Do you consistently catch yourself needing a midday energy boost? If so, consider trading your afternoon candy bar or shot of espresso for some extra vegetables!
Below, you’ll learn about some of the most nutritious vegetables to add to your diet for additional energy. You’ll also find some convenient tips for incorporating more vegetables into your meals and snacks.
Most Energizing Veggies
Generally speaking, any vegetable is better for your overall health and energy than no vegetables. However, some veggies will give you more energy and help you see results sooner, including the following:
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens are excellent sources of minerals like magnesium and potassium.
Carrots also contain potassium and vitamin A, which support the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the mitochondria (the energy center of the cells).
They provide you with iron, a mineral that is needed to create the protein hemoglobin in red blood cells, too. Low iron contributes to anemia, a condition characterized by fatigue.
Like iron, vitamin B6 -- which is found in carrots -- can also prevent anemia and support healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B6 promotes cognitive health as well, meaning it can help you feel sharper throughout the day.
Another way to boost your potassium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin K intake is by increasing your broccoli consumption. Broccoli is an excellent source of all these vitamins and minerals. It also provides a healthy dose of folate.
Folate is a B vitamin (vitamin B9), which helps to combat depression, irritability, and mental fatigue because the body easily breaks it down for energy. Vitamin B9 often shows up in energy drinks, but you can also get it (without a bunch of questionable ingredients) from broccoli.
Broccoli can also supply extra energy in the form of fiber.
Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that helps to regulate energy. It does this by providing the bacteria in the gut with energy, which they then use to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The body can then use SCFAs for energy, specifically for the large intestine.
Asparagus is another excellent veggie for those looking to consume more vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and potassium.
A half cup of cooked asparagus also provides 12 percent of your recommended daily vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body properly utilize vitamin K and supports healthy red blood cells.
Without healthy red blood cells, you run the risk of becoming anemic. You also cannot efficiently transfer oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body.
Beets contain folate, vitamins C and A, iron, and potassium. They’re also a good source of inorganic nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and may increase exercise stamina by improving oxygen use.
Yes, technically, tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable. However, they’re such a nutritional powerhouse that we couldn’t help but feature them on this list.
Tomatoes provide you with a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as folate and potassium. They also contain lycopene.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that promotes healthy skin and a properly functioning cardiovascular system. Low levels of lycopene can contribute to fatigue, as well as symptoms like elevated cholesterol.
How to Eat More Veggies
From leafy greens to tomatoes, there are plenty of options that can help you feel more energized. You can only eat so many salads in the afternoon before you need to shake it up a bit, though.
If you want to make a habit of eating more vegetables daily (which will help you see more benefits than eating them every once in a while), try these tips:
Pair Them with Fat
Many of the vitamins found in vegetables, such as vitamins A, C, and K, are fat-soluble. That means the body absorbs and utilizes them more effectively when you consume them with a fat source.
Try roasting vegetables with avocado oil or drizzling olive oil on your salad for better nutrient absorption and increased satiety (fat helps you feel fuller).
Prep Vegetables on the Weekends
If your mornings are too hectic to spend time chopping vegetables or preparing salads for your lunch break, try setting aside some time for prep on the weekends.
Dedicate an hour to chopping vegetables, adding salad ingredients to mason jars, or putting vegetables into individual bags so you can quickly grab them on your way out the door.
Add Them to Smoothies
When you want something sweet, consider adding vegetables to a smoothie. You can still get sweetness from fruit or protein powder, but you also get an extra serving or two of veggies for additional energy and antioxidants.
Not sure what to toss into the blender? Greens like spinach have a mild taste and won’t throw off the flavor of your smoothie. Frozen cauliflower also blends well and adds thickness.
Take a Fruit and Vegetable Supplement
Another good way to start your day on a nutritious note is by taking a fruit and vegetable supplement.
Available in capsules or tablets, these supplements are packed with micronutrients and allow you to enjoy all the benefits of vegetables without the taste (or the time-consuming process of prepping them).
Increase Your Veggies, Increase Your Energy
Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that keep you energized and feeling your best. Follow the tips listed above so you can start increasing your veggie intake and reap all the benefits they have to offer.
If you’re looking for a simple way to eat more veggies, check out Substance’s Nature’s Sustenance capsules. They contain over 20 fruits, veggies, and greens per serving, are 100 percent plant-based, and come with a 90-day money-back guarantee.