17 August, 2011
The Difference in Nutrients Between Collard Greens and Spinach
Leafy green vegetables deserve a place in your diet because they contain so many essential vitamins and minerals. Both collard greens and spinach are low in calories, but high in nutritional value. If you are unsure which variety of leafy green vegetables to include in your diet, comparing the nutrition of spinach versus collard greens may make that decision easier.
Adding leafy green vegetables to your daily diet is one way to increase your intake of iron. Iron is a mineral that enables your body to produce red blood cells, as well as ensure that your entire body has the oxygen it needs to function properly. A 1 cup serving of cooked spinach provides significantly more iron than 1 cup of cooked collard greens. This serving of spinach contains 6.43 mg of iron compared to the less than 1 mg present in the same amount of collard greens.
Important for strong bones and teeth, calcium is a mineral present in leafy green vegetables, including spinach and collard greens. Calcium also plays a role in the function of your hormones, nerves and muscles. One cup of cooked spinach supplies you with 245 mg of calcium. The same serving size of cooked collard greens contains less calcium, with 74 mg.
Fiber is another nutrient present in larger doses in spinach than in collard greens. Your diet should include at least 20 g of fiber per day, the Harvard School of Public Health reports. Fiber helps prevent constipation and may also help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease. A 1 cup serving of cooked spinach contains 4.2 g of fiber while the same amount of cooked collard greens only contains 0.4 g of fiber.
Your body relies on vitamin C for infection control, as well as to be an antioxidant that helps neutralize harmful free radicals. Vitamin C also promotes healthy formation of collagen, a substance required for your bones, teeth, gums and blood vessels. Both spinach and collard greens supply a healthy dose of vitamin C, but spinach contains almost double. One cup of cooked spinach has 17.6 mg of vitamin C, and 1 cup of cooked collard greens contains 9 mg.
Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes, but also plays a role in healthy skin and cells. Spinach is a vitamin A powerhouse and contains significantly more vitamin A than collard greens. A 1 cup serving of cooked spinach supplies 18,866 IU of vitamin A. One cup of cooked collard greens provides 2,109 IU of vitamin A.
- USDA Nutrient Database; Nutrient Data Laboratory
- University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow
- National Institutes of Health: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iron
- National Institutes of Health: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber: Start Roughing It!
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vitamins
- Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images