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10 Ways a Plant-Based Diet Helps In Your Athletic Performance

Posted on April 20 2021

10 Ways a Plant-Based Diet Helps In Your Athletic Performance | Roshni Sanghvi


If you have watched the Game Changer, you know how a plant- based diet is beneficial to help you take your sport to the next level.

Express recovery and a proper nutrition are essential for professional athletes who are always looking to boost their performance and set new records. The difference between you and the first runner up could really come down to a few extra practice session includes because of faster recovery. Nutrition as we know plays a crucial role in recovery.

Of late, swearing off meat and adopting vegan or vegetarian diets is highly trending among elite athletes from Olympians, tennis champions, and NFL linebackers. This switch's primary reason among so many athletes is attributed to improved performance, quicker recovery, and long- term well-being.

Be it Virat Kohli from India or Arnold Schwarzenegger from the world of body building, everyone is dipping their toes towards a plant- based lifestyle.

The relation between sports performance and a strict vegan diet has been an area that has attracted scientific interest for numerous years now. Such data suggest that vegans can endure and even sustain higher physical loads for longer durations and recover from physical stress more rapidly. It supports the belief that plant-based diets have higher compatibility with peak performance sports.

After all, meat is acidic and hard to digest by the body. Besides this, animal protein from dairy is carcinogenic. Dairy consumption is not only strongly linked with cancer, but also arthritic, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Read this blog to know more:

On the contrary, the presence of a high level of antioxidants in plants can be beneficial in alleviating chronic inflammation. Inflammation slows the recovery process by the body. This translates to more time spend on the bench, VS on the court.

Here are 10 ways an athlete can benefit from a plant-based diet:

  1. It is a proven fact that a vegan diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular, lowers blood pressure, reverses atherogenic lesions, and overall increased cardiac output.

  2. A plant-based is naturally high in fiber, keeping the blood vessels unclogged and cholesterol at bay.

  3. A whole food plant-based diet is also low in saturated and trans fat. Therefore, it improves blood viscosity or thickness and helps more oxygen reach the muscles, which improves athletic performance.

  4. A vegan diet helps improve glycogen storage in muscle cells and improve insulin sensitivity. This is because the fiber in the gut is converted to something called SCFA's. SCFA's boost insulin sensitivity.

  5. Switching to a plant-based diet alone helps drop body fat percentage without the need to count calories. Thus leading to leaner body composition.

  6. A plant-based diet provides enough protein without inadequacy. A diet rich in legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provides all the protein that an athlete needs.

  7. Increased nitrate consumption, present in plants, can help with cardiovascular health, control of blood glucose, maintenance of muscle, cognitive functions, and memory.

  8. Plant-based diets improve arterial flexibility and diameter, leading to better blood flow. It is unachievable with the consumption of even a single high-fat meal.

  9. This diet helps decrease inflammation and speed the body's recovery after intensive training and workout sessions.

  10. Many veggies prevent muscle damage and soreness and possess anti-lipidemic and anti-microbial properties.

    Plant-Based Diet for Muscle Gain and Strength.

    A well-balanced plant-based diet can provide the energy and nutrients needed for efficient training and muscle growth. With that kind of a goal in mind, there are a few things to consider about your nutrition:

    • Macronutrient ratios that fit your specific body and goals
    • Understanding your caloric needs, and
    • Having a proper exercise regimen to accompany your nutrition strategy.

    Here are a few sample meal plans for gaining muscle mass on a plant- based diet:

    The most important thing to focus on along the way is to simultaneously heal your body while building muscle mass and improving your game.

    But Where Do You Get Your Protein?

    "Since plants are made up of structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth's largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants."- Dr. McDougall.

    Eating a well-rounded plant-based diet with a healthy mix of beans, nuts, and seeds is a healthy way of getting more than enough protein from vegan foods.

    Additionally, if you are trying to build muscle or just concerned about your protein levels, there's always the option for plant-based protein powders, although most people won't need them. Plant- based protein powders are easy to digest and offer all the amino acids.

    26 Vegan Protein Brands That Are Available in India

    Like with any other form of diet, eating a wide variety of foods and making smart choices to include some protein with every meal is important.

    I also highly insist working with a nutritionist who will calculate your daily protein requirements and accordingly customise a meal plan to help you meat the same. When working with my clients, my team and I understand the clients lifestyle, digestibility, food and taste preferences, financial availability and customise a plan to help them reach their daily protein goal.

    Unless you are an athlete consciously looking to gain muscle mass, you do not need to worry about getting enough protein's through your diet. As long as you are eating enough, you will get enough proteins in.

    Lessons from The Game Changers.

    A new documentary on Netflix posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

    From Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris, cycling champion Dotsie Bausch to top distance runner Scott Jurek and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the documentary bring everyone together.

    It records several professional athletes who accredit getting faster and stronger, recovering from injury more quickly after adopting a plant-based diet. The film aims to present the rationale that a vegan diet is not only the most beneficial diet for long-term health but also an athletic edge.

    'The Game Changers' imparts stories of both long-term health on a vegan diet and immediate improvements in the performance of the athletes present in it. The documentary very simply tried to show through those world-class and elite athletes how athletes on a plant- based diet not only survive, but thrive.

    Famous Plant-based Athletes.

    Though the list is growing with everyday here are a few names.

    USA Cycling National Cycling Champion Dotsie Bausch, tennis champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek and Fiona Oakes, Olympic Weight Lifter Kendrick Farris, Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton.

    Derrick Morgan of the NFL's Tennessee Titans, figure skating champion Meagan Duhamel, MMA fighter James Wilks, Ultraman and Ironman athlete Rich Roll, Pro NBA star Kyrie Irving, Australian sprinter Morgan Mitchell, Olympic skier Seba Johnson, former bodybuilder Patrik Baboumian and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and professional soccer player Heather Mitts.

    Supplements for Plant-Based Athletes.

    It is generally believed that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements. Watch this:

    But an athlete's requirements are higher than normal people, thus, it is always good to add some supplements to make sure you have all the required nutrients in your body.

    NOTE: This is not specific to a plant- based diet, but general recommendation.

    Supplements suggested: Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, long-chain Omega 3s, Iodine, Iron, Calcium, glycine, creatine, and Zinc are few such supplements recommended by experts.

    Ethical advantages of Plant-based Diets.

    Plant-based diets are beneficial compared to meat heavy diets due to its low carbon footprint. If you would read the statistics on water and land wasted for animal agriculture, you would switch to a plant- based diet.

    The foods and fluids procured in a plant-based diet are purely from plants and vegetables, and there is no killing or harm to any animal.

    Whether you are an endurance athlete or strength based athlete, you can get your own customised diet chart by filling up the form below.

    Let's Just Talk. No Obligations.

    I do free consultations every Tuesday's and Thursday's. Either way you will get some actionable tips to reach your fitness goals faster.

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    author-bio

    Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada. She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.

    Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.

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