Spinach vs. Iceberg Lettuce – What’s the Difference? (ANSWERED)

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spinach vs iceberg lettuce

Have you ever asked yourself Iceberg lettuce versus spinach, what’s the difference? If you have, then prepare to be educated. In this article, we will look at:

  • What are the differences between spinach and iceberg lettuce?
  • Taste differences between iceberg lettuce and spinach.
  • How spinach and iceberg lettuce compare nutritionally. 
  • Is spinach better than iceberg lettuce?

Let’s begin.

What’s the Difference between Spinach vs. Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. Capitata ‘Iceberg’) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) are both common greens enjoyed for their crisp texture and mild tastes. Beyond these superficial similarities, though, they are very different, and one has definite advantages over the other. 

Appearance and Cultivation

cabbage like appearance

Spinach and Iceberg are cool-weather crops that grow best in temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in well-drained soil with a neutral to mildly acidic pH (6.0-7.0). 

Smooth leaf, the most common type of spinach, has dark green, elliptical, or triangular leaves that grow from a central root point. Iceberg lettuce leaves are frilly, much lighter in color, and they grow to form a rosette or head, much like cabbage in appearance.

Health Benefits 

The most significant differences in spinach and Iceberg lettuce emerge when looking at their nutritional content and health benefits. 

Iceberg Lettuce is higher in:

  • The antioxidant alpha-carotene
  • Apigenin, a bioflavonoid compound that helps alleviate stress.
  • Pantothenic acid

Spinach is higher in:

  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Amino acids
  • Kaempferol

The nutritional differences make spinach much healthier overall. 

While Iceberg lettuce’s main claim to fame is its very low-calorie content, spinach has been documented to help in maintaining:

  • Brain health
  • Blood pressure
  • Eye health
  • The immune system
  • Healthy bones

Taste Differences Between Iceberg Lettuce and Spinach

iceberg lettuce taste

Spinach has a milder flavor than many popular greens like turnips or collard greens. It generally has a sweet, earthy taste that is refreshing, but the leaves can become bitter if they are allowed to get too large. 

Iceberg lettuce has a flavor that is even gentler than spinach and a little sweeter. Anything but domineering, its easy-going nature is partly responsible for its popularity. In sandwiches, salads, tacos, or any other dishes, Iceberg Lettuce tends to help blend the different tastes together and make them a whole rather than stand out. 

Nutrition Table

Per 100g Spinach Iceberg Lettuce
Calories 23 (1%DV) 14 (1% DV)
Fat 0.4g 0.1g
Carbohydrates 3.6g 3g
Protein 2.9g 0.9g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Fiber 2.2g 1.2g
Sugar 0.4g 2g
Iron 2.7mg 0.4mg
Vitamin A 469μg 25μg
Vitamin C 28.1mg 2.8mg
Vitamin B1 0.1mg 0mg
Vitamin B2 0.2mg 0mg
Vitamin B5 0.1mg 0.1mg
Vitamin B12 0 0
Biotin 0 0
Folate 194μg 29μg
Vitamin E 2mg 0.2mg
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin K 482.9μg 24.1μg
Vitamin K1 0 0

Is Spinach Better Than Iceberg Lettuce?

spinach tofu stir fry

To everything, there is a season. Iceberg Lettuce might have a slight edge because of its milder flavor as a base for a salad or adding a little crunch to a sandwich. In every other way, spinach is superior.

Spinach is more versatile and can be served cooked, dried, or fresh, while Iceberg only lends itself to being eaten raw or wilted. Spinach is higher in every nutritional category and has many health benefits that Iceberg can’t claim. 

For these and many other reasons, we would have to say spinach is better overall. The question is, why choose one when they are delicious eaten together.