8 Most Iron-Rich Greens for Preventing Mid-Day Fatigue

Lags or dips in energy in the middle of the day have become a common occurrence in modern day society, and have become a popular complaint among many. (1) This is characterized by a gradual, or sometimes sudden, drop in motivation, mood, and physical capability. It is also usually accompanied by hunger and cravings.

Many individuals wonder why they often suffer these “mid-day lulls,” often considering their diet or lifestyle as a major factor.

While the cause of these drops in energy are often a result of multiple factors, like a high caffeine consumption, overeating simple sugars, or even a lack of sleep, there is also one dietary factor that often goes overlooked by many.

If you’re not taking in enough iron in your diet, this can lead to a big drop in energy, both throughout the day and overall. (2)

This is because iron is a vital nutrient in helping provide the body with the energy it needs, and making sure this energy remains constant throughout your day.

How Iron Helps Provide Energy

Iron is considered one of the many ‘essential micronutrients’ to take in through the diet. This means that, while it doesn’t provide any direct energy, in terms of calories, it is important in helping the body function and must be taken in through food, as the body can’t create its own. (3)

The way iron helps in maintaining proper bodily functions is through helping in creating and maintaining red blood cells in the body. (4) These red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen around the blood and into the cells that need it.

These can include cells in the brain, in the muscles, or any of the organs in the body, making red blood cells incredibly important for ensuring each cell can function properly.

So, while it may not seem like an important factor at first, if you’re not getting enough iron in your diet, it can indirectly affect not only your energy levels, but also your overall health.

This makes iron-rich foods very important part of a healthy diet, and a good way to fight off sudden drops in energy during the day. But, many can find it difficult to get in enough iron if they have a busy schedule or are always on the go.

For this reason, we put together a list of quick and easy foods that are rich in iron and can be eaten as a snack, can be added to almost any meal, or can be included in a healthy, iron-rich shake. This way, even people who have a hectic lifestyle can get in enough iron in their diet and keep their energy levels high all day, along with improving their health and well-being.

8 Most Iron-Rich Greens for Preventing Mid-Day Fatigue

1. Spinach

Spinach is often a common inclusion to many healthy meal plans and diets. This is for good reason too, as spinach not only contains a high amount of other nutritious ingredients like Vitamins C and D, iodine and Vitamin A.

These can all help in protecting the immune system, eye health and promoting recovery from exercise. This food is also a common ingredient in most shakes, which means it can easily email added to your own ready-made shakes or meals. (5)

2. Peas

Peas are another highly praised food that can be prepared and eaten on the go with ease. They have both iron and Vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron, making it an especially good choice for those looking to optimize iron intake through their diet. (6)

Just like beans, they can also be easily added to a shake or to a meal, and make an especially good option to have with spinach.

3. Kale

Kale has gained a popular following among health food groups over the last few years. This is because male can be prepared and eaten in many different ways, with their addition to shakes being one of the most common.

Along with having iron, this food is also extremely high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C for added iron absorption and health benefits. It is also very low in calories, which can be useful for those looking to lose weight but maintain energy levels. (7)

Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and is noted for its supportive role in eye health. It has the highest lutein content out of more than 5,000 foods listed in the USDA database, making it an essential component of any healthy diet. it also provides cardiovascular support, in addition to lowering cholesterol levels.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is another food that matches many of the benefits of kale, but also has a little more fiber to help with keeping bowel movements regular and nutrient absorption. (8)

This food is also usually a little easier to find in most grocery stores and comes a little cheaper than kale, which can make it a useful budget option for those who are on a tight budget.

5. Swiss Chard

Studies show that swiss chard can aid in the body’s natural detoxification process, which can speed up the metabolism and burn more calories over time. (9)

Swiss chard is also known for its ability to aid blood sugar regulation due to its flavonoid content, namely its syringic acid content which inhibits the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars. When fewer carbs are broken down at once, blood sugar remains stable, which also translates to more stable energy levels.

6. Beet Greens

When it comes to iron content, most dark, leafy greens are usually lumped together as one, but their nutrient profiles vary slightly depending on the variety.

For instance, beet greens are almost just as good as kale in the iron department, but are a better source of calcium and magnesium. Also, beet greens are an excellent source of folate, vitamin A, C, K, copper, and potassium. (10)

7. Lemongrass

ne serving of lemongrass is roughly 35 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron. Its citrus flavor makes it ideal for soups, teas, and curries, but it can also added to juices or smoothies for added freshness.

