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From ace cricketer and Indian skipper Virat Kohli to the Serbian tennis sensation Novak Djokovic, many elite athletes have switched to a plant-based diet. And many athletes like the have proved the performance-enhancing power of plant-based foods.
All the athletes who switched their diet have talked about how adopting a vegan or plant-based diet has helped them improve their game including recovery time and digestion. It is often believed that if you want to be a sportsperson or bodybuilder, you need animal protein, plant protein is considered inferior. But this is not the case and these athletes have been campaigning for veganism.
The right nutrition is crucial for any athlete. The effect of nutrition should be measured in 3 areas:
Long-term health is very important to athletes. Plant-based dietary choices are good for improving long-term health. Your daily diet determines your overall well being and performance. However, for an athlete, pre-workout or pre-event meals also matter. Meals high in fats can make you lethargic. Such meals aren’t great fuel for your muscles. An athlete should consume a meal that offers an optimum balance of protein and carbs so that the digestion doesn’t suffer and the athlete can enjoy high energy levels.
Plant foods are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. This is why they can help in speedy recovery post-workout. When athletes perform rigorous workouts and activities with high energy, more free radicals are produced that can cause inflammation. Vegan and a plant-based diet have antioxidant properties that help in minimizing the inflammation.
Here are 5 reasons why you have seen your favorite athlete adopting plant-based diets:
1. Athletes are also exposed to heart diseases
Yes, athletes are also vulnerable when it comes to cardiovascular diseases. According to a study, nearly 44% of the endurance cyclists and runners were affected by coronary plaques. Plant-based diets are great for improving the health of the heart and strengthens it by overturning coronary plaques. Plant-based foods also help in reducing weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
2. Safety from inflammation
Athletes are involved in high-intensity activities that demand more energy. This can result in increased production of free radicals that can damage the cells. It causes inflammation in your body and it can have adverse effects on the athletic performance of athletes. It causes pain and slows recovery. Consuming meat and a rise in cholesterol levels can fan the flames. Plant-based foods are full of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and prevent cell damage. They reduce muscle fatigue and improve performance by bringing down the level of inflammation.
3. Helps in improving athletic performance
Plant-based diet enriches you with various nutrients that crucial for performing at the field and gyms. Plant-based foods are often low in saturated fats and mostly cholesterol-free. They not only help in enhancing the viscosity of the blood but also improve the supply of oxygen to the muscles. This helps in enhancing athletic performance.
4. Enhances aerobic capacity and endurance
Plant-based diets are fiber-rich and have a low-fat profile. This trait helps in reducing body fat. Reduced body fat has been linked to enhanced aerobic capacity. The ability of your body to use oxygen as a fuel for workouts is known as aerobic capacity. Various studies prove that athletes who follow a plant-based diet have improved endurance because of an increase in the VO2 max- the maximal oxygen that can be utilized by the athletes during their workout or performance.
5. Improves blood flow to the muscles
Studies have revealed that plant-based diets can be helpful in recuperating arterial flexibility and caliber. This improves blood flow. According to a study, a meal high in fats that included egg McMuffins and sausage damaged arterial functions for a lot of hours.
These are some of the prominent reasons why you’re seeing a switch in the diet pattern of famous athletes. Plant protein has the capacity to fuel recovery after the workout as it is rich in essential amino acids. Plant-based foods are a great source of various nutrients that help in improving athletic performance and building strength and endurance.
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