FOODS     TOOLS     ABOUT        

Kale vs Broccoli: Which is Better?

Published: September 29, 2018


Kale and broccoli are botanically closely related as they are both members of the Brassica family. They are also both known to contain plenty of vital nutrients and health-protecting phytochemicals. But when it comes to providing nutrients and warding off disease, which one is better, kale or broccoli? To find out, let's put these two nutrient-dense green leafy vegetables side by side for a fair comparison!

In addition to comparing the nutritional value and potential health benefits of kale versus broccoli, we will also be looking at the side effects, culinary uses, and availability of these two powerhouse vegetables.


The following Kale vs Broccoli comparison chart shows you how much nutrients each contains in its raw, uncooked form. A value in bold means that a 100-gram serving of kale/broccoli covers at least 20 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for the nutrient in question.

Nutrient (per 100 g)KaleBroccoli
Protein4.28 g2.82 g
Fat0.93 g0.37 g
Carbohydrates8.75 g6.64 g
Fiber3.6 g2.6 g
Calcium150 mg47 mg
Iron1.47 mg0.73 mg
Copper1.499 mg0.049 mg
Manganese0.659 mg0.21 mg
Magnesium47 mg21 mg
Potassium491 mg316 mg
Vitamin A500 RAE31 RAE
Vitamin C120 mg89 mg
Vitamin K705 mcg102 mcg
Thiamin0.11 mg0.071 mg
Riboflavin0.13 mg0.117 mg
Niacin1.00 mg0.639 mg
Vitamin B60.271 mg0.175 mg
Folate (B9)141 mcg63 mcg

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28

Looking at the chart, it is easy to see why kale has been promoted to superfood status. This green leafy vegetable is an excellent source of manganese, copper, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K, with a 100-gram serving (3.5 ounces) of fresh kale providing more than 20 percent of the Daily Value for each of these nutrients. What's more, kale is loaded with beta-carotene, which is a pre-cursor to vitamin A, and it contains appreciable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.

Like kale, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. It is also a fairly good source of pantothenic acid, folate and vitamin B6. Overall, however, the nutritional merits of broccoli are clearly less impressive than those of kale.

Health Benefits

Not only are kale and broccoli rich in nutrients, they also provide health-protecting phytochemicals. Scientists believe that eating Brassica vegetables like kale or broccoli may help reduce your risk of developing cancer because they contain phytochemicals called glucosinolates. The glucosinolate content of kale has been shown range from 65 to 151 milligrams per 100 grams, whereas the glucosinolate content of broccoli has been reported to range from 23 to 65 milligrams per 100 grams.

While glucosinolates themselves have limited biological activity, they can be converted into isothiocyanates in the presence of an enzyme called myrosinase. Isothiocyanates have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells and to promote their self-destruction in laboratory studies.

It is worth noting, though, that cooking is quite effective at destroying myrosinase, so if your goal is to up your intake of isothiocyanates, you might want to start introducing raw Brassica vegetables into your diet. Both kale and broccoli can be eaten raw.

Side Effects

Brassica vegetables like kale and broccoli have goitrogenic properties, which means that they can act as thyroid antagonists. Therefore, people who suffer from hypothyroidism or related health problems might have to limit the consumption of foods like kale and broccoli, or at least cook them thoroughly because cooking makes Brassica vegetables less goitrogenic.

Furthermore, kale and broccoli can cause digestive problems such as excess gas, and if you are planning to add kale or broccoli to your diet, it is best to do it gradually so your digestive system has time to adjust.

Culinary Uses

Some of the best ways to use kale include using marinated kale leaves as a pizza topping, making tasty kale smoothies by blending young kale leaves with fruits, turning fresh kale leaves into nutrient-dense kale chips, and incorporating finely chopped kale into omelets and muffin batters. If you have a juicer that is suitable for processing greens like kale or spinach, you could also try making some super-healthy kale juice.

Like kale, broccoli can be cooked and eaten in many different ways. For example, broccoli florets can be grilled, steamed or eaten raw in salads, and they can even be used a substitute for basil in pesto recipes. There are also tons of recipes that make use of broccoli stems, so you can stop throwing those woody stems into the compost pile! You can, for example, cook and purée them to make cream of broccoli soup, spiralize them and use as a low-carb substitute for pasta, or sneak them into green smoothies.


Both kale and broccoli are available year-round at supermarkets. What's more, you may be able to find kale powder right next to other "superfood" powders like camu camu or baobab powder at your local health food store. Kale powder, which can be incorporated into everything from smoothies and soups to omelets and muffins, may be a good option for some people because it takes up less storage space in the kitchen than fresh or frozen kale.


  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28
  2. R. Verkerk et a l (2009). Glucosinolates in Brassica vegetables: The influence of the food supply chain on intake, bioavailability and human health. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2009 Sep;53 Suppl 2:S219.
  3. V. Rungapamestry et al (2007). Effect of cooking Brassica vegetables on the subsequent hydrolysis and metabolic fate of glucosinolates. Proceedings of The Nutrition Society, 66(1):69-81.

Brassica CookbookBOOK YOU MAY LIKE

Are you looking to incorporate more kale or broccoli into your diet but need more ideas on how to cook and eat these healthy veggies? In Brassicas: Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables, recipe developer Laura Russell teaches you how to bring out the wonderful flavors of Brassica vegetables like kale and broccoli without burying them under unhealthy ingredients like cheese. To learn more about this inspiring cookbook, or to order a copy on Amazon, click here (affiliate link).