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Sharp Health News

Spinach or kale? (infographic)

Oct. 22, 2015

Kale may be the hottest green in the produce section, but our old friend spinach is no slouch in the health department. We put the two salad starters head-to-head in a battle of the greens. Spoiler alert: both are health winners!

Spinach or kale? (infographic). When it comes to eating healthfully, you can’t beat leafy greens. But if you need a way to sway, we break down the benefits of kale and spinach. It’s really hard to choose between kale and spinach, says Ursula Ridens, RD, an outpatient dietitian at Sharp. They both provide similar health-boosting effects. Nutrients. Spinach is slightly higher in protein and fiber than kale. Protein helps build and repair your body and fiber keeps food moving along inside it. Minerals. Spinach is a heavy hitter in the iron and magnesium category. In fact, spinach has more than twice the potassium as kale. Potassium is good for the heart; iron keep your energy up; and magnesium is important for muscles, bones and blood pressure. Vitamins. While kale dominates in vitamin C, spinach is higher in folate and vitamin A. Folate helps with cell and tissue growth, vitamin A improves the immune system and vitamin C promotes healing. There are also shared benefits to eating kale and spinach. Both offer antioxidants, which reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Both also have omega-3s, which improve heart health. Finally, both contain carotenoids, which are important for eye, bone and immune health. You should aim to eat 1.5 to 2 cups of green leafy veggies each week and 2.5 to 3 cups of overall veggies per day. Kale is great baked as kale chips, chopped and added to chili, torn and sautéed and added to fruit smoothies. Spinach tastes great layered on a sandwich, scrambled into eggs, baked into lasagna and tossed in a salad. Pick the one you like and add flavors that enhance the taste – like garlic, balsamic vinegar or lemon, Ridens says. And remember to eat a variety of veggies for a variety of benefits.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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