Everyone knows that vegetables comprise the healthiest food group, but very few people eat enough. The best and, unfortunately, most neglected vegetables are dark leafy greens, like kale, collard greens, and spinach. These veggies contain vitamins like calcium, iron, potassium, fiber, and more, which are crucial for a strong immune system, organ function, and good circulation.
What do dark leafy greens have to do with energy? They contain three crucial ingredients for high energy levels: iron, Vitamin K1, and Vitamin C. If you lack iron, odds are you’ll deal with fatigue and low energy. Dark leafy greens like broccoli and spinach are especially good for getting a dose of iron, though all dark leafy greens contain high levels of iron. If you have bad circulation, you’ll feel tired a lot and lack physical endurance. Vitamin K1 is crucial for the formation of healthy blood cells, which keep your circulatory system. Vitamin C, which you probably associate with citrus fruit, is also found in vegetables like kale. Vitamin C helps the body better absorb iron.
You can improve your energy levels by adding more dark leafy greens to your diet, and if you want a quick pick-me-up, green juices and smoothies are much healthier than energy drinks packed with artificial ingredients. Here are two recipes to try:
Low-Glycemic Energizing Green Juice (from Popsugar Fitness)
Wash four leaves of kale, one cucumber, three cups spinach, five stalks celery, and ½ bunch parsley. Run one of the veggies with high water content (like the cucumber or celery) first, then the parsley and kale, and end with the other high-water green. Store for up to three days.
The Perfect Green Smoothie Formula (from 100 Days of Real Food)
Mix two cups of dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, swiss chard with two cups of liquid (water, coconut water, coconut milk, or almond milk) and three cups of fruit like bananas, berries, avocado, orange, and so on. Always blend the leafy greens and liquid first before adding fresh fruit. For further customization, you can “boost” the smoothie with chia seeds, flax seeds, cinnamon, or a natural protein powder.