Sure, you have probably heard that same old hoopla all your life that in order to build strong bones and to stay fit, you need to drink plenty of dairy and eat plenty of meat – and nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, even athletes can thrive on an entirely vegan/plant based diet!
There are quite a few benefits of choosing a plant-based lifestyle over one that is laden with meat and dairy derived from our animal friends, and those benefits aren’t all just for you – living a plant-based lifestyle also helps decrease global warming, helps to save the lives of animals, and plays an important role in keeping our environment’s air clean.
In addition to all of the wonderful ways your plant-based diet can help save the world, you can personally enjoy an abundance of benefits too. Here are other benefits you can take advantage of as a plant-based athlete:
Less Internal Body Clog-Up
When you’re eating lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, your body gets a nice scrub down as the food is digested and the fiber does its job. And all that fiber helps to optimize digestion and minimize belly bloat, which can set you back when you are training. Leaving out the animal products also keeps your veins nice and clean so you don’t have to worry about cholesterol buildup and clogged arteries. When you’re light and clean inside, you can be quick and impressive during competition.
Great Cardiovascular Health
Because plant-based diet is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, you can count on maintaining great cardiovascular health with ease. An optimal cardiovascular system helps to ensure that you can run longer, jump higher, and train harder on a regular basis with quick recovery times between workouts.
When your cardiovascular system is in good shape, it is easier to breath, maintain stamina, and even stay motivated throughout your workouts and competitions. So load up on those carbohydrate and protein-rich meals, such as a hummus and avocado sandwich or a tempting bowl of chili, before you head out to train for the day.
Increased Overall Endurance
Many athletes attribute their plant-based diets to increased endurance, and in turn better performance, within their given sports. Endurance if required for just about any sport from ultimate fighting (think Mac Danzig), to running races (ever hear of Rich Roll?), so its importance is not something that should be overlooked.
Luckily, optimal endurance is easy to achieve while maintaining a healthy plant-based lifestyle. The extra endurance makes it easy to keep up with all the happenings of life without having to sacrifice important training time.
Ease of Physique Maintenance
Because plant-based diets are not loaded with saturated fats, it’s pretty easy to maintain the physique you need to compete as an athlete. Whether you ride bikes and you need to stay thin, or you want a bulky yet toned physique to compete in karate, plant-based foods can help you get there with ease.
Of course, a well balanced diet is important – filling up on sugary snacks and soda is probably not going to provide you with the results that you want. Plenty of grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies is the base of any diet that promotes health long-term.
The truth is that there are nothing but benefits to look forward as a plant-based athlete. And as a strong, fit vegan, you can be sure that your lifestyle rubs off on others which only serves to help strengthen the world that we live in. Oh, and your breath is sure to stay fresh throughout the day too!
Lead Image Source: Simon Thalmann/Flickr