Instead of wasting money on sugary, salty junk, or sugary sodas that are loaded with caffeine, you might want to consider introducing some energy boosting vegetables to your diet. There are lots of vegetables that give you energy – a lot more than you might think.
While vegetables are a healthy part of any balanced diet, if you’re making big eating changes, check with your doctor or a nutritionist first.
Vegetables That May Give You An Energy Boost
If you’re looking to get a little lift of energy during the day, here are some of the veggies that might help give you just that.
Beets are rich in nutrients that help support blood flow, which, in turn, can help generate energy.1 You can cook them, or you can simply eat dried beetroot chips. You could even drink beetroot juice (just watch for added sugar). Beets are filled with nitrites, which the body converts to nitric oxide. This makes the blood vessels relaxed, supporting blood circulation in the process.2
Dark Leafy Greens
If your parents told you to eat your greens, they knew what they were talking about. Vegetables in this category, such as mustard greens, kale, and collard greens, are packed with B vitamins. Your body needs them in order to produce energy. Dark leafy greens also contain several other minerals and vitamins that can help bring your energy levels back up if you’re feeling blasé.3
Just about every type of bean shares something in common from a nutrient perspective – they help support healthy blood sugar levels, since it takes the body a while to ingest them. Beans are also high in protein, iron, and magnesium, which play a role in not only energy production, but also the delivery of energy to the body’s cells.4
While spinach is in the category of dark leafy greens, it really deserves a separate mention. The main reason is that spinach is one of the best sources of iron — a key player in the body’s energy production. A half a cup of boiled, drained spinach leaves contains a little more than 3 grams of iron – about 20 percent of what your body needs each day.5
Sweet potatoes are another veggie packed with energy-boosting iron and magnesium. They also contain a significant amount of vitamin C, which is also important for energy, and fiber – which can also help support your energy levels. The complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes help give you sustained energy during your waking hours.6
Additionally, the complex carbs in sweet potatoes are really good at sustaining your energy between meals. Because complex carbs are digested slowly, they may also help you feel full for longer periods of time.7
Why Is The Glycemic Index Important?
Whether you’re thinking of increasing your vegetable intake, or you’re considering making any other types of changes to your diet, you should be aware of where foods fall on the glycemic index, or GI. The GI measures how likely it will be that a certain type of food will raise your blood sugar levels.8
The body converts the carbs it can digest into glucose. This glucose provides energy to the body’s cells. It also signals the pancreas to produce insulin, which the body then uses to absorb the glucose it just produced. Basically, the lower the GI, the slower the digestion process occurs. The higher the GI, the faster digestion occurs, leading to a rise in blood glucose.9
The GI is a scale that runs from 1-100. Sweet potatoes are among the vegetables with a low GI, which is considered to be 55 or less. Russet potatoes, on the other hand, rank as “high” on the GI scale (foods with a GI of 70 or more are considered to be high).10
How Magnesium Affects Your Metabolism
You might’ve noticed that some of the foods mentioned above have significant amounts of magnesium. That’s a good thing in general, but it’s a very good thing if you’re looking for energy boosting vegetables.
Magnesium is vital to helping the body function as it should. The majority of the magnesium in the body – between 50-60 percent – is in the bones. The rest is in the muscles and other soft tissue.11
In order for the body to be able to metabolize fats and carbs into energy, a lot of different chemical reactions need to take place. These reactions can’t happen without magnesium. ATP (adenosine triphosphate), for example, is a molecule that is critical to metabolism. It needs magnesium in order to be able to do its job.12
Vegetables that are high in magnesium include:
- Swiss chard
- Lima beans
- Green peas
- Sweet corn
- Acorn squash
What Role Does Hydration Play In Maintaining Energy Levels?
It’s not only important to eat healthy (which means mixing in vegetables) in order to maintain energy, you also need to stay hydrated. The cells need to be properly hydrated in order to obtain energy from food. If they’re not, you’ll feel tired as a result.14
A lot of vegetables can help you stay hydrated because they contain plenty of water. These are just a few examples.
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce15
Eat Your Veggies
As you can see, when it comes to vegetables that give you energy, you’ve got lots of options. Why not incorporate some of these energy boosting vegetables into your daily meals? Grab a spinach salad or enjoy some tasty black beans to fuel up and keep going through your busy days with the help of healthy, delicious veggies.
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