In recent years, vegan products are on the rise and people are showing more interest than ever. The demand for vegan products was mostly consisting of individuals back in the day but the game has changed now. The benefits of veganism have gained popularity across the world, including food scientists, media industry and athletes.
The sports industry, in particular, has largely started to shift towards plant-based products due to the surprising benefits they offer. If you compare the performances between vegan athletes and others, the former are performing better. To get a better idea about this, we’ll be discussing 5 main reasons vegan athletes perform better.
1. Various plant-based are higher in protein than meat
According to popular belief, meat is the only source of protein and cannot be substituted. However, newer research by various institutes has proved this wrong. Plant-based products can not only be used as an alternative to meat but can completely replace it. According to a 2019 German study, athletes who used meat had marginally less nutrient adequacy than the athletes who consumed plant based products with B-12 supplementation. If we have a look at an example, a cup of lentils consists of 18g of protein, which is much more than what you get from a regular hamburger.
2. Plant based diet improve heart health for endurance athletes
Various researches have linked low cholesterol and lower rates of heart disease with plant based diets. Endurance athletes often tend to face building up of plaque inside the arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart, however according to a study by ND Barnard in 2019, these effects can be reduced for athletes consuming plant based dairy diets. The performance of endurance athletes can be improved because of improved cardiovascular health, lowered blood pressure and reduced cholesterol levels.
3. Plant based diets are more beneficial for recovery
Many top athletes from around the world have voiced their support for veganism, as it has not only helped them perform well but recovery periods have been much more efficient. According to evidence from studies conducted at the Harvard Medical School, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of plants aid to shorten recovery times, reduced joint pains, lessen delayed onset muscle soreness and allow efficient healing from injuries. Enhanced blood viscosity levels have also been linked with plant based diets, hence better oxygen circulation around the body which leads enhanced healing.
4. Plant based diets reduce body fat
Lowered body fat is linked to increased aerobic capacity, which refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during maximal intensity workouts. The saturated fats are replaced by healthy vegan alternates which help to cut on the increased body fat levels. Most of the plant based diets are rich in fiber and low in fat, helping you remain full and prevent from consuming any unavoidable saturated fats.
5. Improves mental health and cognitive function
Shifting to a plant based diet improves the mental wellbeing of a person, hence increasing productivity levels. According to a GEICO study, people shifting to a low-fat vegan diet showed a significant positive change in mental health and productivity levels. Athletes not only require physical endurance but a sound healthy mind is something that gives them the edge over their competitors.
In the end, we can conclude that vegan athletes have multiple advantages which make them perform better than others. The increase in usage of plant based diets is also backed by scientific research and many top athletes like Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton and Nate Diaz are prime examples of top performing athletes on vegan diets, nullifying the myth that meat is the only major source of protein intake.