Food Fight: Kale v. Spinach

School Of Nutrition Posted May 19, 2014 Future Fit Training

We are often told that we should be including more dark green leafy vegetables in our diet. At the supermarket we find two popular dark leafy greens - kale and spinach - but which one is better?

Food Fight: Kale v. Spinach

Let's look at the stats:

Serving size 100g raw 100g raw
Calories 49Kcal 23Kcal
Carbohydrates 8.8 g 3.6 g
Fat 0.9 g 0.4 g
Protein 4.3 g 2.9 g
Fibre 3.1 g 2.2 g
Calcium 150 mg 99 mg
Iron 1.5 g 2.7 g
Magnesium 47 mg 79 mg
Potassium 491 mg 558 mg
Folate 31 mcg 194 mcg
Vitamin A 500 mcg (9990 IU) 469 mcg (9377 IU)
Vitamin C 120 mg 28.1 mg
Vitamin K 704.8 mcg 482.9 mcg
Beta-carotene 5927 mcg 5626 mcg
Lutein + zeaxanthin 8198 mcg 12198 mcg

The main highlights:

  • Kale has more calories per 100g serving than spinach. However, it should be noted that both vegetables are low in fat and very low calorie.
  • Kale has higher levels of protein, fibre, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin K than spinach. However, spinach has higher levels of iron, magnesium, potassium and folate. Both vegetables have similar amounts of vitamin A.
  • In addition to the anti-oxidant vitamins A and C, both vegetables are rich sources of anti-oxidant phytonutrients such as lutein and beta-carotene. Kale is slightly higher in beta-carotene, while spinach contains more lutein and zeaxanthin.

OUR WINNER: It’s a tie!

With so many nutrients packed into so few calories, you cannot go wrong with either one of these green leafy vegetables. Include them regularly in your diet but keep in mind that some water-soluble nutrients are lost in the cooking water and that some phytonutrients are affected by heat, so it is best to eat them raw in salads. If you prefer to cook your leafy greens, steam or stir-fry them rather than boil them and keep the cooking time as short as possible.



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