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Lettuce vs. Kale raw — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan by Ani Harutyunyan | Last updated on June 24, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Lettuce
vs
Kale raw

Summary

 Kale is three times richer in fiber, and it is overall richer in vitamins C, B2, B6, K, A, and E. In addition, Kale is richer in calcium, manganese, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper 

Introduction

Both being members of different plant families, lettuce and kale tend to have many differences. The two vegetables are packed with minerals and vitamins. However, kale and lettuce differ in nutrient content. This article discusses the general and nutritional differences and the health impacts of raw lettuce(1) and raw kale(2).

Taste and appearance

Kale belongs to the family Brassica, also known as crucifers. It has a thicker stem and green color. They usually taste strong and earthy but are not spicy, unlike many greens. Kale is native to Europe.

Lettuce comes from the Mediterranean area. It belongs to the Asteraceae family. Lettuce leaves are longer and juicier than kale ones. They are commonly green, but you can find purple varieties as well. This vegetable has a sweeter taste, but the stem can be bitter.

Nutrition

Vitamins

Both kale and lettuce are rich in vitamins. However, kale has a richer vitamin profile.

Kale is richer in vitamins C, B2, B6, K, A, and E. 

For more detailed information, check the vitamin comparison chart shown below.

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 B5 +47.3%
Contains more Choline +1600%
Contains more Vitamin A +34.9%
Contains more Vitamin E +600%
Contains more Vitamin C +1204.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +57.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +62.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +166.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +201.1%
Contains more Folate +271.1%
Contains more Vitamin K +458%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 445% 5% 0% 31% 18% 19% 8% 9% 21% 29% 0% 8% 316%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 600% 31% 0% 400% 28% 30% 19% 6% 63% 106% 0% 1% 1762%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +47.3%
Contains more Choline +1600%
Contains more Vitamin A +34.9%
Contains more Vitamin E +600%
Contains more Vitamin C +1204.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +57.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +62.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +166.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +201.1%
Contains more Folate +271.1%
Contains more Vitamin K +458%

Minerals

Similar to their vitamin comparison, kale has a richer mineral profile aswell. 

Kale is higher in calcium, manganese, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper than lettuce.

Kale is more than three times richer in phosphorus and more than two times higher in potassium than lettuce.

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 less Sodium -26.3%
Contains more Calcium +316.7%
Contains more Iron +70.9%
Contains more Magnesium +261.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +217.2%
Contains more Potassium +153.1%
Contains more Zinc +211.1%
Contains more Copper +5069%
Contains more Manganese +163.6%
Contains more Selenium +50%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 11% 33% 10% 13% 18% 4% 5% 10% 33% 4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 45% 56% 34% 40% 44% 5% 16% 500% 86% 5%
Contains less Sodium -26.3%
Contains more Calcium +316.7%
Contains more Iron +70.9%
Contains more Magnesium +261.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +217.2%
Contains more Potassium +153.1%
Contains more Zinc +211.1%
Contains more Copper +5069%
Contains more Manganese +163.6%
Contains more Selenium +50%

Macronutrients

Proteins

Vegetables are generally not considered protein sources, but they contain some amounts of proteins. Kale provides more protein than lettuce. It contains 4.28g per 100g of vegetables, compared to 1.36g of lettuce.

Carbs

Kale has more carbs than lettuce. Kale has 8.75g of carbohydrates per 100g, while lettuce has 2.87g. Furthermore, lettuce has fewer sugars than kale.

Fiber

Kale provides nearly three times more fiber than lettuce. Kale is usually higher in insoluble fiber, while lettuce contains more soluble fiber.

Net carbs

Net carbs are the carbohydrates in food used to synthesize energy. Subtract the amount of fiber from the total carbs in the food to get the net carb amount.

Kale provides 8.75 grams of carbs with 3.6 grams of fiber. On the other hand, lettuce provides 2.87 grams of carbohydrates and 1.3 grams of fiber per serving. Kale has 5.15 grams of net carbs, whereas lettuce has 1.57 grams. Hence, lettuce has a lower net carb content.

Fats

Lipids are not found in kale or lettuce in considerable quantities. Lettuce has 0.2 grams of fat per 100 grams of vegetable, whereas kale has 0.93 grams. The two vegetables are equal in cholesterol content: they do not contain a significant amount.

Calories

Kale has 49 calories per 100g of vegetable, compared to 15 for lettuce.

Health impact

Cardiovascular health

Lettuce is associated with improved cardiovascular health due to its phytochemicals which are linked with decreased risks of myocardial infarction activity (3).

