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Cabbage and lettuce are two of the most similar looking, healthiest greens around. They’re often confused with each other but are entirely different vegetables in their own right. So, how do they actually compare?
Wild cabbage is said to have been found in Europe over 2000 years ago. Cabbage in those days, however, looked a lot different to the types we have today. The original European forms of cabbage plants were non-head-forming. It’s likely they resembled vegetables such as kale or collards.
Cabbage was also grown in Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Both the Greeks and the Romans are believed to have held cabbage in high esteem. They saw cabbage as a remedy for a wide range of health conditions.
Lettuce is an ancient, well-travelled green. Common lettuce is said to have originated in the Middle East. Egyptian wall murals have depicted lettuce in cultivation at about 2700 B.C. The Greeks apparently learned how to grow lettuce from the Egyptians.
The Egyptians used it as a sedative and also as a salad at the beginning of meals to aid digestion. The Greeks then passed their knowledge on to the Romans. The Romans also took advantage of lettuce’s medicinal qualities, believing that it increased stamina.
Cabbage is an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese. It’s relatively low in calories and contains powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols and sulfur compounds. Research even suggests that red cabbage (such as Pak Choi) could improve learning and memory.
Romaine lettuce, in particular, is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, folate, iron, potassium, and manganese. Leafy green lettuces contain significant amounts of antioxidants and antifungal action. Furthermore, research suggests that extract from lettuce inhibits the growth of leukemia cells and MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
When it comes to cooking, cabbage tends to be used more frequently than lettuce. This is due to its incredible versatility. It can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed, or stewed. Cabbage’s texture is slightly tougher and thicker than lettuce’s texture. The outer leaves are usually too tough to use so it’s common to remove them and use the inner leaves for cooking.
There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh lettuce. More often than not, you’ll find lettuce uncooked. It’s usually consumed as a salad, as part of a wrap, or as a garnish. Despite this, there are a variety of dishes that include cooked lettuce, from soups to sautées.
It depends. Both cabbage and lettuce contain varying amounts of essential nutrients. Broadly speaking, the greater the variety of foods you consume, the more balanced your diet will be. Both lettuce and cabbage can become very healthy components of your diet.
With the increase in food safety concerns, nothing beats the reassurance that you are consuming the healthiest, freshest greens around.