Athletes are always trying to increase performance while reducing injuries. Getting this desired outcome is usually determined by two things: exercise and diet. Since exercise is under most athletes professional obligation, the focus turns to diet, which is often less restrictive and left up to personal choice.
This is where sports companies and the meat industry swoop in to try and convince people that what they should be eating to reach that oh-so-desired maximum performance is, spoil alert, meat protein. Although, what both these industries have in common is that they benefit from what they tell you and the new diet fads they create. In return, athletes are left with immense pressure to meet performance targets even if these so-called diets don't work.
It can honestly get tiring, always trying the next supplement, diet, or workout, only to come up short. Traditionally, the diet of choice has been eating a meat-heavy diet, with chicken, brown rice and broccoli. Research now suggests that adopting a plant-based diet may have been the solution all along.
It does seem to make sense, as plant-based foods do digest a lot quicker than animals products. This allows the athlete to utilize the nutrients earlier on, rather than having the food sit in their stomachs. After working out athlete’s need high-quality sources of nutrition fast so that they can replenish their body. If not their muscles can become inflamed, leading to swelling that can cause pain and/or injury.
Foods that should be avoided are ones that are high in sugar and sodium, along with highly-processed foods made with artificial flavourings.
This includes, but is not limited to:
You can probably begin to see what types of foods might help with inflammation (vegetables, grains, and fruits), but here is a list to get you started:
Overall, consuming less saturated fats and food high in cholesterol will increase your cardiovascular health, while inflammatory foods will also increase their energy levels. So by switching to a vegan diet, you can increase performance, while reducing injuries and recovery time.
Take a look at the Forest Green Rovers site, they are completely vegan and carbon neutral. This team shows that it can be done with great results.
Switching to a vegan-based diet doesn’t have to be restrictive, this feeling stems from stepping away from the status quo. The only thing that will change by switching to a plant-based diet is your health for the better.
Do you think athletes who adopt a vegan diet set a good example for the rest of society? Let us know in the comments below :)