According to a dietitian, kale really IS healthier than spinach, but which green leafy vegetables suit you best?
- Kale is full of fiber, vitamins A, C and K and is also called a superfood
- Some experts aren’t sold on the kale hype and say kale is better
- READ MORE: Eating ONE portion of vegetables a day can age the brain by four years
It’s the vegetable that has become the ultimate symbol of healthy living – and a staple of green juices across America.
Some dietitians have suggested that kale — the green leafy vegetable that is technically a type of cabbage — outshines another vegetable popular in the wellness world: spinach.
While both have health benefits that “deserve a place in your refrigerator,” kale is packed with vitamins A, K and C and, crucially, full of gut-boosting fiber, according to Stephanie McKercher, a registered dietitian and recipe developer in Denver. Colorado, at GratefulGrazer.com.
“Kale is higher in fiber and contains more vitamin C than spinach,” Ms. McKercher told Fox News.
Kale is hailed as a “superfood” because of its high fiber content and high amounts of other nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K.
‘Vitamin C works as an antioxidant. It supports the immune system and helps with iron absorption.’
Fiber is especially crucial given the role it plays in reducing the risk of colon cancer and heart disease. According to the American Association for Nutrition, less than seven percent of Americans meet the government’s recommended intake of 30 grams per day.
But other experts have told DailyMail.com that while kale offers significant benefits, it is not the healthiest green leafy vegetable. So what’s?
Kale – which has slightly tougher outer leaves than spinach, and is generally cheaper – is the favorite leafy green of Australian functional medicine expert Jabe Brown, who told DailyMail.com: ‘Collard Greens are very high in fiber , with a higher fiber content. content per calorie than most other leafy greens (8 per cup of cooked kale).
He adds that they are also a great source of potassium, which is crucial for regulating heart rate, helping muscles contract and balancing sodium levels in the body.
Dr. Carolyn Williams, a registered dietitian, encourages people to eat the leafy greens they like, because each vegetable has a number of benefits
“This makes them an ideal choice,” he says, “especially for anyone looking to increase their dietary fiber intake.”
And then there’s calcium: the bone-strengthening nutrient often considered unique to dairy.
While a cup of raw spinach contains 30 milligrams of calcium and kale 53 milligrams, one cup of kale contains a whopping 286 mg of calcium.
Collards are also high in vitamins A and C – essential for a healthy immune system – and iron to prevent anemia, where the blood cannot deliver enough oxygen to the body’s tissues.
However, experts say adding leafy greens to the diet is a surefire way to get much-needed fiber, increase feelings of satiety, cut down on snacking and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Dr. Carolyn Williams, a registered dietitian, told DailyMail.com: ‘ One leafy vegetable will contain slightly more vitamins and minerals than another, but an alternative will contain more different nutrients. So there is no clear winner or anything like that.
‘And I think the most important thing is that people eat more leafy greens.
Cooking leafy greens in a healthy fat, such as extra-virgin olive oil, with some salt and pepper is a great way to incorporate them into dinners and lunches.
Dr. Williams said she prefers spinach for its versatility, as when preparing kale, many people prefer to massage it with oil first to soften it.
She said: ‘I tell people to just eat something green and leafy vegetables. Eat what you like, what you are going to eat. Because the most important thing is getting leafy vegetables.’