We often talk about including plenty of dark green leafy vegetables in your diet. For this month’s nutrition faceoff, we take a closer look at two popular dark leafy greens – kale and spinach – to see whether there is a clear winner.
Nutrition Faceoff: Kale vs. Spinach
|Serving size||100 g (3.5 oz) raw||100 g (3.5 oz) raw|
|Calories||49 kcal||23 kcal|
|Carbohydrates||8.8 g||3.6 g|
|Fat||0.9 g||0.4 g|
|Protein||4.3 g||2.9 g|
|Fiber||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|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||8198 mcg||12198 mcg|
|Beta-carotene||5927 mcg||5626 mcg|
Nutrition Faceoff: Kale vs. Spinach – Dietitian’s Take
While these two vegetables are both great choices, here are some highlights:
- Kale has more calories per 100 g serving than spinach. It should be noted that both vegetables are still very low-cal choices.
- Kale has higher levels of fiber, calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K than spinach. However, spinach has higher levels of iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate. Both vegetables contain comparable amounts of Vitamin A.
- In addition to antioxidant vitamins (A and C), both vegetables are also rich sources of antioxidant phytonutrients such as lutein and beta-carotene. Spinach is higher in lutein and zeaxanthin, while kale is higher in beta-carotene.
Our Pick: It’s A Tie!
With so many nutrients packed into so few calories, you cannot go wrong choosing either one of these green leafy vegetables and including them regularly in your diet. Keep in mind that some water-soluble nutrients are lost to cooking liquid, and some phytonutrients are affected by heat. If you choose to cook your leafy greens, do so with minimal liquid (such as steaming or quick sauteing instead of boiling) and keep cooking time short.