Many people feel tired at some point during the day, which can negatively affect performance and mood. One of the primary causes of low energy is a diet that doesn't include the right types of food. Sugary drinks and pastries may give you a quick boost, but the subsequent crash can bring on sudden tiredness and hunger.
The fact is that what you eat has a dramatic impact on your energy levels. Even though all foods give you energy, some vegetables are better at providing the nutrients you need to lift your energy levels and increase your alertness.
Whether you're a meat eater, vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan, make sure you include the following nutrient-rich vegetables in your diet to boost your energy throughout the day.
Sweet potatoes contain fibre and complex carbohydrates that break down slowly in your body and provide you with long-lasting energy.
Just one medium-sized sweet potato can provide up to 23 grams of carbohydrates and 3.8 grams of fiber. They're also a good source of A and C vitamins, and manganese, which helps to break down nutrients to produce energy.
Hot peppers such as habanero and jalapeno contain a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin enhances circulation, increases body temperature, and has been shown to increase metabolism and raise levels of the "feel-good" chemical endorphin. Chili peppers are also low in calories and full of antioxidants.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency. This is because iron aids in the production of red blood cells for the efficient delivery of oxygen to your cells.
Spinach is a good source of iron. However, to help your body absorb the iron, eat it with other foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, melons, and strawberries.
As well as being an excellent source of iron, spinach is high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
This delicious green vegetable is high in B vitamins, which help your body convert the food you eat into glucose, giving you more energy. Asparagus is also a good source of fiber, which slows digestion and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Sauerkraut is a type of fermented cabbage that is high in probiotics and helps your gut digest food more efficiently. As well as promoting healthy gut bacteria, it also contains choline, a chemical needed for the proper transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain and central nervous system.
Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, is another fermented cabbage dish that has similar health benefits.
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As it contains naturally occurring nitrates that help to improve blood flow throughout the body, beetroot is an excellent source of energy. Beetroot is also full of carbohydrates and fibre for a long-lasting energy boost.
Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help to your boost metabolism and energy levels. Research has found that certain sea vegetables slow down digestion, making food release its energy more slowly. Spirulina, a nutrient-dense algae, is known to improve energy levels, especially mental energy.
Sea vegetables such as nori and kombu contain a variety of trace minerals and nutrients. They also provide the body with natural sodium and contain more fiber than most fruits and vegetables.
Commonly sold as a vegetable, peas are actually part of the legume family of foods. They're often referred to as a starchy vegetable and deliver more energy than many other vegetables, as they're higher in carbohydrates, protein, and calories.
Carrots are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Magnesium is essential in the production of energy from carbohydrates. Carrots are also rich in vitamin E, which helps in the process of efficient blood transportation around the body.
Also packed with magnesium is the dark leafy vegetable kale, which many nutritionists call a "super-food." It contains high levels of vitamins and also the amino acid L-tyrosine, which can help increase energy and mental performance.
The Bottom Line
All food gives you some energy, but some foods are better at giving you a steady and sustained energy boost. The vegetables on this list are some of the most accessible, but there are plenty of other high energy veggies you should add to your diet.
The best way of increasing your energy levels is to choose a diet containing a variety of nutritious foods from different food groups. By consuming proper proportions of carbohydrates, whole grains, fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, you'll have more energy to conquer each day and live life to the max.
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