinegar work great in vinaigrette style dressings, while avocado oil mayo emulsifies well to create a creamy ranch dressing. 

Other low carb ingredients to add to your homemade salad dressings include olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and fresh herbs.

Is Lettuce Good for Weight Loss?

lettuce in bowl calories

Lettuce is extremely low in carbs, calories, and fat, making it an ideal food for weight loss.  Consuming lettuce regularly can also help improve your metabolism.

What’s more, the fiber in darker varieties, like Romaine helps keep you satiated to prevent overeating.  These varieties also offer the highest in nutrient content.  

Is Lettuce Good for Your Hair and Skin?

Eating lettuce promotes healthy glowing skin and shiny, nourished hair because it contains essential vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.  The leafy, green veggie helps synthesize collagen to make your skin’s firmness and texture.

The vitamin A in lettuce helps replenish and renew skin cells, while the potassium improves circulation and oxygen flow in the dermis.   The vitamin C provides natural from harmful UV damage from the sun and prevents the early signs of aging.  

Furthermore, the high water content of the veggie is very hydrating, which helps keep your skin moisturized and supple.  Applying lettuce juice to your face topically can also improve the health of your skin. 

You can also rinse your hair with lettuce juice to improve the quality of your hair.  The vitamin K in lettuce can benefit your hair as well by strengthening the hair shaft and preventing hair loss.  The potassium in lettuce can even prevent premature gray hair.

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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