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Moringa vs Spinach: Which is Better?

Moringa or Spinach

Both moringa and spinach are nutrient-dense leaves that have been associated with a wide range of health benefits. But which one is better, moringa or spinach, when it comes to supplying your body with vital nutrients and warding off disease? To give you a clearer picture of these two nutritional powerhouses, let's put moringa and spinach side by side for a fair comparison.

Nutritional Value of Moringa vs Spinach

Moringa contains plenty of magnesium, calcium, copper, niacin and folate. What's more, it is an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B6 and pro-vitamin A, with a 100-gram serving of fresh moringa leaves providing more than 20 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for each of these six nutrients.

Moringa is also packed with iron: a 100-gram serving of moringa leaves provides a whopping 4 milligrams of iron (or 22% of the DV). For the sake of comparison, an equal-sized serving of spinach, which is often promoted as a good source of plant-based iron, contains 2.7 milligrams of this important mineral. It is worth noting, though, that just like the iron in spinach, the iron in moringa leaves is so-called non-heme iron which is not as well absorbed by your body as the heme form. The good news is that eating plant-based sources of iron, such as moringa or spinach, together with vitamin C rich foods like camu camu or baobab can help increase iron absorption.

Given its high nutritional value, it is not surprising that moringa has been lauded as a superfood. But did you know that spinach is supercharged with many of the same nutrients as moringa, which makes you wonder why there aren't more headlines touting spinach as a superfood. A 100-gram serving of raw spinach provides more than 20 percent of Daily Value for manganese, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K, and it is a pretty good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, too.

The Moringa vs Spinach comparison chart below shows how much nutrients each of these green superfoods contains in their raw, uncooked form. A value in bold means that a 100-gram serving the food covers at least 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for the nutrient in question.

Nutrient (per 100 g)Moringa, rawSpinach, raw
Protein9.4 g2.86 g
Fat1.4 g0.39 g
Carbohydrates8.28 g3.63 g
Fiber2 g2.2 g
Calcium185 mg99 mg
Iron4 mg2.71 mg
Magnesium42 mg79 mg
Potassium337 mg558 mg
Vitamin A378 RAE469 RAE
Vitamin C51.7 mg28.1 mg
Vitamin Kn/a482.9 mcg
Thiamin0.257 mg0.078 mg
Riboflavin0.66 mg0.189 mg
Niacin2.22 mg0.724 mg
Vitamin B61.2 mg0.195 mg
Folate (B9)40 mcg194 mcg

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

To sum up, moringa and spinach are quite similar in terms of nutritional composition: both contain significant amounts of magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, vitamin C, several B vitamins, and pro-vitamin A. The most notable difference is that ounce for ounce, moringa appears to be a better source of most of these nutrients than spinach. For example, moringa contains more iron, manganese, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6 than spinach. However, when it comes to carotenoids (pro-vitamin A), folate, magnesium and potassium, spinach is clearly the winner.

Potential Health Benefits

There has been a lot of buzz about how moringa might help you lose weight, and many dieters are now turning to moringa tea hoping it will help them shed off extra pounds. However, there have been no large clinical trials assessing the efficacy of moringa leaves or moringa tea as a weight loss aid in humans, but animal studies do suggest that moringa extracts may have some weight loss promoting and insulin resistance fighting properties.

Other potential health benefits of moringa include anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. These benefits have been largely attributed to the high nutritional value of moringa and to the glucosinolates found in moringa leaves. While glucosinolates themselves do not offer many health benefits, they are easily converted into isothiocyanates which have been extensively researched for their anti-cancer properties.

So, moringa clearly has a lot going for it in terms of health benefits, but so does spinach. For example, a high intake of spinach has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness in adults. The protective effect of spinach against this degenerative disease is thought to be linked to the high carotenoid content of spinach.

What's more, raw, uncooked spinach appears to have exceptionally strong bile acid binding capacity, which means spinach might help keep your cholesterol levels in check. Furthermore, diets enriched with spinach have been shown to reduce neurodegenerative changes and damage from ischemic stroke in animals.

Incorporating Moringa or Spinach into Your Diet

One important difference between moringa and spinach is that moringa is cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas, whereas spinach can be grown almost anywhere in the world. In countries where fresh moringa is not readily available, superfood fans can buy moringa powder at well-stocked health food stores or online (you can buy moringa powder on Amazon here).

Moringa powder is a versatile ingredient, and there are tons of tasty recipes that use moringa powder. Some great ways to incorporate moringa powder into your diet include adding it to green smoothies and pureed soups, sneaking it into sauces and salad dressings, and incorporating it into energy bar recipes. Some people also use moringa powder instead of matcha to make green "lattes".

While many health food stores also carry spinach powder these days, why not go for the fresh stuff if you are thinking about incorporating spinach into your diet? Fresh spinach is readily available, and it makes a perfect addition to everything from soups and savory muffins to omelets and quiches. The tender, mild-flavored baby spinach can also be used in raw preparations such as salads and smoothies.

Moringa and Spinach vs Other Superfoods

If you are interested in learning how moringa or spinach fares against other foods that pack a nutritional punch, be sure to also check out the following comparisons: