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Spinach vs Broccoli - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Tatevik  Stepanyan by Tatevik Stepanyan | Last updated on April 24, 2021
Education: Food Blogger
Spinach
vs
Broccoli

Summary

Broccoli is richer in carbohydrates, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, vitamins B1 and B5.

On the other hand, spinach is higher in iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, carotene, and vitamin K. Moreover, spinach is cheaper than broccoli.

Overall, spinach can be considered nutritionally superior to broccoli due to its higher content of micronutrients.

Introduction

We all strive for a healthy lifestyle, but few of us manage to maintain it due to various factors, mostly due to our work routines.

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

General Information

Broccoli is botanically classified as a cruciferous plant. It was cultivated in ancient Rome. Broccoli has a wide range of versatility in culinary usage; it can be eaten raw, fried, and steamed. In raw form, it is often added to smoothies and salads. It is important to note that steaming broccoli is a healthier alternative than frying as the enzymes and vitamins gett destroyed in high heat.

On the other hand, spinach is considered one of the healthiest green vegetables. Similar to broccoli, it has wide usage in the culinary world. This leafy green is also consumed in cooked and raw forms.

Spinach is a high-yield plant that is easy to cultivate. That is why it is cheaper than broccoli. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties due to the contents of flavonoid antioxidants. Always choose darker green leaves because they have been exposed to the sun longer; thus, they are richer in nutrients.

Nutritional Content

Macronutrients

Broccoli and spinach are similar in protein and fat content. However, broccoli is significantly higher in carbohydrates due to both sugars and dietary fiber.

Broccoli is also higher in calories than spinach; the ratio is 34 to 23kcal per 100g.

Vitamins

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and is radically higher compared to spinach (almost 3 times more). Broccoli is also richer in vitamin B5.

On the other hand, spinach contains 4 times more vitamin K than broccoli. Moreover, spinach has higher amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B9.

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 +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 Folate +207.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +375.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +217.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +781.5%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.071
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 563% 41% 0% 94% 20% 44% 14% 4% 45% 146% 0% 1208%
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 +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 Folate +207.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +375.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +217.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +781.5%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.071

Minerals

In general, spinach contains significantly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. It’s a great source of iron, containing 3 times more compared to broccoli. Spinach also contains a considerable amount of manganese, magnesium, potassium, potassium, copper, and zinc.

Instead, broccoli is higher in phosphorus and lower in sodium.

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 Calcium +110.6%
Contains more Iron +271.2%
Contains more Magnesium +276.2%
Contains more Potassium +76.6%
Contains more Zinc +29.3%
Contains more Copper +165.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +34.7%
Contains less Sodium -58.2%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 30% 102% 57% 22% 50% 11% 15% 44%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 15% 28% 15% 29% 28% 5% 12% 17%
Contains more Calcium +110.6%
Contains more Iron +271.2%
Contains more Magnesium +276.2%
Contains more Potassium +76.6%
Contains more Zinc +29.3%
Contains more Copper +165.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +34.7%
Contains less Sodium -58.2%

Health Impact

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

Broccoli and spinach have a wide range of qualities beneficial for maintaining a healthy and active body. From these are the following:

  • Cancer prevention (3, 4)
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits (5, 6)
  • Digestive support, as mentioned previously, might also 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 promote eye health, as they help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. The following are the nutritional benefits associated with the 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)

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
Education: Food Blogger
Last updated: April 24, 2021
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian

Infographic

Spinach 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.
Spinach Broccoli
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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Spinach Broccoli Opinion
Net carbs 1.43g 4.04g Broccoli
Protein 2.86g 2.82g Spinach
Fats 0.39g 0.37g Spinach
Carbs 3.63g 6.64g Broccoli
Calories 23kcal 34kcal Broccoli
Starch g 0g Broccoli
Fructose 0.15g 0.68g Broccoli
Sugar 0.42g 1.7g Spinach
Fiber 2.2g 2.6g Broccoli
Calcium 99mg 47mg Spinach
Iron 2.71mg 0.73mg Spinach
Magnesium 79mg 21mg Spinach
Phosphorus 49mg 66mg Broccoli
Potassium 558mg 316mg Spinach
Sodium 79mg 33mg Broccoli
Zinc 0.53mg 0.41mg Spinach
Copper 0.13mg 0.049mg Spinach
Vitamin A 9377IU 623IU Spinach
Vitamin E 2.03mg 0.78mg Spinach
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 28.1mg 89.2mg Broccoli
Vitamin B1 0.078mg 0.071mg Spinach
Vitamin B2 0.189mg 0.117mg Spinach
Vitamin B3 0.724mg 0.639mg Spinach
Vitamin B5 0.065mg 0.573mg Broccoli
Vitamin B6 0.195mg 0.175mg Spinach
Folate 194µg 63µg Spinach
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 482.9µg 101.6µg Spinach
Tryptophan 0.039mg 0.033mg Spinach
Threonine 0.122mg 0.088mg Spinach
Isoleucine 0.147mg 0.079mg Spinach
Leucine 0.223mg 0.129mg Spinach
Lysine 0.174mg 0.135mg Spinach
Methionine 0.053mg 0.038mg Spinach
Phenylalanine 0.129mg 0.117mg Spinach
Valine 0.161mg 0.125mg Spinach
Histidine 0.064mg 0.059mg Spinach
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.063g 0.039g Broccoli
Monounsaturated Fat 0.01g 0.011g Broccoli
Polyunsaturated fat 0.165g 0.038g Spinach

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

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
181
Spinach
65
Broccoli
Mineral Summary Score
41
Spinach
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
17%
Spinach
17%
Broccoli
Carbohydrates
4%
Spinach
7%
Broccoli
Fats
2%
Spinach
2%
Broccoli

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)

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. Spinach - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168462/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.