Foodstruct Advanced Nutrition Search | Diet Analysis | Glycemic index chart | Insulin index chart | Blog

Cabbage vs Broccoli - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

Compare
Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan by Razmik Sargsyan | Last updated on September 09, 2021
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Cabbage
vs
Broccoli

Summary

Despite having many similarities, such as taxonomic aspects, broccoli and cabbage have slight differences in the overall nutrient content, as well as some crucial differences overall.

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. In this article, we 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 the broccoli and Brassica oleracea of the capitata cultivar for cabbage.

Appearance

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

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

Nutrition

In this article, we are going to 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. In the case of sugars, broccoli contains twice less than cabbage, 1.7g per 100g.

Vitamins

Broccoli is an amazing 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" chart 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 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 Vitamin K 6% 3% 0% 122% 16% 10% 5% 13% 29% 33% 0% 190%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 38% 16% 0% 298% 18% 27% 12% 35% 41% 48% 0% 254%
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 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" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains less Sodium -45.5%
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%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 12% 18% 9% 12% 15% 3% 5% 7%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 15% 28% 15% 29% 28% 5% 12% 17%
Contains less Sodium -45.5%
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%

Glycemic Index

Vegetables are considered to be foods with low glycemic indexes; cabbage and broccoli are not 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.

You can find more information about how cabbage affects blood glucose levels on this page.

Acidity

Both cabbage and broccoli are slightly acidic, and they 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 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 also 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 is found that long-term vegetable consumption prevents weight gain.

Due to low calories 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

Cabbage and broccoli are cruciferous vegetables. One study discusses the effect of various vegetables on the cardiovascular system and the diseases associated with it. Research shows that both cabbage and broccoli can positively affect cardiovascular health due to their phytochemical composition, lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (3).

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).

For the cruciferous plants, it is suggested to use at least five servings (2½ cups) a day. 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 (6).

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 (7).

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

References

  1. https://www.webpal.org/SAFE/aaarecovery/2_food_storage/Processing/lacf-phs.htm
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027153170800064X
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986475/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141106/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802872/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391535/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6669329/
Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: September 09, 2021

Infographic

Cabbage vs Broccoli infographic
Infographic link

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.
Cabbage Broccoli
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 Cabbage Broccoli Opinion
Net carbs 3.3g 4.04g Broccoli
Protein 1.28g 2.82g Broccoli
Fats 0.1g 0.37g Broccoli
Carbs 5.8g 6.64g Broccoli
Calories 25kcal 34kcal Broccoli
Starch 0g 0g
Fructose 1.45g 0.68g Cabbage
Sugar 3.2g 1.7g Broccoli
Fiber 2.5g 2.6g Broccoli
Calcium 40mg 47mg Broccoli
Iron 0.47mg 0.73mg Broccoli
Magnesium 12mg 21mg Broccoli
Phosphorus 26mg 66mg Broccoli
Potassium 170mg 316mg Broccoli
Sodium 18mg 33mg Cabbage
Zinc 0.18mg 0.41mg Broccoli
Copper 0.019mg 0.049mg Broccoli
Vitamin A 98IU 623IU Broccoli
Vitamin E 0.15mg 0.78mg Broccoli
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 36.6mg 89.2mg Broccoli
Vitamin B1 0.061mg 0.071mg Broccoli
Vitamin B2 0.04mg 0.117mg Broccoli
Vitamin B3 0.234mg 0.639mg Broccoli
Vitamin B5 0.212mg 0.573mg Broccoli
Vitamin B6 0.124mg 0.175mg Broccoli
Folate 43µg 63µg Broccoli
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 76µg 101.6µg Broccoli
Tryptophan 0.011mg 0.033mg Broccoli
Threonine 0.035mg 0.088mg Broccoli
Isoleucine 0.03mg 0.079mg Broccoli
Leucine 0.041mg 0.129mg Broccoli
Lysine 0.044mg 0.135mg Broccoli
Methionine 0.012mg 0.038mg Broccoli
Phenylalanine 0.032mg 0.117mg Broccoli
Valine 0.042mg 0.125mg Broccoli
Histidine 0.022mg 0.059mg Broccoli
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.034g 0.039g Cabbage
Monounsaturated Fat 0.017g 0.011g Cabbage
Polyunsaturated fat 0.017g 0.038g Broccoli

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

People also compare

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
35
Cabbage
65
Broccoli
Mineral Summary Score
10
Cabbage
18
Broccoli

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
8%
Cabbage
17%
Broccoli
Carbohydrates
6%
Cabbage
7%
Broccoli
Fats
0%
Cabbage
2%
Broccoli

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

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