RSSGreen vegetables revitalize tired kids

Posted on Tue, 14 Apr 15

Green vegetables revitalize tired kids

Fatigue is very common in children and there are few effective treatments. But a new study has found green leafy vegetables fantastic for improving physical and mental energy.

Problematic fatigue affects up to 26% in children and up to 46% of teenagers and can be linked to decreased concentration and school absenteeism. Although there are many possible causes of fatigue, it is often unexplained, under-diagnosed and poorly treated.

One major reason for otherwise unexplained fatigue may simply be a poor quality diet, with many children not eating enough fruits and vegetables and therefore deficient in micronutrients essential for normal physical and mental energy. 

A research group from the University Medical Centre Groningen, The Netherlands have previously found dietary advice based on foods rich in micronutrients can improve immunity, reduce infections and normalize subclinical hypothyroidism in children (1,2). And a new study suggests it may be excellent for fatigue as well.

In the study, children (2-18 years old) with unexplained symptoms of fatigue were advised to eat a nutrient-rich diet for 3-months (3). Together with their parents they received dietary advice from a pediatrician, which was comprised of four key components: green vegetables (5 times a week), beef (3 times a week), whole milk (200 ml daily), and full-fat butter.

Children who followed the diet showed a significant decrease in the need to sleep. They slept better through the night and took fewer naps. And an analysis of the dietary components found that the intake of green vegetables appeared to have the strongest impact on fatigue, especially cognitive fatigue.

Compliance increased to 32% in the control group but was significantly higher at 85% in the intervention group, perhaps because the children eating nutrient-rich food felt better.

“As the prevalence of fatigue in children is high, therapeutic options are limited, and there is little research on the impact of nutrition, this study is highly clinically relevant” commented the studies investigators.

“We saw a clear clinical improvement in fatigue, which was also noticed by the children’s parents. Children seemed healthier and more resilient, and their parents observed less need to sleep or rest and more energy for daily activities. Moreover, the diet is an elegant, safe, low-cost, and easy treatment for fatigue and can be combined with therapy for other medical conditions.”


  1. Ten Velde, L.G.H.; Leegsma, J.; van der Gaag, E.J. Recurrent upper respiratory tract infections in children; the influence of green vegetables, beef, whole milk and butter. Food Nutr. Sci. 2013, 4, 71.
  2. Kuiper, M.W.J.; van der Gaag, E.J. Subclinical hypothyroidism in children can normalize after changes in dietary intake. Food Nutr. Sci. 2012, 3, 411–416.
  3. Steenbruggen TG, Hoekstra SJ, van der Gaag EJ. Could a change in diet revitalize children who suffer from unresolved fatigue? Nutrients. 2015 Mar 13;7(3):1965-77.

Tags: Green Leafy Vegetables, Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue

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