CQ NUTRITION $50K HEALTH CHALLENGE

Kale vs spinach. Which one tops out?

kale kale&spinach spinach Jan 28, 2021

When we're comparing leafy greens, the evidence is pretty clear cut. Spinach is the vegetable with more health benefits!


Below I'll outline the benefits and differences between each vegetable and some recommendations to optimise our intake. We will go through the macronutrients and micronutrients of each leafy green, and determine which veggie has a higher concentration of each nutrient.  

 

Macronutrients 

In terms of energy-density and macronutrient content, these leafy greens are very similar. The only significant difference is fibre content, which spinach wins hands down. 

 Spinach 

  • Fibre. Essential for keeping the digestive system healthy and for promoting regular bowel movements.
  • Protein. Essential for building and repairing body tissues and providing the body with a structural framework. 

 

 Kale

  • ­Carbohydrate. The bodies primary fuel source, which feeds the brains high energy demands.

 

Micronutrients 

Here are where things start to get interesting… Spinach has a significantly higher nutrient profile, compared to kale.

Spinach 

  • Vitamin A. Known for optimising eyesight and supporting cell growth. You’d need to eat a couple of cups of spinach to reach 50% of your daily intake.
  • Potassium. Known for supporting nerve function and muscle contraction.
  • Magnesium. This micronutrient is involved in 300 body functions, like blood pressure regulation and blood sugar level control.
  • Folate. Famous for preventing spina bifida in a newborn child.
  • Calcium. Essential for bone growth and maintaining bone density.

Kale

  • Vitamin C. Important for protecting cells and maintaining healthy skin & bones. Two-three cups of kale would hit your daily requirement. 
  • Vitamin K. Important for blood coagulation and blood clotting. Kale has about 200 micrograms more than spinach. 

It’s clear to see that spinach is the powerhouse nutrient when compared to kale. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper!

 

Hang on, if spinach is so much healthier, why is kale regarded as a ‘superfood’?


It comes down to very clever marketing. 
All fresh fruits and vegetables are ‘superfoods’ due to their varied micronutrient profiles and health benefits. However, that does not sell. Therefore, marketers tend to 'zone in' on one food product and blow out its health benefits.

Generally, these ‘superfoods’ take centre stage and feature in every health-food cafes’ nourish bowl. This is just a trend though, and soon enough, there will be new superfoods dominating our brunch meals.

 

Recommendations:

  1. If you’re tossing up between spinach and kale, go with spinach.
  2. If you’ve got a bit of a green thumb, grow your own leafy greens.
    • They’re easy to grow.
    • You’ll have an endless supply.
    • They’re generally more nutrient-dense than store-bought greens. Leafy greens lose their nutrients after about 8 days, and there’s no telling how long they’ve been on the supermarket shelves for…
  3. Eat a wide variety of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits and whole grains (aka ‘superfoods’) without paying a premium.

 

At the end of the day, spinach is a better choice. However, that’s not to say that kale is a bad one, it’s just not as nutrient-dense. The best thing to do is consume a wide variety of leafy greens, to cover your micronutrient bases, as kale does win in some areas of comparison. If you’re looking to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet, book a consult with CQ Nutrition. The dietitians will provide tailored recipes to meet both your taste preferences and requirements for particular nutrients. 

 

Here is a link to book in with one of our expert dietitians at any of our locations https://www.cqnutrition.com.au/booking/ 

Want an online consultation? Book in on my calendar and in the comments write 'online': https://bit.ly/AnnieROK 
 

Written by Annabel Johnston, BAppSc&MDietPrac & GCertDiabSt

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