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Broccoli vs Spinach - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Broccoli
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INTRODUCTION

A healthy lifestyle is what we all strive for, but few of us manage to maintain it due to various factors, but mostly due to our work routines.
This article will discuss the comparison of broccoli vs spinach.
Broccoli is botanically classified as a cruciferous plant. Broccoli was cultivated in ancient Rome. It has a wide range of versatility in culinary usage It can be eaten raw, cooked, and steamed. In raw form, it is often added to smoothies and salads. It is important to note that steamed broccoli is a healthier alternative than the cooked one, mostly due to the enzymes and vitamins getting destroyed in high heat.
On the other hand, spinach is considered one of the healthiest green leaves. This leafy green is also consumed in cooked and raw form. Similar to broccoli it has wide usage in the culinary world. It is a high-yield plant that is easy to cultivate this it is cheaper than broccoli. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties due to the presents of flavonoid anti-oxidants. Always choose the darker green leaves because they are the ones exposed to the sun and have the optimal growth circumstances thus they are rich in nutrients.

In this article, we will compare broccoli and spinach focusing on their nutritional differences and health impacts.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT COMPARISON

Broccoli is a perfect source of vitamin C and its amount is radically higher compared to spinach (almost 3 times more per 300grams). On the other hand, spinach contains 4 times more vitamin K than broccoli. Moreover, broccoli is richer in zinc, calcium, vitamin B1, B5.
Furthermore, from the standpoint of calories per 100gr, broccoli is higher in calories than spinach (the ratio is 34:23). They have similar protein content. Broccoli contains two times more carbohydrates than spinach. In general, spinach contains significantly high amounts of vitamins and minerals. What refers to minerals, it’s a great source of iron and contains 3 times more iron compared to broccoli. Spinach also contains a considerable amount of manganese, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, carotene.

HEALTH IMPACT

When it comes to its maximal nutritional availability, both, broccoli and spinach should be consumed raw. However, due to their bioavailability, they often cause bloating and gas. This is mostly due to the activity of the gut microflora benefiting from them in a positive aspect to our gut health. (1) (2)

Broccoli and spinach have a wide range of aspects that are beneficial to maintain a healthy and active body. From these are the following: 

  • Cancer prevention (3)(4)
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits (5)(6)
  • Digestive support, as mentioned previously this might cause gas. 
  • Cardiovascular support (7)(8)  

Recent research states that the dark green color of spinach is a sign of a high level of chlorophyll and health-promoting carotenoids like lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous features and are perfect for healthy eye-sight, as they help to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. The following are the nutritional benefits that are associated with regular consumption of spinach.

  • Asthma prevention, due to the high amounts of magnesium in spinach which is associated with the reduction of asthma attacks. (9)
  • Bone health (10)
  • Diabetes management (11)

 

SUMMARY

Broccoli is richer in zinc, calcium, and vitamins B1 and B5. On the other hand, spinach is richer in iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, carotene, and vitamin K. Moreover, spinach is cheaper than broccoli. Overall, spinach is a better green than broccoli.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30317146/ 
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30938723/ 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9584498/ 
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9367061/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103733/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27353735/ 
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18163565/ 
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525132/ 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2536613/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330619/ 
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5018658/
Article author photo Tatevik  Stepanyan
Profession: Food Blogger
Last updated: April 24, 2021
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian

Infographic

Broccoli vs Spinach infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Phosphorus +34.7%
Contains less Sodium -58.2%
Contains more Iron +271.2%
Contains more Calcium +110.6%
Contains more Potassium +76.6%
Contains more Magnesium +276.2%
Contains more Copper +165.3%
Contains more Zinc +29.3%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 28% 15% 28% 15% 17% 12% 29% 5%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 102% 30% 50% 57% 44% 15% 22% 11%
Contains more Phosphorus +34.7%
Contains less Sodium -58.2%
Contains more Iron +271.2%
Contains more Calcium +110.6%
Contains more Potassium +76.6%
Contains more Magnesium +276.2%
Contains more Copper +165.3%
Contains more Zinc +29.3%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin C +217.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +781.5%
Contains more Vitamin A +1405.1%
Contains more Vitamin E +160.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +61.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +13.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +11.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +375.3%
Contains more Folate +207.9%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.078
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 298% 38% 16% 0% 18% 27% 12% 35% 41% 0% 254% 48%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 94% 563% 41% 0% 20% 44% 14% 4% 45% 0% 1208% 146%
Contains more Vitamin C +217.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +781.5%
Contains more Vitamin A +1405.1%
Contains more Vitamin E +160.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +61.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +13.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +11.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +375.3%
Contains more Folate +207.9%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.078

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
65
Broccoli
181
Spinach
Mineral Summary Score
18
Broccoli
41
Spinach

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
17%
Broccoli
17%
Spinach
Carbohydrates
7%
Broccoli
4%
Spinach
Fats
2%
Broccoli
2%
Spinach

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Broccoli Spinach
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in glycemic index Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Broccoli Spinach
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

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Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Spinach
Spinach is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.28g)
Which food is cheaper?
Spinach
Spinach is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Spinach
Spinach is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Spinach
Spinach is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Sodium?
Broccoli
Broccoli contains less Sodium (difference - 46mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Broccoli
Broccoli is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.024g)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (32)

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Broccoli Spinach Opinion
Calories 34 23 Broccoli
Protein 2.82 2.86 Spinach
Fats 0.37 0.39 Spinach
Vitamin C 89.2 28.1 Broccoli
Carbs 6.64 3.63 Broccoli
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.73 2.71 Spinach
Calcium 47 99 Spinach
Potassium 316 558 Spinach
Magnesium 21 79 Spinach
Sugar 1.7 0.42 Spinach
Fiber 2.6 2.2 Broccoli
Copper 0.049 0.13 Spinach
Zinc 0.41 0.53 Spinach
Starch 0 Broccoli
Phosphorus 66 49 Broccoli
Sodium 33 79 Broccoli
Vitamin A 623 9377 Spinach
Vitamin E 0.78 2.03 Spinach
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.071 0.078 Spinach
Vitamin B2 0.117 0.189 Spinach
Vitamin B3 0.639 0.724 Spinach
Vitamin B5 0.573 0.065 Broccoli
Vitamin B6 0.175 0.195 Spinach
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 101.6 482.9 Spinach
Folate 63 194 Spinach
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.039 0.063 Broccoli
Monounsaturated Fat 0.011 0.01 Broccoli
Polyunsaturated fat 0.038 0.165 Spinach
Tryptophan 0.033 0.039 Spinach
Threonine 0.088 0.122 Spinach
Isoleucine 0.079 0.147 Spinach
Leucine 0.129 0.223 Spinach
Lysine 0.135 0.174 Spinach
Methionine 0.038 0.053 Spinach
Phenylalanine 0.117 0.129 Spinach
Valine 0.125 0.161 Spinach
Histidine 0.059 0.064 Spinach
Fructose 0.68 0.15 Broccoli

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Broccoli - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170379/nutrients
  2. Spinach - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168462/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.