Have you been piling up weight like a triathlete during an off-season, bulking phase for the last few months? Are your hormones all over the place, or is your skin creating a mind of its own? If so, then it’s time to consider leading a healthy lifestyle.
Eating right, keeping fit, and staying hydrated are overwhelming due to various factors. But, when it comes to having a nutritious diet, green leafy vegetables are hands-down one of the best foods to consume. Leafy vegetables have several health benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Now in your quest to eat leafy vegetables, you’ve come across these two veggies: broccoli vs. spinach. Both are great superfoods due to their nutritional values and health benefits. However, it’s essential that you know their benefits or how they compare with each other in terms of nutrition.
This article will compare broccoli and spinach, focusing on their nutritional differences and health impacts. So, if you’re trying to eat right and stay healthy, then read on.
The Nutrition Value of Broccoli and Spinach
Fresh vegetables are vibrant with almost all of the nutritional principles that your body requires.
Spinach originates from Persia and belongs to the amaranth family. The nutrition facts for 100grams of uncooked spinach are;
- Proteins- 2.9 grams
- Fiber- 2.2 grams
- Calories- 22.5
- Carbs- 3.4grams
- Sugar-0.4 grams
- Fat- 0.4grams
- Potassium- 187 mg
- Iron- 0.98mg
- Iron- 0.81milligrams
spinach offers a profusion of nutritional benefits, including a good amount of fiber. One cup of cooked spinach contains 4 grams of fiber. According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should aim for 25 grams of fiber and men for 38 grams per day.
Spinach is an excellent source of several vitamins like Vitamin A, C, and K1. Vitamin A is essential for good vision. Vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful substances in the blood called free radicals.
K acts as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage from free radicals.
Potassium is one of four electrolytes critical to human health, along with sodium, chloride, and carbon dioxide. Adequate intake of potassium is essential for good health. Potassium helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, supports muscle function, facilitates regular heart activity, keeps nerves functioning properly, and promotes kidney function.
Carbs are a type of nutrient that your body uses for energy. There are two types of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, include ingredients such as glucose or fructose (honey).
Complex carbohydrate sources like spinach contain starch and dietary fiber.
Spinach contains plant compounds such as kaempferol, nitrates, zeaxanthin, quercetin, and lutein. These chemical compounds help fight a variety of diseases.
Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family that originated from Northern Europe and Asia Minor. The nutrition facts for 92 grams of broccoli are;
- Proteins- 2.5 grams
- Fiber- 2.4 grams
- Fat- 0.4 grams
- Calories- 32
- Carbs- Of which sugars- 0.98 grams and starch –0,88 grams
- Potassium- 288mg
- Vitamin C- 45 mg
- Iron- 0.59mg
- Water- 89%
Raw broccoli contains 2.57gms per cup, which is 16% of your daily protein requirement. It also includes all the essential amino acids needed for good health.
Broccoli has a high fiber content of about 27 grams per cup. Eating more fiber can help you lose weight by keeping you full and satisfied longer, thereby reducing caloric intake at meals. Fiber also helps digestion by normalizing bowel movements and relieving constipation.
Raw broccoli contains 6 grams of carbs. It mainly consists of sugar, starch, fiber. The sugars found in broccoli include glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc.- which means that it is a heart-healthy food choice.
Broccoli must be bursting with vitamins because it contains a wide variety of them. Vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium are all found in broccoli. It also has vitamins A & E, which helps your body fight heart disease, cancer, hypertension, etc.
Calcium is an essential mineral found in broccoli that acts as a co-factor for various enzymes. It also plays vital roles like improving nerve transmission & muscle contraction while promoting bone health by increasing osteoblast activity (bone-building cells) to help reduce osteoporosis.
Broccoli is generous in various antioxidants and plant compounds. They include;
- Sulforaphane: This is a sulfur compound that contains anti-cancer properties.
- Indoles and glucosinolates: These compounds are responsible for broccoli’s cancer-fighting ability as they help regulate enzymes in the body, which may prevent tumors from developing.
- Kaempferol: This is a flavonoid that may help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer.
- Diindolylmethane: This compound, primarily when absorbed from broccoli sprouts, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties as well.
- Quercetin: The antioxidant lowers inflammation in the body, helps with circulation, and reduces allergy symptoms.
Health Benefits of Spinach
There are several health benefits of spinach. They include;
Lutein, a compound found in spinach and other green vegetables, is essential for eye health and vision. Lutein accumulates in the retina of your eyes to protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a leading cause of blindness in older adults. Studies show that eating foods rich in lutein may reduce the risk of AMD by as much as 24%.
Nitrates, a chemical compound found in spinach and other green vegetables, are associated with lower blood pressure levels. Researchers have proposed that dietary nitrate supplementation can reduce hypertension risk due to its ability to relax the artery walls.
Spinach contains antioxidant nutrients that help fight free radicals and cell damage. According to the American Cancer Society, these antioxidants may inhibit cancer development by preventing or slowing the oxidative damage linked to carcinogens.
Spinach contains tryptophan which performs as an antidepressant by increasing serotonin production in your body. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps elevate your mood.
Spinach contains minerals like calcium, copper, iron, and magnesium, essential for good health. Iron is required to produce hemoglobin in our body, while other minerals facilitate bone formation. It also plays a crucial role in muscle function, nerve conduction, cell communication, and oxygen transportation.
Spinach is a nutrient-dense food that can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller and reducing your appetite. The high fiber content of spinach fills up the stomach quickly and reduces caloric intake, thereby promoting satiety (feeling full) without increasing fat storage in the body.
It also contains glucomannan, a prebiotic fiber that helps reduce your appetite by slowing the rate of food leaving the stomach and making you feel full for longer.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli comes with tons of benefits, which include;
Broccoli has antioxidants and plant compounds that protect against various cancers, including prostate, ovarian, bladder, pancreatic cancer, etc.
Broccoli helps prevent cardiovascular diseases by reducing the harmful cholesterol levels in your blood. It also reduces inflammation in the body, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Broccoli also helps prevent eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
Broccolis have loads of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production in the body for healthy, glowing skin. It can help reduce fine lines, improve the elasticity of the skin & fight sun damage too!
Broccoli is low in calories and carbs. It also promotes satiety which can help you eat less throughout the day. Eating broccoli can boost weight loss efforts by helping you feel full longer.
There is a link between type II diabetes and obesity, thus eating foods that promote weight loss or maintaining healthy body weights can help prevent type II diabetes. Broccoli helps regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic patients by slowing down carbohydrate absorption.
Mood & Sleep
Broccoli can also improve mood and reduce stress by providing magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant that enhances various psychiatric conditions like depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, etc.
Broccoli vs. spinach, it’s a tough choice. Both vegetables are essential to your diet and health, but broccoli has the upper hand with its high nutrient content. So eat well & stay healthy!
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