Which is better broccoli or spinach?

Quick Answers

Broccoli and spinach are both nutritious green vegetables that offer different health benefits. Broccoli is higher in vitamin C and fiber, while spinach contains more vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and calcium. Ultimately, both vegetables are very healthy and can be part of a balanced diet. The “better” choice depends on an individual’s nutritional needs and personal preferences.

Nutritional Profile


Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 148% of the Daily Value (DV) in just half a cup. It also contains vitamin K, potassium, folate, and fiber. Some key nutrients in half a cup of raw broccoli (44g) include:

Nutrient Amount % DV
Calories 15 1%
Fiber 1 g 4%
Vitamin C 44 mg 148%
Vitamin K 42 mcg 52%
Folate 46 mcg 12%
Potassium 230 mg 5%

Broccoli also contains glucosinolates, plant compounds that may provide cancer-fighting abilities.


Spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Some key nutrients in half a cup of raw spinach (25g) include:

Nutrient Amount % DV
Calories 6 0%
Fiber 0.5 g 2%
Vitamin A 1413 mcg RAE 157%
Vitamin K 113 mcg 141%
Folate 33 mcg 8%
Iron 1 mg 6%
Calcium 48 mg 5%

Spinach contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that may benefit eye health.

Potential Health Benefits


Some potential health benefits associated with broccoli:

Cancer prevention – Contains sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, two plant compounds with anticancer abilities. May help prevent prostate, breast, colon, and lung cancers.

Heart health – The kaempferol in broccoli is a flavonoid antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in blood vessels.

Digestion – The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins in broccoli support digestive health and regularity.

Immunity – The vitamin C content in broccoli helps support the immune system. Just half a cup of broccoli provides 148% of the DV for immune-boosting vitamin C.

Eye health – Lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants found in broccoli may help prevent macular degeneration.


Some potential health benefits associated with spinach:

Heart health – Folate helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease. The nitrates in spinach may reduce blood pressure.

Bone health – Spinach provides vitamin K, which improves calcium absorption for better bone mineralization. Also provides magnesium and calcium.

Digestion – The fiber content in spinach helps promote regularity and colon health.

Vision – Lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants in spinach reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Cancer prevention – Spinach contains chlorophyll, which animal studies show may be effective at stopping the progression of some cancers.

Brain health – Folate helps prevent buildup of homocysteine, which can damage neurons. The nitrates may boost blood flow.


Some key differences between broccoli and spinach:

– Broccoli contains more vitamin C and fiber.

– Spinach provides higher amounts of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and calcium.

– Broccoli has more folate.

– Spinach contains higher levels of antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin.

– The plant compounds in broccoli may be better for cancer prevention.

– Spinach nitrates may provide greater heart health benefits.

– Broccoli has a grassier, earthier flavor.

– Spinach has a more delicate, mild taste.

Which is Healthier?

Overall, broccoli and spinach are extremely healthy and nutritious. Both provide a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Spinach rates higher in nutrient density, providing more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants per calorie because it is lower in calories than broccoli. However, broccoli contains more fiber.

Since their nutrient profiles complement each other, eating a combination of both as part of an overall healthy diet is an excellent strategy. This provides a greater range of health benefits.

Spinach may be slightly healthier, but not by much. Broccoli can easily be part of a healthy diet as well, supplying different nutrients.

Which is Better?

When deciding which is “better” between broccoli and spinach, there are a few factors to consider:

Taste preference – This is subjective, but impacts enjoyment and likelihood of consuming more servings. Select the vegetable you personally find more appealing.

Cooking methods – Cooking can impact nutrient levels. Some key methods like steaming and roasting work well for both.

Nutrient needs – Those lacking in iron or calcium may benefit more from spinach. People looking to boost fiber or vitamin C may prefer broccoli.

Access and cost – Depending on location and season, one vegetable may be easier to find or more budget-friendly. This can make it the more practical option.

Variety – For the biggest health boost, the best approach is including both broccoli and spinach as part of a balanced diet with plenty of different vegetables.

Ultimately the “better” choice depends on individual factors like tastes, needs, and lifestyle. Both vegetables can be part of a healthy diet and provide their own set of benefits.

Tips for Serving Broccoli and Spinach

Here are some easy ways to incorporate broccoli and spinach into your diet:


– Roast florets drizzled lightly in olive oil for a healthy side dish

– Add raw broccoli florets to a salad

– Steam broccoli and add lemon juice and garlic for flavor

– Add chopped broccoli to an omelet or frittata

– Make broccoli cheddar soup for a comforting meal


– Sauté spinach with olive oil and garlic for a quick side

– Add a handful of baby spinach to a smoothie

– Make a spinach salad with berries, nuts, and a light vinaigrette

– Layer spinach leaves on sandwiches instead of lettuce

– Add spinach to scrambled eggs, omelets, and quiches


– Toss broccoli and spinach together with pasta and light dressing

– Add both to stir-fries, soups, and casseroles

– Combine in a single salad for a nutritional powerhouse combo

– Make a veggie wrap with hummus, raw spinach and broccoli florets

The Bottom Line

Broccoli and spinach are extremely nutritious vegetables that can easily coexist as part of a healthy, balanced diet. They offer complementary nutritional benefits, with broccoli providing more vitamin C and fiber, and spinach containing higher amounts of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and calcium.

The healthiest approach is to eat a diverse diet with many different vegetables. Both broccoli and spinach confer their own set of health-promoting effects. The key is to eat a variety of vegetables you enjoy on a regular basis. By combining broccoli, spinach, and other greens in your diet, you’ll get an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds that work together to provide the greatest benefits.

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