Cabbage vs Spinach: Which is Better? let’s Compare

Cabbage and spinach are two popular leafy greens. Many people wonder if one is better than the other.

Spinach is better than cabbage due to its higher percentage of protein, B vitamins and minerals. Also, spinach provides more vitamin A and vitamin K per 100 grams. In an online taste test spinach was found to have the better taste.

This article will compare their nutrients, taste, texture, prices and glycemic indexes.

Cabbage vs Spinach Comparison

Spinach on the left and cabbage on the right.
Spinach on the left and cabbage on the right

They are various types of cabbage. For the purpose of this article, I will compare green cabbage which is the most common and widely available in any store.

During my health coaching sessions many clients ask about leafy greens, including cabbage and spinach. I consume both of them almost daily. For these reasons I have researched this topic in the past and during the same time I’m writing this article. Therefore, let’s compare the two.

Cabbage and spinach are both leafy green vegetables but are from different species and cultivar groups. Green cabbage grows in tight, spherical heads while spinach grows in loose leaves. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable but spinach is not.

Nutrition Comparison

The following table compares the nutrients contained per 100 grams.

 Spinach, raw (100 g)Green Cabbage, raw (100 g)
Calories2325
Protein2.86 g0.96 g
Carbohydrates3.63 g6.38 g
Fiber2.2 g2.5 g
Fat0.39 g0.23 g
Sugar0.42 g3.20 g
Vitamin A9,380 IU98 IU
Beta-carotene5,630 mcg42 mcg
Vitamin C28.1 mg40.3 mg
Vitamin K483 mcg59 mcg
Vitamin D0 IU0 IU
Vitamin B60.19 mg0.14 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)194 mcg43 mcg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.08 mg0.06 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.19 mg0.04 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.72 mg0.23 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)0.07 mg0.21 mg
Magnesium79 mg 14 mg
Phosphorous49 mg 27 mg
Potassium558 mg207 mg
Iron2.71 mg0.47 mg
Copper0.13 mg0.02 mg
Calcium99 mg42 mg
Zinc0.53 mg0.21 mg
Spinach and cabbage nutrient comparison.

Nutrient Resources12

As per the USDA, one cup of spinach is approximately 30 grams.

Both greens are nutrient dense. At first glance it may be difficult to determine which is better for nutrients.

Spinach is better than green cabbage because it provides more protein, vitamin A, vitamin K, B6, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, calcium and zinc.

Green cabbage is healthy also and provides more of the following:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • B5

I mostly consume spinach due to its better nutrients. If spinach is unavailable I’ll use other leafy greens like kale. It’s good to alternate foods to take advantage of both their benefits.

Which to Choose?

Choosing one food or the other may depend on your particular goals. This section will examine the four most popular goals and determine which of the two leafy greens is better for them.

Gluten Free

This goal is an easy one to determine. For people who have celiac disease, whether one food contains gluten will automatically make the decision which to choose.

Some people prefer following a gluten free diet, therefore it’s important also. Let’s answer which one of the two greens is gluten free.

Spinach and cabbage are gluten free. Therefore, both foods are good options for a gluten free diet.

Spinach salad with walnuts and oranges.
Spinach salad with walnuts and oranges

Keto Diets or Low-carb

If you’re considering one of these diets or currently consuming low-carb foods, the number of carbs may make a huge difference in your choice. Therefore, let’s examine which one has more carbohydrates.

Green cabbage has 6.38 grams of carbohydrates, and spinach has 3.63 per 100 grams. Spinach provides 43% fewer carbohydrates per 100 grams making it better for low-carb diets.

Weight Loss

The number of calories per serving matters a whole bunch if weight loss is the goal. Let’s examine how many calories per serving each of the greens contain.

  • Spinach has 23 calories, and cabbage has 25 calories per 100 grams.

The difference is minimal and choosing one over the other for losing weight may not make much of a difference. Although when counting calories every little bit may help as the total is calculated for the day.

Bodybuilding

If gaining lean muscle mass is your goal then the amount of protein may matter to you.

Any extra protein helps to build and repair muscle after putting them through a good workout. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at which is better for bodybuilding.

Spinach is better than cabbage for bodybuilding due to its higher percentage of protein. It provides 2.86 grams of protein per 100 grams while cabbage only has 0.96 grams. This equals almost 200% more protein per 100 grams.

Shredded cabbage.
Shredded cabbage

Taste and Texture

Let’s face it, if someone doesn’t like the way a leafy green tastes, they will probably leave it in the store bin. Therefore, let’s examine how the taste and texture of each vegetable compares.

Green cabbage has a slight hint of bitter taste when raw compared to the slightly milder spinach. Cooked cabbage loses the bitterness and tastes milder and sweeter, similar to spinach. Both of their leaves have a similar texture, although cabbage is crunchier, when raw and both wilt when cooked.

I wanted to conduct original research and get the opinion of real people like you. So I reached out to some of my clients, readers and members of food groups and asked, which of the two greens taste better,?

  • 49% said they preferred the taste of spinach.
  • 42% said they preferred the taste of cabbage.
  • 9% said it depended on their mood.

To conduct more original research, I setup a blind taste test at home which consisted of me and three other people. We tried both which were chopped up into similar size leaves to avoid simple detection. Two out of four chose the spinach for its better taste.

In the battle of taste, spinach had a slight win in my poll and both were even at home.

Substituting

Sometimes people want to substitute one for the other due to taste, price or availability. This makes some people wonder if they can substitute one for the other.

Due to their similar tastes and textures, cabbage and spinach can substitute for each other in recipes raw or cooked. When substituting, use a one to one ratio for raw or cooked dishes.

The Prices

The price of foods purchased every week is important to most people, especially with inflation the way it is. Let’s take a close look at how much each one costs.

The price for fresh spinach costs more than green cabbage. The average price for fresh spinach $2.56 per pound. The average price for green cabbage is $1.12 per pound.

To conduct my own original research, I visited my local supermarket and compared the prices. It’s a little difficult to compare them because cabbage is typically sold in a head while spinach is sold as leaves.

Here are my findings.

I checked ShopRite:

  • Green cabbage
    • One 3.5 lb. head was $3.12. This equals $1.12 per pound.
  • Spinach
    • 12 ounce spinach bunch was $1.87. Equals $2.56 per pound
checking leafy green prices at my local supermarket
Checking leafy green lettuce prices at my local supermarket

Glycemic Indexes

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood3.

Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:

  • Low-GI foods: 55 or under
  • Medium-GI foods: 56-69
  • High-GI foods: 70 or over

How blood sugars levels are affected:

  • Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.

Let’s examine which leafy green has a higher glycemic index.

Cabbage and spinach have low glycemic indexes and are considered low GI foods. Either food is a good choice avoiding many blood sugar spikes.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read More Spinach Articles

Basil vs Spinach

Kale vs Spinach: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Spinach vs Broccoli: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Kale vs Spinach Benefits

  1. USDA: Spinach, raw []
  2. USDA: Cabbage, green, raw []
  3. Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods []

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