Healthy Bites: Broccoli vs. Kale

Kimberly Daly Farrell
by Kimberly Daly Farrell
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Healthy Bites: Broccoli vs. Kale

When it comes to healthy eating, most of us know vegetables are king. They’re packed with vitamins and nutrients, full of fiber, and low in calories. But lately is seems as though some veggies are getting more attention than others, namely kale.

Touted by many as “mother nature’s multivitamin,” kale’s 45 known flavonoids combine antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that have been shown to prevent bladder, breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancers. And in the past two years, articles and recipes featuring kale have exploded. Want to know the Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Kale? Looking for an easy recipe for Sauteed Kale? How about a tongue-in-cheek review of an all-kale diet? One quick Google search gives you all of that and more.

But does kale really deserve all that attention? A group of Yale students and business owners in New Haven, CT says no, and their anti-kale agenda suggests the leafy green’s hype comes at the detriment of other vegetables.

Working together, students, Monica Dileo, Adam Goff, and Drew Morrison, created the Broccoli vs. Kale campaign to promote the lesser known veggie. They partnered with local businesses, including the Elm City Market and Claire’s Corner Copia, to put advertisements in their stores and to offer broccoli specials for one month, and placed billboards along interstates and on the sides of buses. (The photo above, taken by Eamon Heberlein, is an example of one of the billboards.) The campaign showed how a community can rally around a vegetable or healthy eating in general, and raised nearly $2,500 on Kickstarter—one supporter and donor even presented President Obama with a “Barackoli” pin.

While the campaign garnered some media attention, and signs encouraging shoppers to purchase more broccoli worked, there’s no reason to fully turn your back on kale—or any other vegetable for that matter. In a recent study of powerhouse fruits and veggies, the two cruciferous cousins fall in the middle of the nutrient density scale: kale gets a 49.07 and slightly edges out broccoli, which gets a 34.89, making them both extremely healthy choices. (For reference, at the bottom of the list white grapefruit clocks in at 10.47 and watercress ranks number one at 100.)

Kale might offer a few more nutrients than broccoli, making it a slightly better choice in the “good for you” department. But the fact remains: man cannot live on kale alone! And whether you buy “fad food” or not, the key to a healthy diet is variety. Fill your grocery cart with an assortment of green veggies and you can’t wrong.

What do you think—is fad-free broccoli more appealing to you than kale? Which vegetables show up on your plate most?

About the Author

Kimberly Daly Farrell
Kimberly Daly Farrell

Kimberly Daly Farrell is a contributor at MyFitnessPal. A certified health coach and self-proclaimed running addict, Kimberly studied integrative nutrition and has completed three marathons. She has previously held editorial positions at Shape, Glamour, Fitness, and Good Housekeeping magazines. You can follow Kimberly’s running adventures on her personal blog, Some Kind Of Runderful.


6 responses to “Healthy Bites: Broccoli vs. Kale”

  1. Avatar Jim says:

    The underdog here is really the brussels sprout, what has broccoli done for me lately ?.
    I also like chocolate.

    • Avatar JofJLTNCB6 says:

      Mmm, brussel sprouts sauteed in bacon grease and seasoned with thyme. Delicious. (Take that, kale and broccoli! Seriously, the only way I’ve found to eat kale that is even remotely tasty is coated in olive oil, lightly salted, and dehydrated. In fact, I have a dehydrator full from today’s CSA haul.)

      • Avatar Tshambl1 says:

        Kale with baby spinach, chard and mizuna (Power Greens at Kroger) sauteed in a bit of olive oil, with shallot and garlic, sprinkle of salt and pepper and a bit of feta crumbled on top before serving. Really, really tasty and good. Brussels sprouts are divine tossed with a chopped up apple, some crumble bacon, a bit of bacon grease, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven then drizzled with red wine vinegar when they come out.

  2. Avatar Nickyra says:

    Kale is ok, still trying to get used to it. Most recently I tried it steamed with hot sauce on it. Can’t go wrong with broccoli, though!

  3. Avatar TokenMixedGirl says:

    As a kid, I hated anything from the leafy green veggie category. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I would touch raw spinach in a salad, and only 7 years until my mom cooked a batch of collards that made me go in for seconds.

    Kale is one of the few that I was able to go into head first. The biggest issue I have for a lot of the foods I dislike is texture. The fact that it stays rather firm when cooked (and sometimes crunchy, which I love), helped a lot. And I fell in love as soon as I paired it with bananas and strawberries in a smoothie.

    Of course, I did learn to like broccoli in the same fashion (except that I will forever refuse to eat it in a casserole or any other overcooked way).

  4. […] high levels of vitamins C and K, protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. And despite some wondering if kale’s 15 minutes of fame should be up, healthy eaters everywhere love the stuff, and the veggie continues to star in recipes and hold […]

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