large bowl of spinach salad with chicken and pomegranate

I love having salad for lunch. It’s a great way to control my daily carb intake. However, when most people think of salads, thoughts of lettuce come to mind. I prefer spinach, and this article is going to break down the differences between spinach vs lettuce. It’s my hope that this article will:

  1. Provide useful information about spinach
  2. Present you with some new ideas for salads
  3. Inspire you to create your own salad recipes and share them

For the sake of this article I will be comparing spinach to iceberg lettuce since it is the most common lettuce used for salads in the US.

Major Comparisons of Spinach vs Lettuce

Water g 91.58 95.89 SPINACH
Protein g 2.86 1.01 SPINACH
Fiber g 2.70 1.40 SPINACH
Calcium mg 99.00 19.00 SPINACH
Iron mg 2.71 0.50 SPINACH
Magnesium mg 79.00 9.00 SPINACH
Phosphorus mg 49.00 20.00 SPINACH
Potassium mg 558.00 158.00 SPINACH
Vitamin C mg 28.10 3.90 SPINACH
Folate mcg 194.40 56.00 SPINACH
Vitamin A, RE mcg 672.00 33.00 SPINACH

The Breakdown – Spinach vs Lettuce

Click the following links to learn more about each nutrient, mineral, and vitamin.

Water – You can see that the water content of both spinach and lettuce is relatively the same. For this comparison though, more water equals less room for other vitamins and minerals.

Protein – There is over twice as much protein in spinach compared with lettuce. To learn more about the importance of protein read my other articles Why Use Protein Powder and Protein Substitutes.

Fiber –  Prevents constipation and lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes. There is almost twice as much fiber in spinach compared with lettuce.

Calcium – Builds strong bones and prevents osteoporosis. There is five times more calcium in spinach than lettuce!

Iron – Carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. One of the most important differences between these two plants is that spinach has more than five times the amount of iron.

Magnesium – Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, keeps bones strong, regulates blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is eight times more magnesium in spinach than lettuce.

Phosphorus – Helps filter out waste in the kidneys and plays an essential role in how the body stores and uses energy. It also helps reduce muscle pain after a hard workout. Phosphorus is needed for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of the genetic building blocks DNA and RNA. There is two and a half times more phosphorus in spinach than lettuce.

Potassium – Low potassium is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility. There is two and a half times more potassium in spinach than lettuce.

Vitamin C – Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, cataracts, gout, hypertension, diabetes, and the common cold. Spinach has over seven times more vitamin C than lettuce!

Folate – A water-soluble vitamin B, helps produce and maintain new cells and is nearly four times more abundant in spinach than lettuce.

Vitamin A – Has many functions and affects vision, regulation of hormones, immunity, cell growth and development, red blood cell production, nutrient interaction. Spinach has over twenty times more Vitamin A than lettuce. Yes, you read that right, TWENTY TIMES!

There you have it! The breakdown of the major differences between spinach vs lettuce. What do you think? Is there a clear winner?


One of my personal favorite and non scientific differences between spinach and lettuce is that it seems (to me anyway) that spinach lasts three times longer in the fridge than lettuce! I don’t have anything other than my observation to back up this claim, but I noticed this difference right away several years ago when I switched over to spinach as the main portion of my salads.

An Extra Boost

I always add additional protein to my salads, usually in the form of tuna fish or chicken. However, tofu or any protein substitute will work. Also, as an extra tip, try adding raisins to your salads for an additional boost in flavor!

What are some of your favorite recipes? Please contribute in the comments section below!

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About The Author

Johnny Nasello's picture

Johnny Nasello is a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and nationally recognized expert group fitness instructor living in Portland, Oregon. Keep up with his current trainings, classes, insights, and ridiculously awesome Online Bootcamp and Yoga program at his blog


Pineapple Deficiency (not verified)

wow you converted me to start

wow you converted me to start taking spinach haha always thought they were some were similar i guess popeye was right xD

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