Kale vs Spinach: The Epic Battle of Leafy Greens


Eating clean is not just about avoiding crappy foods and eating the right amounts of protein, carbs and fats. Beef, chicken and eggs are great but getting the enough vitamins and minerals is also important.

Veggies, particular green leafy vegetables provide a lot of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly and avoid chronic diseases. Two of the most nutrient packed veggies are spinach and kale.

One is endorsed by many celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Michelle Obama and the other gives Popeye the sailor man superhuman strength.

Both are very good for you but which one is better. Let’s take a look at a few facts about these two superfoods and you can decide for yourself which superfood wins in this heavyweight battle.


 Kale: A Little Background

38-kaleIn the purple corner weighing in at 100 grams is the nutritious kale.

It seems to be the latest food craze now. Kale shakes, kale chips and kale salads are becoming more and more common in the grocery stores.

Kale is not a new trend though. Before the Middle Ages it was most popular green vegetable all throughout Europe.

Kale is also known as borecole and comes from the same species as broccoli and cauliflower. It’s leaves are most commonly dark green but is also found as purple varieties. It’s texture is a bit tougher than other leafy vegetables.

Nutritionally, kale is very high in Vitamins A, K and C. It also has very good levels of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

38-kale-gwyneth-paltrowIn addition kale has some anti-inflammatory properties since it contains good levels of omega-3s and also provides some protein and carbohydrates.

Kale also contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which both which help to boost the immune system and also have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.

Flavanoids are another abundant compound that is found in kale. There are over 45 different flavonoids in kale and they also have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.

Overall, it’s a great food for overall health and should be a part of your diet whether you are trying to lose or gain weight.

Spinach: A Few Facts

38-spinach-saladKale put up a pretty strong case, but spinach is up for the challenge. In the green corner also weighing 100 grams is the nutrient rich spinach.

You can eat it raw, cooked and it goes with well with pretty much every meal.

It’s not really known exactly where, but spinach is thought to have originated somewhere in Persia sometime around 200-600 AD.

Spinach comes from a family of plants which includes beets, chard and quinoa. Like kale, it is also dark green but has a much more delicate texture.

As far as nutrients, spinach is very similar to kale. Spinach is very high in Vitamins a and K and is rich in Vitamin C, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.

38-popeyeSpinach also has some protein and carbs and while it does not have as much omega-3s, it does have significantly less omega-6s. A bad ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is not good and can lead to inflammation.

Spinach also has carotenoids that help fight cancer, inflammation and help the immune system. Spinach contains a group of carotenoids called epoxyxanthophylls, are important in cancer-prevention. Like kale, spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin.

Spinach also contains flavonoids, but not as many as kale.

So whether you are looking to save Olive Oyl from Bluto or just be healthy, spinach is a great addition to your diet.


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The Tale of the Tape:

Serving Size100 g, raw100 g, rawN/A
Calories2350Depends on your goal
Carbohydrates3.6 g10 gDepends on your goal
Fiber2.2 g2 gSpinach
Total Fat0.4 g0.7 gDepends on your goal
Omega-3 fatty acids138 mg180 mgKale
Omega-6 fatty acids26 mg138 mgSpinach
Protein2.9 g3.3 gKale
Vitamin A9376 IU15376 IUKale
Vitamin C28.1 mg120 mgKale
Vitamin K483 mcg817 mcgKale
Riboflavin0.2 mg0.1 mgSpinach
Vitamin B60.2mcg0.3 mgKale
Folate194 mcg29 mcgSpinach
Calcium99 mg135 mgKale
Iron2.7 mg1.7 mgSpinach
Magnesium79 mg34 mgSpinach
Potassium558 mg447 mgSpinach
Copper0.1 mg0.3 mgKale
Manganese0.9 mg0.8 mgSpinach
Celebrity EndorsementPopeyeGwyneth PaltrowSpinach
TextureLightToughPersonal Preference


The Fight:

38-boxing-clipartSpinach and kale are both heavyweights in the superfood category and this will be an epic battle of food behemoths. They are both very nutrient dense which means they have a lot of nutrients for very little calories.

Kale comes out swinging and dominates spinach with it’s extreme levels of Vitamins A, C and K.

Spinach is not slouch though and counters with it’s higher levels of folate, iron and magnesium.

It’s a real war of attrition with both refusing to lose.

The texture of each food is very different and this could play a role in which one comes out on top. The crowd is split on which one they prefer. Some people like the tough texture of kale and some don’t.

As we go into the late rounds we see that Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow and many celebrity chefs are rooting for kale. Spinach has Popeye cheering for it and this has to be a big advantage since Popeye is much cooler than most celebrities.

In the end both put up a good fight and it will be a tough decision for the judges. Both had their moments and neither went down for the count.

You really can’t go wrong with either one. They are both a great food to have fighting for you and your health.

It would be easy for me to say this fight was a draw but there needs to be a winner and one edged out the other by the slimmest of margins.

The Winner: Spinach via split decision.

Many people would disagree with this decision since kale has such extreme levels of Vitamins A, C and K. They would all be correct since kale would win if it were up to nutrition alone.

For me the deciding factor was taste and versatility. Since spinach is not as tough and has a milder flavor it blends better in more foods. I think spinach can be used in more dishes since it has a very mild flavor and has a much lighter texture.

Do you agree the judge’s decision? Was kale robbed or did spinach deserve the win? Let me know in the comments below or on the facebook group.