Three Reasons Leafy Greens Will Help Your Flexibility (Plus, Flexy Smoothie Recipe!)

Picture above: PoleBody Pops! Grab the recipe for free in the PoleBody Starter Guide.

I'm always nudging my clients to eat more greens, and if you've checked out the recipes around the website, you've probably noticed that I try to sneak some leafy goodness into a lot of them. We all know that we should be eating more vegetables--and, I'd venture to say, specifically more leafy greens--because we know they're good for us. What you may not have realized is that those greens can be incredibly beneficial for supporting your pole goals--specifically, your flexibility.

But first, your friendly reality check: eating a few handfuls of spinach isn't going to instantly give you oversplits. In the same way that regular training is essential for building and maintaining flexibility, consistently eating in a way that supports your pole goals is what will help you see change. We have opportunities every day to either support our flexibility training with food--or to hinder it. Let's talk about some of the reasons leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, and chard (plus many, many others) can help you reach those flexy goals of yours

Leafy greens often have high water content.

A hydrated body is a flexible body. Keep your joints happy and mobile by ensuring that you're both consuming plenty of water every day and eating foods with high water content. Spinach has an especially high water content, so add a handful to your next salad or smoothie to benefit from the hydration.

Leafy greens are generally high in Vitamin C.

We always hear about taking vitamin C for colds, but it also plays a role in collagen production in the body. Collagen is a protein that's found in connective tissue, so it helps keep your ligaments and tendons strong and healthy, along with the cartilage in your joints. (Plus it keeps your skin and hair looking great. Bonus!). Make a batch of kale chips and get in some extra vitamin C!

Leafy greens help minimize inflammation in the body.

Inflammation in the body (and in the joints) is not good for flexibility (or your health in general), and things like dietary choices, stress, lack of sleep, overtraining (or, on the flip side, an overly sedentary lifestyle) and more can make it a pretty common issue for many of us. (We're talking here about chronic inflammation, instead of the the kind of acute inflammation that pops up when you, say, sprain your wrist. Though that's not great for your flexibility practice either!). Luckily, making some tweaks to your diet can help protect against inflammation--and of course, that's where leafy greens come in. Choose darker greens (kale, spinach, collards, and even broccoli) for extra inflammatory-fighting power and keep that body happy and flexible.

Want to start incorporating those leafy greens into your diet today? Try this smoothie recipe to reap those flexy benefits!

Between the high water content veggies, the big dose of vitamin C, the healthy fats, and the inflammation-fighting ginger, this smoothie is the perfect addition to your flexibility training practice. This recipe makes about two 12 ounce servings (perfect snacks to share), or sip the whole thing yourself for a healthy meal. You can even toss in some hemp seeds for a little extra protein.

Strawberry Ginger Smoothie for Flexibility
1 cup fresh spinach
1 stalk celery
2 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 banana
1 tsp. ground ginger (or up to 1 Tbs. fresh grated ginger), to taste
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
up to 1 cup filtered water (added as needed for blending)

Combine all ingredients in blender, adding water in 1/4 cup increments as needed to blend well. Blend until smooth and enjoy!