If you're following a calorie-controlled diet, leafy greens like lettuce and cabbage make smart additions to your diet. They have generous portion sizes -- a 2-cup serving counts as a single cup of veggies under U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines -- so you'll feel satisfied after your meals. In addition, the two vegetables contain almost negligible amounts of calories to help support weight loss. Cabbage and lettuce both offer nutritional value, boosting your intake of fiber, but they differ in their vitamin content.
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Macronutrients and Fiber
Both cabbage and lettuce are very low in calories -- 2 cups of shredded cabbage contains just 36 calories, while an equivalent portion of green leaf lettuce contains 10 calories. These calories come primarily from carbohydrates, which provide fuel for your cells, as well as small amounts of protein and fat. Cabbage offers more fiber per serving than green leaf lettuce. Each 2-cup portion contains 3.6 grams of dietary fiber -- 9 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 14 percent for women. Green leaf lettuce provides considerably less fiber, at 1 gram per serving.
Vitamin A Content
Lettuce, but not cabbage, serves as an excellent source of vitamin A. Your body uses vitamin A to make rhodopsin -- a chemical essential for healthy vision -- as well as to maintain healthy white blood cells and skin tissue. A 2-cup serving of shredded green leaf lettuce contains 5,332 international units of vitamin A -- all the vitamin A you need daily. An equivalent serving of cabbage contains just 137 international units of vitamin A, roughly 6 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 5 percent for men.
Vitamin K Content
Both lettuce and cabbage serve as excellent sources of vitamin K. A 2-cup serving of either veggie provides all the vitamin K women need in a day. Lettuce provides 85 percent of the daily recommended intake for men per serving, while cabbage offers 73 percent. Vitamin K helps activate seven proteins involved in blood coagulation, so it plays an essential role in your ability to form blood clots. It also activates three proteins involved in bone development, and getting enough vitamin K in your diet promotes skeletal health.
Vitamin C Content
Cabbage, but not lettuce, serves as a good source of vitamin C. A diet rich in vitamin C offers several benefits -- it maintains healthy skin, strengthens your bones, supports your metabolism and helps you produce chemical messengers involved in regulating your mood. It also fights disease, including stroke and coronary heart disease. A serving of shredded cabbage contains 51 milligrams of vitamin C, which makes up 57 percent and 68 percent of the recommended daily intakes for men and women, respectively. A portion of green leaf lettuce, on the other hand, contains just 7 milligrams of vitamin C.
- HealthAliciousNess: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool
- University of Utah Health Center: Finding the Right Mix of Carbs, Proteins, and Fats
- Linus Pauling Institute: Fiber
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- USDA ChooseMyPlate: What Counts as a Cup of Vegetables?
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C