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Broccoli vs. Cabbage — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan by Razmik Sargsyan | Last updated on April 18, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Broccoli
vs
Cabbage

Summary

While cabbage is lower in sodium content, about 45% less than broccoli, broccoli contains 55% more iron, 157% more copper, and 127% more zinc.

Regarding vitamin content, broccoli contains 535% more vitamin A, 192% more vitamin B2, and 420% more vitamin E.

Introduction

Cabbage and broccoli are vegetables belonging to the same Brassica genus but look very different in appearance. This article will discover the similarities and differences between these vegetables.

Classification

Cabbage and broccoli share the same genus, Brassica. Still, they are assigned different species names, Brassica oleracea of the Italica cultivar for broccoli and Brassica oleracea of the capitata cultivar for cabbage.

Appearance

It is pretty easy to distinguish broccoli from cabbage, even though they are from the same genus.

Both cabbage and broccoli have their varieties. Cabbage usually differs in color (purple, red); however, there are types of broccoli that are different in their appearance too. The most common type of broccoli usually appears in dark green with a tree-like structure, while cabbage is usually layered.

Taste and Use

Both cabbage and broccoli are widely used as raw foods and in salads and other dishes like soup. While it is common to consume raw cabbage, in general, the taste of the cabbage may vary based on its type. It is more common to use broccoli in food because of its tasteless feature.

Growing Conditions

Broccoli and cabbage differ in their growing conditions too. The most common type of broccoli is an annual plant, while cabbage is biennial.

Varieties

Cabbage and broccoli have various cultivars. They may differ in color, structure, and nutrient content.

The most common type of broccoli is the calabrese broccoli, named after Calabria, Italy. While other types, like sprouting broccoli, are different in color, the calabrese can be white or purple with more heads and many thin stems.

Cabbage has some cultivars, including Savoy, green, red, or purple, and napa or Chinese cabbage.

The food types used in this article are raw cabbage and raw broccoli.

Nutrition

In this article, we will discuss green cabbage and calabrese broccoli.

Like most vegetables, cabbage and broccoli are mainly composed of water, but the numbers are different. That number is 92.2% for cabbage and 89.3% for broccoli.

Calories

Like most vegetables, broccoli and cabbage are low in calories, but cabbage contains fewer calories than broccoli, about 25 kcal per 100g.

Protein and Fats

Cabbage is the absolute winner in total fat composition. Per 100g, it contains about 0.1g, whereas, in the case of broccoli, it is about 0.37g. Broccoli is also higher in protein; cabbage contains about 1.28g, while broccoli a bit more, 2.82g per 100g.

Carbohydrates

Cabbage and broccoli contain about the same number of carbohydrates, but broccoli contains slightly more than cabbage, about 6.64g per 100g.

When it comes to fiber, both vegetables contain almost the same amount. Regarding sugars, broccoli contains twice less than cabbage, 1.7g per 100g.

Vitamins

Broccoli is a fantastic source of vitamin C and vitamin A; per 100g, it contains 89.2mg and 623IU, respectively. Broccoli is 6 times higher in vitamin A and 2 richer in vitamin C.

However, a 100g serving of broccoli can fulfill the daily required amount of vitamin C. Broccoli is richer in vitamins B2, B3, and B6.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +535.7%
Contains more Vitamin E +420%
Contains more Vitamin C +143.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +16.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +192.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +173.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +170.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +41.1%
Contains more Folate +46.5%
Contains more Choline +74.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +33.7%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 38% 16% 0% 298% 18% 27% 12% 35% 41% 48% 0% 11% 254%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 6% 3% 0% 122% 16% 10% 5% 13% 29% 33% 0% 6% 190%
Contains more Vitamin A +535.7%
Contains more Vitamin E +420%
Contains more Vitamin C +143.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +16.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +192.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +173.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +170.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +41.1%
Contains more Folate +46.5%
Contains more Choline +74.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +33.7%

