It’s a widely accepted scientific fact that exercise increases our macro and micronutrients needs significantly. Most of us have a handle on our macronutrient intake (carbs, protein, and fat), but so many of us neglect our micronutrient intake, in some cases quite severely.
Let’s face it…Eating our vegetables is one of those things that’s easier said than done. Well, hopefully this list will help. Here are 11 vegetables that you should definitely be eating if you workout! If you’re eating all or most of these, you’re doing pretty good!
1 | Sweet Potato
Sweet Potatoes are especially unique because they provide a substantial amount of simple carbohydrates, fiber, and a wide array of micronutrients. Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A, various B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese.
2 | KALE
Kale is extremely rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and especially Vitamin K (K is for Kale!). It also contains quite a few essential minerals, most notably, Manganese and Copper. Compared to other similar leafy green vegetables, Kale contains unusually high levels of Vitamins, so it is often considered a “Super Food”. You can eat it raw, juice it up into a shake, or steam it. Cooking your vegetables at high temperatures is never recommended due to the potential for nutrient loss.
3 | beets
Beets are not particularly high in the majority of the essential Vitamins and Minerals like Sweet Potatoes or Kale, but do contain a high amount of naturally occurring Nitrates. Nitrates can easily convert into Nitric Oxide upon consumption and increased Nitrate intake is associated with enhanced exercise performance. Beets can be ingested in the form of whole beets or beet juice.
4 | SPINACH
Spinach has a similar nutrient profile to Kale, though with lower levels of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A, on average. Still, Spinach could almost be considered a super food and happens to also be pretty high in naturally occurring Nitrates (like Beets), so if you exercise regularly you really should eat Spinach often.
5 | AVOCADO
Avocados actually aren’t vegetables. Technically they’re fruits, but they go great on salads so why not include them on this list!? Avocados are one of the few fruits that contain critical micronutrients such as Vitamin K, Vitamin E, and Magnesium, and are also a great source of healthy unsaturated fats.
6 | swiss chard
Swiss Chard is a leafy green vegetable, though unlike Spanish and Kale, and is particularly high in Vitamin A and Vitamin K. Other than that, it provides a fairly typical array of additional Vitamins and Minerals and makes for an excellent addition to your daily salad.
7 | carrots
Carrots are particularly high in Vitamin A which is actually the reason they’re orange. They’re also an excellent source of Fiber and contain slightly more simple sugars than the average vegetable, making them an excellent addition to your post-workout meal.
8 | broccoli rabe
Broccoli Rabe, though not the most popular choice, is no doubt one of the healthiest. It has astoundingly high levels of Vitamin A, C, E, and K, and as well as several essential minerals including Manganese, Copper, Potassium, and Phosphorus. Naturally, Broccoli Rabe is a little bitter, but can be easily seasoned or added to a large dish to alter the taste.
9 | asparagus
Asparagus is known for its detoxification benefits, courtesy of the amino acid Asparagine which cause you to urinate more frequently. It also contains high level of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Folate and goes great with Steak (for the carnivores out there)!
10 | scallions
Scallions are related to Onions, but unlike Onions, they’re rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Scallions also provide a broader array of essential minerals and are just all around way better than Onions. Ditch the Onions and group some Scallions!
11 | collard greens
Collard Greens may be better known to those from the South, but if you’re not eating them, you’re really missing out! Collard Greens are higher in Vitamin K, on average, than any other vegetable on this list! It’s also a hell of a source of Vitamin A (almost as much as Carrots) and contains at least some level of literally every other Vitamin or Mineral.