Written by: Paola - The Vegan Booty
The plant-based diet is increasing its popularity not only among people seeking to reduce their meat consumption for health, environmental or animalistic reasons, but also among athletes seeking to improve their performance and reap the benefits of this type of diet in their training.
International athletes such as Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Patrik Baboumian among others have adopted a plant-based diet and have experienced its many benefits, making it clear that no matter what sport you practice or the level of intensity of your workouts, with a plant-based diet you'll be able to have even better results than with an omnivorous diet.
One of the most important benefits for athletes is that muscle recovery times are greatly reduced, as fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods are high in antioxidants, thus helping us fight oxidation and inflammation, which is a normal response of the body after training.
Plant-based foods have phytonutrients and a higher amount of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and a higher water content, which makes digestion easier for the body, as well as being nutritionally denser than those of animal origin.
As far as macronutrients are concerned, plant-based proteins are of excellent quality, and unlike what most people think, they are of the same nutritional value as those of animal origin and there are also complete proteins within the plant kingdom (containing the 9 essential amino acids), such as quinoa, soybeans and chia, among other foods. It should be noted that either way, the body does not need to consume all the amino acids in each meal to synthesize protein, it's enough to consume a wide variety of foods from all the food groups throughout the day to ensure an adequate intake of amino acids.
In addition to this, it must be remembered that plant-based proteins are not high on cholesterol as animal-based usually are, and their content of saturated fats is much lower, which makes them more friendly to the heart and promotes less viscous blood, This ensures a greater and better distribution of oxygen to the muscles, which translates into better performance when training.
As for carbohydrates, these are the fuel for our muscles and brain. Therefore you should consider giving priority to complex carbohydrates from complete foods such as rice, beans, chickpeas, oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, whole wheat bread, quinoa, etc. It is very important to ensure we have energy for workouts as well as for recovery and muscle building. These are also loaded with vitamins and minerals that contribute to the proper functioning of our body.
These are just some of the many benefits of eating plant-based. But it's also worth mentioning that in addition to the health and physical performance benefits, eating a diet without animal products is more sustainable for the planet and a more ethical and compassionate way of feeding ourselves. Some examples in the environmental part are that a third of the fresh water that we have we use to give livestock to drink, a quarter of the grains produced on the planet are used to feed livestock and 30% of the free space in the world is used for grazing.
And as for the ethical part, it's important to remember that food of animal origin is not necessary to have good health and optimal performance, therefore when we choose to buy them we are financing an industry with cruel practices without being strictly necessary. So if you still do not have a plant-based diet, I invite you to give it a try and decrease your consumption of animal products, I assure you that this will not only help your performance and health, but the planet and animals will also benefit from it.
Special thanks to Paola (The Vegan Booty) for sharing the Benefits of a Plant Based Diet for Athletes with us! You can get in touch with her on social media, we'll leave the links below! 😉⤵
Be sure to drink your plant-based Falcon Protein before or after working out to stay healthy.
Have faith in yourself and continue living a healthy life!
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