Kale vs Spinach: Which Super Green Is More Nutritious?

Kale vs Spinach: Which Super Green Is More Nutritious?

Ah yes, the age-old debate between two of the most nutrient-dense leafy greens. Some say this feud dates back to the caveman’s first flex by fireside. In all seriousness, this superfood face-off is pure entertainment for health food enthusiasts. It’s also a way to settle the score between the two dark leafy greens. How does spinach stack up against the ruffled leaves of kale? This article aims to find out.

Both kale and spinach are super greens that contain a diverse mix of vitamins and minerals. If there’s one commonality between the two greens, it’s that health experts agree that they are both good for you. Back in the day, spinach was the green vegetable to be reckoned with. Popeye was notorious for emerging with fierce strength after consuming spinach. We wish it was fresh and not from a can, but we didn’t create the cartoon. Nowadays, kale is the popular kid in school, giving spinach a run for its money.

Why Should You Eat Leafy Greens?

Well, the correct answer is, “Because your mom said so.” Green vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, offer powerful phytochemicals and antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants include carotenoid lutein, sulforphane, indole, and more. These work to support healthier vision, lower cholesterol levels, improve bone health, and work to fight cancerous cells. Additionally, leafy greens like kale and spinach are heart-healthy superfoods, working to naturally lower blood pressure levels. Lastly, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which work to fight chronic inflammation in the body. 

The Tale Of The Tape

Kale:

Kale belongs to the Brassica family, which includes collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables. Kale comes in many varieties, but the one that stands out is the one with vibrant, curly green leaves. According to several research studies, kale exhibited anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. The two primary antioxidants include beta-carotene and lutein. There are also 45 other flavonoids that work to protect the body from oxidative stress, which can accelerate the development of arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cataracts, and atherosclerosis. 

Several studies on kale found that it may lower the risk of five different types of cancer, including bladder, colon, ovarian, prostate, and breast cancers. The glucosinolates in kale, which break down into isothiocyanate, are responsible for the anti-cancer benefits. The smaller isothiocyanate compounds help inhibit carcinogenic activity in the body. Additionally, they help to promote natural detoxification for optimal toxin elimination. One cup of raw kale includes the following recommended daily intake (RDI) of these nutrients:

  • Vitamin K (68% of the RDI)
  • Vitamin A (6% of the RDI)
  • Vitamin C (22% of the RDI)
  • Calcium (4% of the RDI)
  • Riboflavin (6% of the RDI)
  • Magnesium (2% of the RDI)
  • Folate (3% of the RDI)
  • Vitamin B6 (2% of the RDI)
  • Iron (2% of the RDI)
  • Potassium (2% of the RDI)

Spinach:

Spinach may not be as trendy as kale is now, but it packs a serious nutritional punch. On a base level, spinach contains more iron, folate, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Spinach also has a much more mild flavor than kale, which makes it more appealing to people who aren’t as keen about leafy greens. Spinach belongs to the same family as beets, quinoa, and chard. Similar to kale, spinach exhibits powerful anti-cancer properties from the many carotenoids. Spinach also contains epoxyxanthophylls, which work to protect men against aggressive prostate cancer. They also help to reduce excessive inflammation

Zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and lutein are other flavonoids in spinach. They can help with bone issues, cardiovascular troubles, and certain issues related to inflammation. Spinach also contains glycoglycerolipids, which are fat-related molecules that protect the digestive tract’s lining. While spinach may not save the digestive tract from the Western diet, spinach may offer some protection and nourishment. One cup of raw spinach includes the following RDI of these nutrients:

  • Vitamin K (121% of the RDI)
  • Vitamin A (16% of the RDI)
  • Vitamin C (9% of the RDI)
  • Calcium (2% of the RDI)
  • Riboflavin (4% of the RDI)
  • Magnesium (6% of the RDI)
  • Folate (15% of the RDI)
  • Vitamin B6 (3% of the RDI)
  • Iron (5% of the RDI)
  • Potassium (4% of the RDI)

Ultimately, spinach and kale are incredibly beneficial for your health. They both contain concentrations of beneficial nutrients and are great greens to include in your diet. 

Sources:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/kale-vs-spinach-which-is-heart-healthier/
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/kale-vs-spinach
https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/what-is-miso-and-is-it-actually-healthy
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/food-face-off-health-benefits-of-kale-vs-spinach/

2021-04-02T17:15:34-07:00