Spinach Versus Kale: Which One Is Healthier?
Green goddesses. Nutritional powerhouses. Delicious, leafy greens. It’s undeniable that they do your body so much good. However, there are two at the top of the list in a continuous battle for the reigning champion: kale and spinach. These great greens both have many incredible health and wellness benefits and infinite uses for cooking. And we can’t forget about one of our favorites – using them in smoothies! But which one is healthier? Is kale or spinach the queen bee of leafy greens? Read on to find out.
Kale and spinach nutritional similarities
Both kale and spinach contain impressive amounts of some of the most important vitamins and minerals your body needs.
One of those vitamins is Vitamin K – also known as “the forgotten” vitamin. You probably don’t hear about Vitamin K very often, but it is an essential vitamin for blood clotting and bone health.* It’s so important that many newborn babies receive Vitamin K injections at the hospital because they aren’t born with enough of this vital nutrient.
Kale and spinach are also both rich in Vitamin C – the most popular of all the essential vitamins! Vitamin C is necessary for immune health and also skin health, as it helps stimulate collagen production.*
While they are both rich in these two critical nutrients, kale actually contains much more Vitamin C – 80 mg per cup according to the USDA. On the other hand, spinach only contains 8.43 mg of Vitamin C per cup. Kale is known as one of the most valuable sources of Vitamin C in the entire world.
The story is a little different for Vitamin K. Spinach contains 145 micrograms of Vitamin K per cup, whereas kale contains 82 mcg of Vitamin K per cup.
Kale and spinach are also both rich in fiber and low in calories.
Another similarity between kale and spinach is that they each contain a nutrient that could cause issues in certain individuals.
Spinach contains oxalate – which binds to calcium and can inhibit absorption. Kale contains goitrin, which may impact thyroid function in some people. Cooking spinach and kale can lessen the impact of these compounds.
The health benefits of kale
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable from the cabbage family, related to Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. And when you check out the nutritional value, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.
One cup of kale contains the following Daily Value percentages:
- Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
- Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Folate: 5% of the DV
- Calcium: 9% of the DV
- Copper: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
- Manganese: 26% of the DV
And all of that comes in 33 calories per cup! Plus, kale is rich in antioxidants that help fight free radical damage.
The health benefits of spinach
Similar to kale, spinach is packed with antioxidants and is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals.
In fact, here are the nutritional facts for just one spinach leaf:
- Vitamin K: 60% of the DV
- Folate: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 19% of the DV
- Manganese: 4% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 5% of the DV
So if you don’t like leafy greens, just one leaf of spinach can provide all of that nutrition and more. However, a big perk to spinach is that it’s super easy to hide in green smoothies because it has a mild taste.
Spinach is also rich in two important carotenoids, zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds are also present in your eyes and are necessary to support eye health.*
What if I don’t like spinach or kale?
The problem with leafy greens is that while they are super nutritious, many people simply don’t like how they taste. That’s when it’s time to get creative in the kitchen and figure out a way to incorporate these superfoods.
If greens are too bitter for you, try blanching them first. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, chop your greens. When the water is at a rapid boil, drop the greens in and stir them until they wilt and turn bright green. Avoid boiling them for too long though, because they can get mushy.
Another way to doctor up your greens is to load them up with your favorite spices. Plus, the addition of spices adds even more nutrition. Shallots, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, and paprika are all good contenders for adding flavor to spinach and kale.
If you don’t like to cook, you can still get your greens in a really simple way: smoothies! It’s super easy to hide spinach and greens when you blend them up in your Teami MIXit Portable Smoothie Blender. Toss in whatever you’d like – a cup of spinach, a handful of berries, a banana – the possibilities are endless! Plus, smoothies have some underrated benefits you might not even know about.
Still not convinced? Give Teami Greens Superfood Powder a try – the greens are already broken down in a finely milled powder and bursting with nutrients!
Overall, you can’t go wrong with spinach or kale. Both leafy greens are bursting with nutrients that help your body thrive. Kale may have the upper hand with the most nutritional value. However, it is important to mix up what kind of greens you’re eating regularly.
What is your favorite way to eat spinach and kale? Show us your smoothie creations on Instagram with #thankyouteami.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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