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Cabbage and some types of lettuce sometimes confuse a lot of people due to their resemblance but they are definitely very different. If you are looking for the difference between cabbage and lettuce, this is it.
Both vegetables provide similar nutrients that are healthy for various body functions.
The main differences between cabbage and lettuce are brought on by being part of different plant families — growing conditions, nutritional values, flavors, culinary use, texture, etc.
Here is what you should know about cabbage vs lettuce differences.
Cabbage is a widely cooked vegetable used for different culinary purposes. It can be eaten raw, boiled, stewed, sauteed, and braised.
Surprisingly, cabbage belongs to the genus Brassica which includes other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, among others.
The leaves of cabbage are tough and thick but when cooked it turns to a tender and delicious meal.
Just like most vegetables, cabbages are packed with nutrients and vitamins to help stay healthy.
Cabbages are found in many varieties/types and are grown in many different places;
- Helps indigestion
- Vitamin C helps in strengthening bones, boost metabolism, prevent diseases, skin health, etc.
- Fights microbial infections
- Prevent against inflammation
- Prevents cancer
The name lettuce comes from the Latin word “lac” which means milk. It belongs to the Lactuca family.
Lettuce has high water content and is mostly used as a salad for other meals.
Similar to cabbages, it comes packed with nutrients and Vitamins essential for body health.
Lettuce is categorized into 4 main types which include;
- Excellent source of vitamin A which is good for eye health, skin and bones
- Helps in weight loss due to low calories and high fiber and cellulose
- Contains sleep-inducing properties, Lactucarium, a white fluid that can help the body muscles relax and promote good sleep
- Protects Neuronal cells
- Blood sugar regulation because lettuce has a low glycemic index.
- It contains omega -3 fatty acids, antioxidants and antimicrobial that promote overall health.
Cabbage And Lettuce: Similarities
The two vegetables have many similarities worth noting. All leafy greens share most of the same nutritional benefits but with slight differences.
Both cabbage and lettuce contain minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They have high water content which makes them perfect for juicing to extract high yields.
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Both cabbage and lettuce have many layers of leaves forming a similar shape depending on the type.
Cabbage And Lettuce: The Differences
Although cabbage and lettuce contain most of the same nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, the amounts of these components vary from each other.
There are differences in the growing conditions, health benefits, appearance, taste, storage, and culinary uses.
Nutritional Value Difference
Cabbage is full of vitamins and minerals to benefit every day. It contains a Sulforaphane compound that can delay cancer like prostate, melanoma, breast, and pancreatic cancers.
It also has higher minerals than lettuce which include potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.
Cabbage has twice the number of calories that lettuce contains with one serving of cabbage containing 25 calories while one serving of lettuce has only 14 calories.
In terms of Vitamin C intake, cabbage contains about 60% of the recommended daily vitamin C while lettuce contains 4% of the intake. Vitamin B6 is found in cabbages but lettuce doesn’t have it.
Also, cabbages contain more fiber content than lettuce and also contain glutamine which provides anti-inflammatory properties.
Overall, cabbages have more nutritional value than lettuce.
Texture & Taste
Cabbage has tough leaves than lettuce, therefore, it contains less water content. Due to the texture of cabbage, it can be steamed or boiled and sometimes used in coleslaw.
Lettuce has a crunchy texture which makes it ideal for salads and baked foods like burgers.
Cabbages when cooked correctly, provide sweet flavor, and also compliment other foods. If you decide to snack on cabbages raw, they have a crunchy texture and strong flavor.
We do enjoy food differently but cabbage is more versatile to cook and use as a dessert at the same time. Lettuce is better for salads and is not very good for cooking at all.
Lettuce requires cooler conditions to grow than cabbages. Lettuce thrives in sandy soil or loose soil with a soil pH level between 6 and 7.
Growing lettuce requires 6 hours of sunlight a day and needs shade for proper growth.
Cabbages grow in cool environments and soil pH above 6.5 but it has to be moist throughout for best results.
Cabbage has a short stem and a head forming a bulb shape, with the leaves typically tightly overlapping each other. They appear in different types which contain different colors which are green, red, or purple.
Lettuce also has a short stem but the leaves can vary considerably, but with overlap between each other, even in looseleaf varietites. They contain more chlorophyll which makes lettuce greener than cabbages
The texture of cabbage its lower water content enables it to last longer than lettuce. Stored in the fridge, cabbage can last for about two months.
Lettuce, when stored in the fridge, can last for a few days before going bad.
All vegetables are best when eaten fresh for maximum nutrient benefits.
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Cabbage versus Lettuce – FAQ
Which is the better vegetable for weight loss, cabbage or lettuce?
A diet rich in high amounts of vegetables is ALWAYS great for weight loss, especially when those calories are replacing poor food choices like too many dry snacks (crackers, chips, etc) or too many desserts.
Both of these vegetables are rich in fiber and low in calories, which is a stellar combination for not just weight loss but sustained weight loss maintenance. This means this profile of high fiber to low calories will help you lose weight and keep it off.
The question as to which is better for weight loss will differ between your body’s needs. Do you need significantly fewer calories, but you already eat a high fiber diet? You’ll want to use lettuce more often then, to avoid getting too much fiber.
If you don’t need to worry about calories, but your fiber intake could use a boost, consider fitting more cabbage into your diet.
Which is better for a heart-healthy diet?
Considering the high amount of water, vitamins, fiber, and little else found in either cabbage or lettuce, these are both excellent for shifting to a more heart-healthy diet. You won’t be adding cholesterol, fat, or other dietary components that can increase inflammation or plaque build-up in your arteries and veins.
Cabbages in particular, however, have been studied and found to promote good cardiovascular health.
Lettuce, on the other hand, may help decrease your risk of heart attack or stroke complications due to being nitrate-rich, which has been associated with these decreased risks.
Which is better in a smoothie?
If you’re wondering if you can put cabbage in a smoothie, the answer is technically yes, but you’ll find it hard to get a good and smooth smoothie with cabbage due to a stiffer structure (the more a vegetable has crunch, the harder it is to blend it smooth).
Lettuce, such as romaine, offers a less intense texture and a more mild flavor and may blend in more readily regardless of the other ingredients in your smoothie. While it, too, may not be perfectly pureed, the softer raw texture of it will make it easier to ignore the little “chunks” left behind after a solid blend.
Can you substitute cabbage for lettuce?
When making a salad, a “lettuce wrap,” or similar recipes, you’d be totally fine to replace cabbage for the lettuce when you’ve run out.
When making a cabbage soup, stuffed cabbage roll, or other sorts of recipes, well, there really is not a type of lettuce out there that will stand up to that kind of cooking or recipe combination well.
So while you can use cabbage pretty much any time lettuce is called for, you’ll be a little harder pressed to do the same in reverse.
So is cabbage better for you than lettuce?
It depends on the context of the word “better,” but generally speaking if you need a low calorie, nutrient-dense, and high fiber food, you’ll be better off with cabbage. The specific nutritional profile differs even between types of lettuce, so that is really the comparison point that you need to consider before you decide which is better FOR YOU.
Final Thoughts on Cabbage versus Lettuce
The available different types of cabbage and lettuce provide different nutrients amounts but cabbage has more nutritional value.
Both are healthy choices everyone should be eating interchangeably for more health benefits.
The two vegetables work best in different types of culinary recipes therefore, they are to be used where they fit.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.