Minerals

Broccoli wins the mineral competition as well, containing more potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and iron.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +17.5%
Contains more Iron +55.3%
Contains more Magnesium +75%
Contains more Phosphorus +153.8%
Contains more Potassium +85.9%
Contains more Zinc +127.8%
Contains more Copper +157.9%
Contains more Manganese +31.3%
Contains more Selenium +733.3%
Contains less Sodium -45.5%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 15% 28% 15% 29% 28% 5% 12% 17% 28% 14%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 12% 18% 9% 12% 15% 3% 5% 7% 21% 2%
Contains more Calcium +17.5%
Contains more Iron +55.3%
Contains more Magnesium +75%
Contains more Phosphorus +153.8%
Contains more Potassium +85.9%
Contains more Zinc +127.8%
Contains more Copper +157.9%
Contains more Manganese +31.3%
Contains more Selenium +733.3%
Contains less Sodium -45.5%

Glycemic Index

Vegetables are considered to be foods with low glycemic indexes; cabbage and broccoli are no exceptions.

While exact numbers for the glycemic index values of these vegetables have not yet been calculated, they are assumed to be low due to high fiber content and low amounts of sugar.

This page provides more information about how cabbage affects blood glucose levels.

Acidity

Both cabbage and broccoli are slightly acidic and may vary based on their cultivars and growing conditions.

For the cabbage, the pH value is estimated to be around 5.50 - 6.75, and for broccoli, it is 6.30 - 6.85, making it slightly more acidic than cabbage (1).

Even though both vegetables are slightly acidic, they are not considered acid-forming foods. Relating to the potential renal acid load (PRAL), the value is -2.8 for cabbage and -4 for broccoli, making them alkaline-forming. The PRAL shows the potential of food to produce acid inside the organism during metabolism.

Weight Loss

For decades vegetables have been known as the best option for weight loss. It has been found that long-term vegetable consumption prevents weight gain.

Due to low-calorie content, richness in water, and relatively high amount of fiber, broccoli and cabbages are good options to consider when planning a weight loss diet. Being low in carbohydrates makes both of them suitable for keto diets.

It is suggested to cook both vegetables on steam, which affects nutrient composition the least (2).

Health Impact

Broccoli and cabbage are rich in certain micronutrients and vitamins. Below, we will discuss their impact on human health.

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Broccoli is rich in vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds such as sulforaphane, which has been associated with cardiovascular health. Sulforaphane has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help decrease the risk of atherosclerosis by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation (6, 7).

Cabbage is also packed with vitamins, minerals (including potassium), and antioxidants like vitamin C and anthocyanins. These nutrients contribute to its potential cardiovascular benefits, including lowering blood pressure.

Both vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, which can support heart health by promoting healthy digestion and helping to regulate cholesterol levels.

In summary, both broccoli and cabbage can be beneficial for cardiovascular health as part of a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Incorporating a variety of cruciferous vegetables into your meals can provide a range of nutrients and protective compounds that support overall heart health.

Cancer

It is shown that both cabbage and broccoli contain a substance called sulforaphane, which is rich in sulfur and has various positive benefits on human health.

Research shows that sulforaphane is an adequate chemoprotective substance, as it inhibits tumor growth and increases cancer cells’ sensitivity to chemotherapy (4, 5).

Using at least five servings (2½ cups) a day is suggested for the cruciferous plants. Both cabbage and broccoli are rich in antioxidants, which may also positively affect cancer prevention.

It is also shown that growth time affects the anticancer activity of broccoli. For example, broccoli collected in October had the highest cancer cell inhibition activity (8).

Diabetes

While both cabbage and broccoli have a low glycemic index, it is crucial to control the intake of both vegetables due to their chemical composition. Low amounts of daily consumption have a positive effect overall; however, high amounts may have harmful side effects on individuals with type 2 diabetes (9).

One study concerning broccoli shows that its consumption needs to be under control. While specific amounts of broccoli may affect positively, overuse can lead to hypoglycemia in patients who have diabetes (5).

Bone Health

Broccoli is high in vitamin K and calcium, two nutrients that can help to keep your bones strong and healthy.


According to a test-tube study, the sulforaphane present in broccoli may help prevent osteoarthritis. However, more research is required (10).

