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Back to the Basics 2: Romaine – The Surprising Super-vegetable

Here on “Wellness Wednesday,” we like to focus on the nutritional side of good health. After all, even as a chiropractic office, our motto doesn’t stop at “Move Right,” but it includes, “Move Right, Eat Right, Think Right, and Live Right.” They all work together, so our Wednesday segment is just as important as the others.

During the month of April, we are going back to the basics of nutritious eating. I’m reluctant to use the word “diet” because all of the associations people make with weight loss and calorie restriction. To me, losing unnecessary weight is a natural side benefit to eating right consistently. When your body is getting the nutrients it needs and avoiding the garbage that makes up so much of our food supply, your body will naturally gravitate towards its ideal weight. Plus, you’ll feel better (and who doesn’t want that?)

Back to the Dark (Leafy Greens)

Last week, we started a new series on the power of dark, leafy greens by turning the spotlight on kale. I think kale gets a bad rap because some people don’t like the taste. If you didn’t see that article, we shared a recipe and some easy tips for making kale a delicious part of your life. Kale is packed with nutrients, so I hope you’ll take a look at that article.

There’s another dark leafy green that I feel people look down on, for a very different set of reasons, and that’s Romaine lettuce.

I don’t know…maybe it’s because it’s a staple on salad bars that people think of it as an introductory vegetable, but I see too many people look down their nose at Romaine. They prefer spinach or Swiss Chard…something a little more refined. Maybe it’s because people confuse it with iceberg lettuce, which is basically lettuce with all the nutrients, flavor, and color removed.

But it’s time to take a fresh look at Romaine. The Internet is starting to wake up to this overlooked powerhouse, especially the smoothie sites. Look at what the folks at had to say about it:

Here are some surprising nutrition facts about this wonderful smoothie (and salad) green:

1 – Protein. Believe it or not, romaine lettuce is 17% protein with 7.7 grams per head. It is also contains all 9 essential amino acids, 9% RDA of some and up to 26% RDA of others.

2 – Calcium. One head of romaine has 206 milligrams (mg) of calcium (about 21% RDA). Blend it with calcium rich fruits like papaya and oranges and you’ll get more calcium than a glass of milk!

3 – Omega-3s. One head of romaine lettuce contains 44% RDA of Omega-3 essential fats. Forget the tainted fish oils, reach for some leafy greens instead!

4 – More Vitamin A Than An Carrot. One head of romaine contains 182% RDA of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) while a large carrot contains only 40%.

5 – Iron. One head of romaine contains 6mg of iron, which ads a significant source of iron to the diets of vegetarians and vegans.

6 – Romaine Lettuce is Rich in B-vitamins: Thiamine (B1) – 38% RDA, Riboflavin (B2) – 32% RDA, Niacin (B3) – 12% RDA, Pantothenic Acid (B5) – 18%, Pyridoxine (B6) – 36 %,Folate (B9) – 213%!

7 – Water. One head of romaine provides 16% of your daily water needs with about 20 ounces of water per head!

8 – Rich Source of vitamin K. As with most leafy greens, romaine is super rich vitamin K with 535% RDA in one head.

9 – Low Levels of Oxalic Acid. If you have problems with calcium oxalate kidney stones, romaine lettuce might be a good choice for leafy greens since it is very low in this anti-nutrient.

10 – Mineral-Rich. Don’t let the lighter color of romaine lettuce fool you. This not-so-dark leafy green is rich in minerals. One head contains copper (33% RDA), magnesium (22% RDA), manganese (42% RDA), phosphorus (27% RDA), potassium (33%), selenium (5% RDA) and zinc (13% RDA).


Wow!! Throw it on the salad and in the blender! If you’ve been overlooking the Romaine, you’ve been missing out on a pile of benefits!


This one is simple: grab the following ingredients and throw them in the blender until you have a gorgeous green smoothie:

  • 1 head of Romaine (yes, the whole head – you can cut off the white knob at the bottom if you’d like)
  • 1 banana (peel it first)
  • 1 apple (cored and cut in quarters or eighths)
  • 1 pear (cored and cut in quarters or eighths)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups of water

Some options to consider adding for texture, flavor, and additional health benefits:

  • 2 tbsp of hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp spirulina or greens powder
  • 1 tbsp flax seed/hemp seed oil

Pass the Romaine

If this article got you thinking in a new way about Romaine, then please share it with a friend on Facebook. You never know who might read it, try it, and experience a significant boost in their health. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus today.

P.S.  If you live in the Southwest Florida area, my team and I invite you to our next Fundamental Food event, this Thursday, April 9th, at our office in Naples. We go deep on some important food issues, and we have a great time. Bring a dish to share. Make plans to be a part of it – and please RSVP on Facebook.

“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING; at the end of your principles is a PROMISE.”  — Eric Thomas

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