Seven Benefits of a Vegan Diet for Athletes
Wondering why more and more athletes are running towards a vegan diet?
Owing to their physical engagements, athletes need more protein intake than common people do and this is the reason they often face the problem of curating a nutritious diet that excludes non-vegetarian food but has the required nutrients to sustain them.
Nevertheless, with the totalitarian overhaul of the food industry, it has ceased to be a concern. Gone are the days where the only rich source of protein would be either chicken or egg. Nowadays the food market is replete with cheap alternatives such as black beans, corn, lima beans, hemp seeds, teff, Chinese cabbage, artichokes, quinoa, oats, etc. that are capable of fulfilling the nutritional requirements of our body.
There are several benefits of going vegan and choosing a completely plant-based food consumption. Before we delve into the details, let us understand what being vegan means since it is often confused with being vegetarian.
Who is a Vegan?
A vegan is a person who adopts a lifestyle that excludes all form of animal cruelty or exploitation whereas a vegetarian could be anyone who does not consume any meat, poultry, fish, game, or any by-products of animal slaughter. While food is only a part of the Vegan lifestyle, being vegetarian is all about eating food that excludes meat.
Benefits of Being a Vegan Athlete
Being an athlete, there are innumerable benefits of choosing a Vegan lifestyle over one that is loaded with meat and dairy products. One of the most prominent advantages of choosing a plant-based lifestyle, both for athletes and non-athletes, is that it reduces pollution and global warming.
Enlisted below are several other benefits of being a Vegan Athlete:
1. Increased Sustainability and Endurance
Endurance is a must trait for any sportsperson be it a weight lifter or a soccer player. A study conducted on the influence of a vegan diet on athletes at the Yale University, Belgium reveals that Vegan athletes could be two to three folds better in terms of strength and endurance. This is just one of the many studies that have similar findings that strict vegans are able to endure and sustain physical burdens for longer than their non-vegan counterparts. A Vegan diet rich in fibre and micronutrients can greatly help an athlete to achieve the optimal endurance needed to perform better.
2. Ease of Maintaining Fitness
Since vegan food has comparatively less saturated fat, it enables the athletes to maintain an appealing physique which is both good for their commercial goodwill and competitiveness as an agile competent is hard to fight. Meat consumption is likely to expose the consumer to a host of heart diseases owing to its saturated fat and high cholesterol content. High cholesterol levels can increase the viscosity of blood and intensify an inflammatory sensation in the body that can result in pain and affect the player’s performance adversely. Some athletes have intentionally adopted Vegan diets for weight management purposes and to meet their carb needs.
And see: Why Commit to a Vegan Lifestyle.
3. Saves you the guilt of joining the Band Wagon late
More and more athletes are now joining the vegan community. If there is still someone who is confused about the compatibility of being a vegan and an athlete, he should quickly run through the plethora of personal accounts of athletes who have recently turned vegan due to different reasons. Some of the prominent athletes are Venus Williams, Luis Hamilton, Kyrie Erving, and Germane Defoe. Others are joining the trend soon. Did Alex Morgan go vegan? Find out yourself.
4. Lowered chances of Internal Clogging
The abundance of fibre and anti-oxidants in a plant-based diet helps to neutralise the free radicals that cause fatigue. With food rich in fibre content, the body gets the much-required scrub that relieves it of the toxins. The anti-oxidants help to minimise bloating in the body by improving the digestion process. It also ensures that the veins and arteries are not clogged up with cholesterols. The cleaner the veins, the more fit the body and the better it can utilise the body oxygen for physical activities.
5. A better running Cardiovascular System
Avoiding meat in the diet saves one from the host of heart diseases and obesity. Vegan food has more carbohydrates, fibre, and phytochemicals than omnivorous diets. The consumption of phytochemical-rich food and micronutrient helps to mitigate the ill effects of excess fat consumption and ensures a smooth running cardiovascular system. A smooth cardiovascular system helps to ensure that you are physically more active and train harder with quick recovery. A good cardiovascular system not only ensures better stamina and endurance but also keeps you in a good mood and motivated throughout.
6. Reduced chances of illness
Vegan diets are known to be rich in micronutrients that build the body’s immunity strong enough to fight diseases. Intense training schedules often clamp down on the immune system of the body and make it more prone to catching infections. Physical exercises lead the body to lose a lot of iron but with micronutrients in vegan food such as fibre, iron, zinc iodine, omega-3, vitamin B-12, and creatine, the body is better equipped to endure post-training stress.
7. Added Goodwill
Along with the above-mentioned health benefits, athletes who adopt a vegan lifestyle are held in high esteem by sports fans. The fact that they deliver their moral obligations besides a good performance on the field, adds more charm to their personality. In general, people are more likely to associate themselves with humans that are sensitive to the sufferings of not only their fellow human friends but all the living creatures on earth.
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