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Which has more iron broccoli or brussel sprouts?

Quick Answer

Broccoli contains more iron than brussels sprouts. One cup of chopped broccoli contains 0.7 mg of iron, while one cup of brussels sprouts contains 0.5 mg of iron. So broccoli has 40% more iron per serving than brussels sprouts.

Iron Content in Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts

Iron is an essential mineral that plays many important roles in the body. It is a component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Iron is also part of various enzymes needed for energy production and metabolism.

Even mild iron deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, weakened immunity and other problems. Therefore, it is important to consume adequate amounts of iron from your diet. The daily recommended intake of iron is 8 mg for adult men and 18 mg for premenopausal women.

Both broccoli and brussels sprouts can be excellent sources of iron, but broccoli contains higher amounts per serving:

Food Serving Iron (mg)
Broccoli 1 cup chopped, raw 0.7
Brussels sprouts 1 cup chopped, raw 0.5

As you can see, one cup of raw, chopped broccoli contains 0.7 mg of iron, while one cup of raw, chopped brussels sprouts contains 0.5 mg.

So broccoli provides 40% more iron per serving compared to brussels sprouts.

Why Broccoli Contains More Iron Than Brussels Sprouts

Broccoli and brussels sprouts belong to the same plant family, called the cruciferous vegetables. However, there are a few key differences between them:

– Broccoli has a denser head and thicker stalks than brussels sprouts. This results in a higher density of nutrients per serving.

– The compact sprouts of brussels sprouts develop over a longer growing period. This results in some loss of nutrients compared to broccoli.

– Broccoli contains more chlorophyll than brussels sprouts. Chlorophyll enhances the plant’s ability to take up nutrients like iron from the soil.

Therefore, even though they are closely related vegetables, broccoli ends up accumulating higher amounts of iron during its growth cycle compared to brussels sprouts.

Other Health Benefits

In addition to their iron content, broccoli and brussels sprouts offer many other nutrients and health benefits:


– High in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium.

– Good source of fiber, calcium and selenium.

– Contains antioxidants like sulforaphane and indoles that may protect against cancer.

Brussels sprouts:

– Excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and manganese.

– Good amounts of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and thiamin.

– Contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds like kaempferol.

– High in glucosinolates which support detoxification.

Maximizing Iron Absorption

To maximize the absorption of iron from broccoli, brussels sprouts and other plant foods, consider these tips:

– Eat them with vitamin C-rich foods like red bell peppers, which enhances iron absorption.

– Avoid drinking coffee and tea with meals, as they contain polyphenols that can inhibit iron absorption.

– Soak, sprout and ferment iron-rich plant foods to reduce phytates that block iron absorption.

– Avoid calcium supplements with iron-rich meals, as calcium can interfere with iron absorption.

– Use cast iron cookware to cook in, as the iron leaches into the food.

– Add lemon juice to iron-containing meals, as the acid helps make iron more bioavailable.

Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli Recipes

Here are some nutritious recipes that incorporate broccoli or brussels sprouts:

Broccoli Recipes

– Broccoli cheddar soup
– Broccoli fried rice
– Broccoli quiche
– Broccoli pesto pasta
– Broccoli casserole
– Broccoli rabe with garlic and anchovies
– Broccoli slaw salad

Brussels Sprouts Recipes

– Roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar
– Shredded brussels sprout salad
– Thai brussels sprout salad
– Brussels sprouts gratin
– Brussels sprouts fritters
– Brussels sprout hash with poached eggs
– Brussels sprouts and kale salad

Key Takeaways

– Broccoli contains 0.7 mg of iron per cup, while brussels sprouts contain 0.5 mg per cup, so broccoli has 40% more iron.

– Broccoli’s denser head, thicker stalks and higher chlorophyll content cause it to accumulate more iron than brussels sprouts.

– In addition to iron, both vegetables offer many other nutrients and health benefits.

– Maximize iron absorption by consuming iron-rich foods with vitamin C, avoiding iron absorption inhibitors, and using iron-enhancing cooking methods.

– Try incorporating broccoli and brussels sprouts into a variety of nutritious and delicious recipes.