Do you ever go to your blog’s stats page to see what words or sentences people search for and end up coming to your blog? I do. And one sentence/question that shows up often is the difference between spinach and arugula.
Interesting, I thought. So I decided to research these two delicious leafy green vegetables to find out what the difference in their nutrition is.
Arugula’s scientific name is Eruca sativa, and it’s an annual plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. Other names of arugula are rocket, garden rocket, eruca, and rocket salad. I’m not sure how popular or available arugula is in the US. I found it in some Northern Virginia stores and farmers markets, but not all.
The scientific name of spinach is Spinacia oleracea. From what I remember from my middle school biology classes, if two plants have different “first” and “last” names, then they are two unrelated plants. It’s native to central and southwest Asia, but anyone who heard of the 2006 e.coli outbreak and 2007 salmonella outbreak knows that spinach is widely grown in the US.
Spinach leaves are heavier, thicker, and more dense than arugula leaves. They are also darker in color. For the same weight (100 grams is what I used in the table below), spinach fills less volume; 3.5 cups vs. 5 cups for arugula. The calorie, protein, and fiber content of both vegetables is similar, but the vitamins and minerals tip the scale towards spinach–except for calcium. Spinach has more vitamin A, C, K, folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
|Spinach—3.5 cups||Arugula—5 cups|
|Calories||23 kcal||25 kcal|
|Fiber||2 g||2 g|
|Protein||3 g||3 g|
|Vitamin A||56 %||47 %|
|Vitamin C||47 %||25 %|
|Vitamin K||604 %||136 %|
|Folate (vitamin B 9)||49 %||24 %|
|Potassium||16 %||11 %|
|Magnesium||20 %||12 %|
|Manganese||45 %||16 %|
|Calcium||10 %||16 %|
|Iron||15 %||8 %|
I wasn’t too surprised to find out that spinach is more nutrient dense. It confirms the general advice that the deeper the color of the vegetable the healthier.
That wouldn’t deter me from eating arugula. It still is a healthy vegetable. Plus, there’s always the taste factor. If you like it, eat it. I like to mix both in salads; they look good together. Arugula and spinach are also good in pasta dishes.
Have a great Monday!