Lemongrass is not commonly taken in large quantities, but it can still further boost your intake of vitamins A, B2, B6, C and K with regular intake. (11)

8. Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are said to be powerful healers, and have been used as a natural remedy for indigestion, gall stones and piles. They are also very high in vitamin K, providing more then 500 percent of the recommended daily value. Dandelion greens also contain high amounts of vitamin A, an antioxidant that promotes good skin, mucus membranes, and eyesight. (12)

As a source of iron, dandelion greens are not the best at 3.1mg per 100 grams, but they are great for adding variety into your salads if you’re looking to change it up.

Other Ingredients That Can Prevent Mid-Day Fatigue

Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses that can do everything from treat ailments, to prevent certain diseases from developing. However, they are also low in calories, so for people who don’t have a lot of time to spare, eating large volumes of food may be a challenge. This is where more calorie-dense nutritional powerhouses come in such as:

1. Squash Seeds

Aside from dark, leafy, green vegetables and dried fruits, many seeds also offer a good source of iron in the diet. Squash seeds are a particularly good example of this, providing not only iron,but also calcium and magnesium. It is also high in fiber and healthy fats, making this a good addition to meals or shakes.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are another seed high in iron, calcium and magnesium. But, they differ from squash seeds in their higher potassium content, which can contribute to heart health and maintain a healthy nervous system.

3. Pine Nuts

For those who enjoy the texture of nuts, pine nuts offer the highest iron content out of all of their counterparts. They also have a good amount of protein and a high calorie count, which make it a good choice for those who want to gain weight.

4. Figs

Figs are sweet and packed with nutrients, which makes them ideal additions to an on-the-go diet not just for flavor but texture as well. They also provide some iron for your shakes or meals and make for an ideal snack food when energy drops throughout the day.

High in natural sugars, figs can supply the body with quick energy, so you don’t have to wait long to feel its effects, while the dietary fiber content can ensure a stable delivery into the bloodstream for smooth, sustainable energy.

5. Raisins

Raisins are another good snack food choice for those on the go, as its sweet taste and high nutrient content makes it ideal for adding to shakes or having them on their own.

Along with being a source of iron, it is also rich in B Vitamins, which are also important in helping the body produce energy. When purchasing raisins, make sure to find the kind that is without added refined sugars as raisins are already sweet on their own.

6. Beans

Beans are called a “superfood” by many dieticians and nutrition sites. This title is well-earned too, with lots of different nutrients to help boost your physical and mental well-being. This includes a high amount of iron, protein, fiber and some other vitamins and minerals.

Their relatively bland taste also means that it can easily be added to a shake without changing it’s flavor, or mixed with sauces or other meals. If you’re not crazy about adding beans to your morning smoothie, you could also just top your salad with it for some added nutrients.

How to Make an Iron-Rich Smoothie

For many, eating a large bowl of salad is simply not practical while running from one errand to another. This is one of the realities of an on-the-go lifestyle, and is often cited by busy individuals who have little to no time to rest and recover, let alone cook a healthy, nutritious meal. However, the wear and tear on one’s health is not to be ignored, especially when we are exposed to so many environmental toxins at every turn.

Juicing or making green smoothies is a great alternative to a salad, as it provides the recommended 2-3 servings of vegetables in a compact package. A green smoothie can contain anywhere between 1 cup of leafy vegetables, to as much as 3-5 cups of leafy vegetables. Add nutritious fruits, nuts, seeds, and other whole foods and you’ve got yourself a full meal.


  • 3-5 cups of leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens, etc.)
  • 1 cup of coconut water (or plain, distilled water)
  • 1 serving of fruit (apple, banana, pineapple, berries, etc.)
  • Juice of 1 lemon for flavor
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey for added sweetness, optional
  • 4-6 ice cubes


  1. Roughly chop all your leafy vegetables. This will help your blender break down the solid components for a smoother texture.
  2. Chop your fruits into chunks and add them on top of your vegetables.
  3. Add the liquids (fruit juice, water, lemon juice) on top of the fruits and vegetables.
  4. Lastly, add the ice cubs on top so that it will weight down the other ingredients.
  5. Pulse until the ingredients mix together before setting your blender on high until a smooth texture is achieved.
  6. Pour into a glass and leave the rest for later. This green smoothie will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  7. Top with seeds and nuts for added texture. Skip this step if you want to cut down on calories.

Take Home Points

Iron deficiency in the diet can be a common, and often overlooked reason behind low energy levels throughout the day. For many, it’s also hard to take in enough iron, along with other nutrients, in their diet.

Fortunately, the above foods can offer an easy and travel-friendly way of getting in enough nutrients to keep energy levels high and improve overall health and well-being.

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