Kale contains phytochemicals that are associated with positive impacts on cardiovascular health (10). 

Liver protective effects and Antioxidants

Phenolic compounds in lettuce are associated with decreased risks of oxidative damage in liver cells (4). 

Kale contains quercetin which is an antioxidant aswell (8)(9)    

Anticancer

Biofortified lettuce with iodine has been shown to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, thus having anti-carcinogenic activities (5). 

kaempferol in kale has anticarcinogenic activity and anti-inflammatory activity (11). 

Antidiabetic

lettuce phytochemicals have shown to have activity towards glucosidase and glucose receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, and overall they reduce carbohydrate breakdown and absorption. Overall, having a positive impact on type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance (6)(7). 

Kale provides relatively large amounts of quercetin and kaempferol (9). These chemicals have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and heart-protective effects.

Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: June 24, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian

Infographic

Lettuce vs Kale raw infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Water +13%
Contains more Protein +214.7%
Contains more Fats +520%
Contains more Carbs +204.9%
Contains more Other +212.5%
3% 95%
Protein: 1.36 g
Fats: 0.15 g
Carbs: 2.87 g
Water: 94.98 g
Other: 0.64 g
4% 9% 84% 2%
Protein: 4.28 g
Fats: 0.93 g
Carbs: 8.75 g
Water: 84.04 g
Other: 2 g
Contains more Water +13%
Contains more Protein +214.7%
Contains more Fats +520%
Contains more Carbs +204.9%
Contains more Other +212.5%

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -78%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +766.7%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +312.2%
19% 6% 76%
Saturated Fat: 0.02 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.006 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.082 g
19% 11% 70%
Saturated Fat: 0.091 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.052 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.338 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -78%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +766.7%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +312.2%

Comparison summary table

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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Lettuce Kale raw Opinion
Net carbs 1.57g 5.15g Kale raw
Protein 1.36g 4.28g Kale raw
Fats 0.15g 0.93g Kale raw
Carbs 2.87g 8.75g Kale raw
Calories 15kcal 49kcal Kale raw
Fructose 0.43g Lettuce
Sugar 0.78g 2.26g Lettuce
Fiber 1.3g 3.6g Kale raw
Calcium 36mg 150mg Kale raw
Iron 0.86mg 1.47mg Kale raw
Magnesium 13mg 47mg Kale raw
Phosphorus 29mg 92mg Kale raw
Potassium 194mg 491mg Kale raw
Sodium 28mg 38mg Lettuce
Zinc 0.18mg 0.56mg Kale raw
Copper 0.029mg 1.499mg Kale raw
Manganese 0.25mg 0.659mg Kale raw
Selenium 0.6µg 0.9µg Kale raw
Vitamin A 7405IU 9990IU Kale raw
Vitamin A RAE 370µg 500µg Kale raw
Vitamin E 0.22mg 1.54mg Kale raw
Vitamin C 9.2mg 120mg Kale raw
Vitamin B1 0.07mg 0.11mg Kale raw
Vitamin B2 0.08mg 0.13mg Kale raw
Vitamin B3 0.375mg 1mg Kale raw
Vitamin B5 0.134mg 0.091mg Lettuce
Vitamin B6 0.09mg 0.271mg Kale raw
Folate 38µg 141µg Kale raw
Choline 13.6mg 0.8mg Lettuce
Vitamin K 126.3µg 704.8µg Kale raw
Tryptophan 0.009mg Lettuce
Threonine 0.059mg Lettuce
Isoleucine 0.084mg Lettuce
Leucine 0.079mg Lettuce
Lysine 0.084mg Lettuce
Methionine 0.016mg Lettuce
Phenylalanine 0.055mg Lettuce
Valine 0.07mg Lettuce
Histidine 0.022mg Lettuce
Saturated Fat 0.02g 0.091g Lettuce
Monounsaturated Fat 0.006g 0.052g Kale raw
Polyunsaturated fat 0.082g 0.338g Kale raw

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Lettuce Kale raw
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

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
69%
Lettuce
234%
Kale raw
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
14%
Lettuce
83%
Kale raw

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Lettuce
Lettuce is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.48g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Lettuce
Lettuce contains less Sodium (difference - 10mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Lettuce
Lettuce is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.071g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Kale raw
Kale raw is lower in glycemic index (difference - 32)
Which food is cheaper?
Kale raw
Kale raw is cheaper (difference - $0.5)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Kale raw
Kale raw is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Kale raw
Kale raw 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. Lettuce - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169249/nutrients
  2. Kale raw - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168421/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.