Spinach vs. Kale Nutrition

Leafy Green Debate: Spinach vs. Kale

Throwing some leafy greens into your smoothie is a great way to trick your taste buds into getting added fiber and calcium — it purees so well with the sweeter ingredients that you can't even taste it. I usually add whatever I have in the fridge — like baby spinach leaves or chopped kale — but does one offer bigger nutrition bang for your buck? Check out the chart below to see how these two veggies compare.

As you can see, they both offer the same amount of fiber and protein, but for fewer calories, spinach offers more folate, which is necessary for pregnant or nursing moms. Spinach is also higher in iron, which your body needs to carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. It offers more magnesium — a mineral that if you're deficient in can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, and chronic fatigue. You'll also appreciate the higher levels of manganese needed to keep your blood sugar levels and thyroid functions normal. And who couldn't use a little extra potassium? This valuable mineral helps with bone growth and may reduce high blood pressure.

28 grams Spinach
(1 loosely packed cup) (%RDI)
28 grams Kale
(1 loosely packed cup) (%RDI)
Calories 6 14
Total fat (g) 0 0
Sodium (mg) 22 (1%) 12 (1%)
Carbs (g) 1 3
Fiber (g) 1 1
Sugars (g) 0 0
Protein (g) 1 1
Calcium (g) 27.7 (3%) 37.8 (4%)
Folate (mcg) 54.3 (14%) 8.1 (2%)
Iron (mg) .8 (4%) .5 (3 %)
Magnesium (mg) 22.1 (6%) 9.5 (2%)
Manganese (mg) .3 (13%) .2 (11%)
Potassium (g) 156 (4%) 125 (4%)
Vitamin A (g) 2,625 (53%) 4,305 (86%)
Vitamin B6 (mg) .1 (3%) .1 (3%)
Vitamin C (mg) 7.9 (13%) 33.6 (56%)
Vitamin K (mcg) 135 (169%) 229 (286%)

Kale does win for slightly more bone-strengthening calcium, as well as tons more immune-boosting vitamin A. It also offers half your RDI of vitamin C, which is also needed for a healthy immune system. Kale also offers a crazy amount of vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and bone health.

These two leafy greens definitely pack a nutritious punch for different reasons, so choose the one that'll fill your vitamin and mineral needs. If you're pregnant or have high blood pressure, spinach might be the one to reach for, and if you feel like you're coming down with a cold, grab some kale. If you're not sure, add both to your smoothie! This flat belly smoothie recipe can be made with spinach, kale, or a combination of both.

Source: Thinkstock
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