Know Your Greens

Getting To Know Your Greens: A Nutrient Content Comparison Face-Off

Knowing your greens is an essential tool for maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet, because there’s more to your greens than meets the eye.

Just as the color green comes in different shades, saturation, and hues, so does the green on our plate, grocery list, and menu. Here are a few cases that show a comparative analysis of similar greens that, upon closer investigation, have vital distinguishing factors you should keep in mind before you choose.

Zucchini vs. Cucumber
  • First off, cucumbers are usually eaten raw, while zucchinis are cooked—preferably roasted or lightly sautéed.
  • Although there isn’t much difference in their carb and fat content, a cup of zucchini has .5 grams more protein and dietary fiber than a cup of cucumber.
  • The zucchini also has more vitamin C and B6 compared to the cucumber. A cup provides about 27% of Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA, while a cup of the latter accounts for less than 5% RDA.
  • As for minerals, a cup of zucchini provides 6% RDA of potassium while cucumber only provides half that. 
The Verdict: Although both stand relatively equal in iron and calcium content and are both low in sodium, the zucchini definitely has more of the essential nutrients.

Broccoli vs. Cauliflower 
  • Both greens stand equal as rich sources of essential vitamins and minerals necessary to fight disease and maintain proper physiological activity. Each is chock full of folate, choline, vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. 
  • Both are especially rich in potassium, essential for metabolism, blood pressure, and neural activity. 
  • Broccoli and cauliflower are rich in the antioxidant and immune-boosting vitamin C, with broccoli leading the cauliflower by more than 8%.
  • However, broccoli is packed with the equally immune boosting antioxidant vitamin A; it provides 60% of RDA, while cauliflower gives you next to zilch. 
The Verdict: Broccoli wins with more vitamin C and being the one with lots of vitamin A!

Spinach vs. Lettuce
  • Spinach has over twice as much protein and almost twice as much in fiber content compared to lettuce.
  • In the mineral department, spinach still leads by possessing five times more iron, eight times more magnesium, and 2 ½ times more phosphorus and potassium.
  • Furthermore, in other factors, the spinach still triumphs with seven times more vitamin C, four times more folate, and a whopping 20 times more vitamin A!
The Verdict: By a landslide, the victor is… obviously the spinach!

Always remember to run vegetables under tap water for at least 30 seconds while rubbing them in order to remove potentially harmful trace residues from pesticides. It's also useful to know that cooking may destroy the fundamental vitamin and mineral content mentioned above, so enjoy your greens raw, steamed, or half-cooked to benefit most from these healthy foods!
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