Spinach and kale often compliment each other in the realm of healthy eating.
But will there be a winner?
“Spinach and kale are both healthy, incredibly nutritious dark green vegetables,” Stephanie McKercher, R.D., registered dietitian and plant-based recipe developer in Denver, Colorado, tells GratefulGrazer.com. Told.
“Although similar, there are some important differences in the nutritional content of each,” McKercher added.
Natalie Gillette, a New Jersey-based registered dietitian and owner of NatalieGillettNutrition.com, agrees, adding that the two leafy greens have clear health benefits, so they’re the perfect choice for “these power foods. Both are worth having in your fridge.”
Expanding on that, Romane Guerro, a Paris-based registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, and lifestyle coach at Foodvisor.io/en, explains that kale is rich in fiber, vitamins A, C, K, and calcium. Said to be a great source.
Of its “rivals,” she added, “Spinach is an excellent source of iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and magnesium.”
Learn the nutritional profiles of kale and spinach and see which one is better.
Kale nutritional details
Kale is a fiber powerhouse. It’s also full of vitamin C.
“Kale has more fiber and more vitamin C than spinach,” says McKercher.
“Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. It helps the immune system and helps absorb iron.”
As for other notable vitamins, McKercher said kale and spinach are both rich sources of vitamin K, which is important for bone health and blood clotting.
Gillette also cited kale for its vitamin A content, which “supports vision, the immune system, and tissue health,” and the mineral potassium, which is involved in muscle contraction and helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
Gillette is also a fan of how high in fiber kale is.
“One cup of cooked kale provides nearly 5 grams, which is almost 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber,” she says.
Regarding other factors that differentiate kale from spinach, Gillette shared that kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family.
“Cruciferous vegetables are notable for their high content of glucosinolates, which may protect against cancer,” says a study published on the National Cancer Institute’s website. she said, pointing to the research.
Last but not least, kale is also a great source of antioxidants, which “help protect your body from damage,” Gerow says.
Spinach nutritional details
There’s a good reason why spinach is a highly regarded vegetable.
“Spinach, like kale, contains amazing levels of vitamins K, C, and calcium. Kale contains folate; more than twice as many,” Gillette said.
She added that folic acid supports cell division and helps prevent birth defects during pregnancy.
“Compared to kale, spinach is notable for its high content of iron, which is essential for blood cells, energy, and growth,” she says, noting that 100 grams of cooked spinach contains about 3.6 milligrams of iron. However, he pointed out that it does not contain the same amount of iron. Cooked kale contains about 1 milligram of iron.
“Spinach is rich in essential nutrients such as iron, vitamins A and K, and folate,” says Gero.
She said the iron content in spinach is “essential in preventing anemia.”
Like kale, spinach is also high in fiber, which “aids digestion and helps with weight management,” says Gillette.
So which is the healthier choice: kale or spinach?
Like any delicate nutritional debate, there’s no clear winner in the kale vs. spinach battle.
“Spinach and kale are both extremely healthy and have unique benefits,” says Gillette. She said which one you choose largely depends on your personal preference and dietary needs.
Gehlot stressed that both these leafy vegetables contain a variety of nutrients that are essential for good health.
“But if you’re looking for a food that’s especially rich in fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin C, kale is a better choice,” she said.
“If you’re looking for a food that’s particularly rich in folate, a source of iron, and vitamins A and E, spinach is a better choice.”
After all, according to Gero, the best way to get the most nutrition from your diet is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including both spinach and kale.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the adage “eat the rainbow” is accurate.
“Eating a variety of vegetables gives your body a variety of nutrients it needs to grow. Variety also makes meals more interesting and keeps boredom at bay,” McKercher said.
“Spinach and kale are nutritionally similar, so you can choose whichever vegetable you prefer,” Gero says.
Dishes using kale and spinach
Gillette generally encouraged people to “try incorporating both spinach and kale into your diet to enjoy the unique flavors and health benefits of each.”
Both spinach and kale can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced.
“You can add it to salads, soups, smoothies, and stir-fries,” Gero says.
“When choosing spinach or kale, look for fresh, green leaves. Avoid yellow or brown leaves,” Gerow said.
When buying fresh spinach or kale, know that the leafy greens can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, she also said.
That said, buying frozen spinach or kale is also a nutritious and budget-friendly option.
Frozen spinach or kale can be stored in the freezer for months at a time without worrying about it spoiling.
When it comes to meal prep, McKercher suggested cooking spinach or kale with canned chickpeas and serving them with tahini sauce.