Wondering if going plant-based will hamper your athletic ability? You may be surprised at how many professional athletes have given up animal products and are still excelling in their chosen sport.
Plant-based diets are popular among runners. But if you prefer more intense or heavy sports, you don’t need to be afraid of giving up meat and dairy.
Carl Lewis (9x Olympic gold-medal sprinter), David Haye (world champion heavyweight boxer), and Patrick Baboumian (Germany’s Strongest Man) are all strong, extremely athletic and advocates of a plant-based diet.
If you’ve been considering it, here’s what you need to know to create a healthy plant-based diet that’s suitable for whatever sport you’re doing.
Keep Your Protein Level Up
Whether you’re playing a round of golf, an athlete running track, or a busy professional, your body needs protein. Protein helps you to stay healthy, creates new cells, and provides the fuel your body needs for energy and oxygen to travel in your blood throughout your body.
You’ll find that vegetables like broccoli, spinach, green peas, mushrooms, asparagus, brussel sprouts and chickpeas contain high levels of protein. Snacking on nuts like almonds or pistachios and seeds like chia seeds or pumpkin seeds will help you to hit your daily protein target.
Packaged Facts reports that more American consumers are also getting protein from plant-centric protein sources produced by food manufacturers, including plant-based substitutes for animal products such as dairy products and meat. Most notably, when comparing 2019 trends to 2020 trends, Packaged Facts found that 28% of consumers ate more protein from plant sources; 24% of consumers ate more plant-based dairy products; and 17% of consumers ate more plant-based meat alternatives.
Nevertheless, if you still feel that you’re not getting enough protein from your diet on a daily basis, you can always supplement your diet with a vegan protein shake.
Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Fat
It’s important to include healthy fats into your diet, as they help with brain function, protect the organs and help with hormone production. Healthy fats can also help to lower bad cholesterol levels.
There are a number of foods that you can add to your diet to make sure that you’re getting enough monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You can add avocado and olives to your lunch, add walnuts to your breakfast or add some cacao nibs to your midday snack.
These foods are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but you can also add a vegan Omega 3 or 6 supplement to your diet.
Supplement with Vitamin B12
When you’re on a plant-based diet, it’s important to take a vitamin B12 supplement as it’s not produced naturally in the body. But it does play a vital role in red blood cell formation, helps create DNA and prevents megaloblastic anemia and brain atrophy.
Once you’re on a plant-based diet, you’ll have to make sure to add foods that are rich in vitamin B12, as you’re no longer eating meat. Foods like fortified breakfast cereals, tempeh, nutritional yeast, mushrooms and fortified plant milk will help you to get a good dose of vitamin B12.
However, you may want to add a vegan or vegetarian vitamin B12 supplement to complement your diet. This will help to prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Whatever sport you take part in, going plant-based can give you an energy boost that improves your performance. Whether you’re pushing your body to the limit in a HIIT workout, or analyzing your golf GPS to figure out your next shot, a plant-based diet can give you the same benefits as a meat-based diet. Just make sure to hit your protein count, stick to healthy fats and get your daily vitamin B12.
About the Guest Blogger
Jordan Fuller is a sports enthusiast. He's been a golfer since he was a kid, and now he retired, he never stops there. He is now mentoring and coaching golf. He also owns a golf publication site, https://www.golfinfluence.com/, where he shares some tips and tricks.