When it comes to eating leafy greens, spinach and arugula are two of the most popular choices. But, is there a clear winner when it comes to the health benefits of arugula vs spinach?
Let’s be real, all leafy greens are super healthy. After doing the comparing, you will see how it is difficult to say one is healthier than the other – but we do! Let’s take a closer look at these two and see if you agree.
Both spinach and arugula are types of cruciferous vegetables. They belong to the Brassicaceae family, which is a type of flowering plant known as a crucifer. Other cruciferous vegetables you might be familiar with are cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and radishes.
Clearly, you’ll get the most health benefits from eating a balanced diet. This includes as many different kinds of vegetables, as possible. Eating a variety is an important part of a healthy diet.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the health benefits of spinach vs arugula. We will see what the key differences are, and if one comes out a little more beneficial than the other.
Arugula Vs Spinach Nutritional Value
Like all vegetables and leafy greens, in terms of nutrition, spinach, and arugula are both highly nutritious. There is absolutely a positive effect to be had from eating either or both of these.
When it comes to nutrient density, spinach, and arugula are both good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, plus iron, calcium, and dietary fiber. They also have healthy amounts of folate, magnesium, and potassium.
Health Benefits of Arugula vs Spinach
Since arugula and spinach have very similar nutritional profiles, they also have very similar health benefits.
Both are good sources of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which in addition to their nutrition profiles we talked about above, can have really great effects on your overall health.
We’ll get into a detailed comparison of the two down below, but first, let’s talk about what these super healthy leafy greens can do to benefit your health overall.
When it comes to heart health, arugula and spinach both have great benefits! Spinach and arugula are high in folate. Folate helps reduce the amino acid that is linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Plus, the antioxidants in spinach and arugula help protect the cells of the body from damage and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, they are both high in potassium and nitrate, which helps to reduce high blood pressure.
Spinach and arugula contain compounds that can help fight cancer. Spinach is high in antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative damage that can lead to cancer.
Arugula has antioxidants too, but also contains compounds like sulforaphane, which can help reduce cancer cell growth. Both spinach and arugula are also high in fiber, which can help reduce the risk of cancer in the colon by keeping the digestive system moving properly.
Spinach and arugula are rich in magnesium, which has been shown to play a role in improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation. Also, their antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress, a risk factor for diabetes.
Plus, vitamin K, which spinach and arugula both have, has been linked to improved insulin sensitivity.
Spinach and arugula are good sources of fiber. Fiber can help keep you feeling full longer and reduce the amount of calories you consume.
These leafy greens are also low in calories, so they can be a great addition to a diet to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
Plus, spinach and arugula are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These can help boost your metabolism, and that’s going to give you more energy and help with weight loss too!
Chronic Lifestyle Diseases
The health issues listed above are lifestyle diseases that spinach and arugula can contribute to preventing and even reversing.
They can’t do it all on their own, you need a well-balanced diet.
Other chronic lifestyle diseases that these leafy greens can contribute good things to are asthma, dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis.
Spinach and arugula are both nutrient-dense leafy greens that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Their high amounts of dietary fiber help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, helping to reverse or prevent chronic lifestyle diseases. The folate helps protect against stroke and other heart diseases.
The antioxidants in spinach and arugula have been shown to reduce inflammation, and that reduces the risk of all types of chronic disease.
On top of all that, the high amounts of vitamins A, C, and E in these leafy greens help to protect against oxidative damage and improve overall health.
Comparison of Health Benefits
Okay, if we had to choose an overall winner for health, we would choose spinach. Both of these leafy greens are great, and they work well for different uses and for different health benefits.
Just because spinach is the winner overall doesn’t mean arugula shouldn’t have a place in your diet.
Here’s a breakdown of why spinach took the win in this comparison.
Spinach and arugula contain very similar amounts of minerals. Both are pretty high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Spinach is richer in magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, choline, and selenium.
Arugula is higher in the amount of calcium it contains and phosphorus. Plus, it is lower in sodium.
On the other hand, when it comes to vitamin content, there’s a clear winner, and that winner is spinach.
Spinach has considerably higher levels of all vitamins, other than vitamin B5, which arugula has much high amounts of than spinach does. Spinach takes the nutritional benefits category win.
When it comes to antioxidants, spinach, and arugula are both loaded with them. They have slightly different antioxidant components, but they are still pretty similar in their health effects.
Spinach is packed with carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative stress.
Arugula is also high in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as beta-carotene, which helps protect the body from free radicals.
Dietary fiber content
Both spinach and arugula are also good sources of fiber.
Spinach contains 3.6 grams of fiber per cup, while arugula contains 2.5 grams of fiber per cup.
Fiber is important for digestive health, because it keeps your digestive system running smoothly. It’s also important for feeding the good bacteria in your gut.
Anything with plenty of fiber is great for your health and great for colorectal cancer prevention!
Overall health benefits
When it comes to health benefits, spinach and arugula both have a lot to offer, and either will be a good choice!
Spinach is especially good for bone health, because it contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also a good source of iron, which is important for red blood cell formation and energy production.
Arugula is also good for bone health since it has even higher amounts of calcium, plus magnesium and phosphorus. It is a good source of potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure.
How to Add Spinach and Arugula to Your Diet
These leafy green vegetables can both be used in the same ways you use lettuce. Thankfully, there are some other ways you can use them that are more creative! Here’s a list of some ways you can use both separately and together in your diet.
Spinach + Arugula
- Salad greens: The mix of baby or regular spinach and arugula actually makes a really great salad base flavor-wise and is also a lot healthier than regular lettuce.
- Sandwiches or wraps: These make the perfect opportunity to blend the health benefits of spinach and arugula for a boost of great nutrition and a healthier alternative to lettuce.
It is said spinach is slightly healthier eaten cooked, because it’s easier to absorb its rich iron that way. However, it’s very healthy eaten raw or cooked.
- Salad greens: A spinach salad is a tasty and super healthy salad!
- Smoothies: Spinach has a milder flavor than many other greens, so you can add spinach powder to smoothies and get a huge nutritional boost without even tasting it in the smoothie!
- Cook it in a dish: Cooked spinach adds so much to so many different types of dishes. Pasta, sautéed veggies, casseroles, omelets, pizza, and more all work great with added spinach!
- Toasts: Raw or cooked spinach makes a great addition to toasts like hummus and balsamic vinegar or hummus with sautéed spinach and mushrooms.
Did you know arugula is said to be a little healthier if you eat it raw? This is because it’s high levels of vitamin C can be reduced if it’s cooked.
Arugula is usually better raw anyway, but either way, you eat it will have health benefits!
- Salad greens: Fresh arugula as a salad base on its own works well!
- Cooked dishes: Arugula is great served raw, folded up in a fresh, hot omelet, or served as a little side of arugula greens with fresh lemon juice on top.
- Smoothies: Like spinach leaves, the flavor of arugula is also a mild flavor that can easily go unnoticed in a smooth. Or it’s a great addition to green juice because it has a nice crispy, fresh flavor that goes really well with lemon and cucumber.
- Toasts: Raw arugula leaves are great on avocado toast, hummus toast, or feta and balsamic toast.
Final thoughts on arugula vs spinach
Overall, both of these green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of nutrition. They are packed with antioxidants and fiber with all sorts of health benefits!
Spinach may come out ever so slightly ahead of arugula, but if you’re looking for a nutrient-dense leafy green, both spinach and arugula are great choices.
Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:
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