Video Summary

 

Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: April 18, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Broccoli vs Cabbage infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +120.3%
Contains more Fats +270%
Contains more Carbs +14.5%
Contains more Other +35.9%
Equal in Water - 92.18
3% 7% 89%
Protein: 2.82 g
Fats: 0.37 g
Carbs: 6.64 g
Water: 89.3 g
Other: 0.87 g
6% 92%
Protein: 1.28 g
Fats: 0.1 g
Carbs: 5.8 g
Water: 92.18 g
Other: 0.64 g
Contains more Protein +120.3%
Contains more Fats +270%
Contains more Carbs +14.5%
Contains more Other +35.9%
Equal in Water - 92.18

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +123.5%
Contains less Saturated Fat -12.8%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +54.5%
44% 13% 43%
Saturated Fat: 0.039 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.011 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.038 g
50% 25% 25%
Saturated Fat: 0.034 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.017 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.017 g
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +123.5%
Contains less Saturated Fat -12.8%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +54.5%

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Sucrose +25%
Contains more Lactose +∞%
Contains more Maltose +2000%
Contains more Glucose +240.8%
Contains more Fructose +113.2%
6% 29% 40% 12% 12%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0.1 g
Glucose: 0.49 g
Fructose: 0.68 g
Lactose: 0.21 g
Maltose: 0.21 g
Galactose: 0 g
2% 52% 45%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0.08 g
Glucose: 1.67 g
Fructose: 1.45 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0.01 g
Galactose: 0 g
Contains more Sucrose +25%
Contains more Lactose +∞%
Contains more Maltose +2000%
Contains more Glucose +240.8%
Contains more Fructose +113.2%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Broccoli Cabbage
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Broccoli Cabbage Opinion
Net carbs 4.04g 3.3g Broccoli
Protein 2.82g 1.28g Broccoli
Fats 0.37g 0.1g Broccoli
Carbs 6.64g 5.8g Broccoli
Calories 34kcal 25kcal Broccoli
Fructose 0.68g 1.45g Cabbage
Sugar 1.7g 3.2g Broccoli
Fiber 2.6g 2.5g Broccoli
Calcium 47mg 40mg Broccoli
Iron 0.73mg 0.47mg Broccoli
Magnesium 21mg 12mg Broccoli
Phosphorus 66mg 26mg Broccoli
Potassium 316mg 170mg Broccoli
Sodium 33mg 18mg Cabbage
Zinc 0.41mg 0.18mg Broccoli
Copper 0.049mg 0.019mg Broccoli
Manganese 0.21mg 0.16mg Broccoli
Selenium 2.5µg 0.3µg Broccoli
Vitamin A 623IU 98IU Broccoli
Vitamin A RAE 31µg 5µg Broccoli
Vitamin E 0.78mg 0.15mg Broccoli
Vitamin C 89.2mg 36.6mg Broccoli
Vitamin B1 0.071mg 0.061mg Broccoli
Vitamin B2 0.117mg 0.04mg Broccoli
Vitamin B3 0.639mg 0.234mg Broccoli
Vitamin B5 0.573mg 0.212mg Broccoli
Vitamin B6 0.175mg 0.124mg Broccoli
Folate 63µg 43µg Broccoli
Choline 18.7mg 10.7mg Broccoli
Vitamin K 101.6µg 76µg Broccoli
Tryptophan 0.033mg 0.011mg Broccoli
Threonine 0.088mg 0.035mg Broccoli
Isoleucine 0.079mg 0.03mg Broccoli
Leucine 0.129mg 0.041mg Broccoli
Lysine 0.135mg 0.044mg Broccoli
Methionine 0.038mg 0.012mg Broccoli
Phenylalanine 0.117mg 0.032mg Broccoli
Valine 0.125mg 0.042mg Broccoli
Histidine 0.059mg 0.022mg Broccoli
Saturated Fat 0.039g 0.034g Cabbage
Monounsaturated Fat 0.011g 0.017g Cabbage
Polyunsaturated fat 0.038g 0.017g Broccoli

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Broccoli Cabbage
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
61%
Broccoli
33%
Cabbage
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
19%
Broccoli
10%
Cabbage

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Cabbage
Cabbage contains less Sodium (difference - 15mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cabbage
Cabbage is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.005g)
Which food is cheaper?
Cabbage
Cabbage is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Broccoli
Broccoli is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.5g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Broccoli
Broccoli is lower in glycemic index (difference - 32)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Broccoli
Broccoli is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Broccoli
Broccoli is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Broccoli - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170379/nutrients
  2. Cabbage - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169975/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.