Can a Vegan Diet be Beneficial for Athletes?

Can a Vegan Diet be Beneficial for Athletes?

Healthy eating and move towards a fitter lifestyle in society has brought with it more emphasis on different diets.

Many people have moved away from eating meat and vegetarianism and veganism are increasing globally. People have begun changing their views and perspectives on the meat industry and how it affects people, animals, and the planet.

It is estimated that 9.7 million of the United States population are eating a vegan diet. Roughly 10% of the population of Australia have adopted a plant-based diet, while in the United Kingdom it is between two and three percent of the population.

Despite some of these being low numbers, the movement towards has been growing rapidly in recent times towards a vegan diet globally. There are a number of different vegan diets that people can chose from. The varied vegan diet is the most common meaning they only abstain from non-vegan products.

Whole food vegans are those that follow a fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts and seeds diet. These refrain from refined foods like sugar, white bread and friend food. This diet is nutritious and full of fibre.

Raw Vegans are some of the strictest and believe that cooking food can cause health issues. This is one which is not followed by athletes due to its lack of proteins.

The final ones are the high-carb or low carb vegan diets. These diets are often good for weight loss and management.

Some of sports biggest stars have been outspoken of their move to a vegan diet, busting the myth they need to eat meat for proteins to perform.

Novak Djokovic

One of the greatest male players in tennis to ever play the game follows a plant-based diet for optimal athleticism. He moved away from a meat-based diet to aid in extending his career at the top of his game.

The Serbian star turns 35 this year and is still ranked world number one. He has won an incredible 20 Grand Slam titles and remains top of the betting odds nearly every time he steps onto the court.

It is a lifestyle choice as much as a performance decision and he states the being conscious of what is happening in the world prompted his decision. The slaughtering of animals and farming which contributes to climate change so dramatically led him to change.

Lewis Hamilton

As an owner of a chain of vegan fast-food restaurant chains, Neat Burger, Hamilton is passionate about his decision to turn vegan.

He is an outspoken supporter of animal rights and highlights the documentary ‘What the Health’ as the catalyst for this move to a plant-based diet.

Lewis Hamilton is in some of the finest form of his life in Formula 1 and he attributes his move to veganism as helping him to be in the best shape of his life. He recovers quicker, sleeps better as well as having fewer allergies and clearer in thought.

Alex Morgan

FIFA Women’s World Cup winner Alex Morgan is a huge advocate for veganism. She has competed at the highest level of her sport, even winning Olympic Gold while eating a plant-based diet.

She chose to adopt the diet initially as she wanted to give animals a voice, it didn’t seem fair to be a pet lover and then eat other animals.

Morgan Mitchell

At the age of 21, Morgan Mitchell competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics a short two years after adopting a plant-based diet.

Having appeared on The Game Changers documentary with other vegan athletes like Scott Jurek, she was given the platform to discuss the positive impact the diet has had on her performances as an elite athlete.

“After running personal best after personal best on my vegan diet I don’t think anyone could argue anymore” Mitchell said. She is clear in her thoughts that the life of an animal and the wellbeing of the planet is of higher importance than earning money or any career path. Even if it had had a negative impact, a plant-based diet is too important to ignore for selfish reasons.

Patrik Bouboumian

Another to appear on The Game Changers documentary, Bouboumian became the first ever vegan to become Germany’s strongest man. He even won the 2012 European Powerlifting Championships in Finland, rubbishing the beliefs of a need for meat-based proteins to build strength.

He feels that the incorrect advice to each meat, eggs, and dairy to get enough protein is just feeding you dead food, you can feel more power with vegan food and gain the proteins and nutrients you need to be stronger and healthier.

Venus Williams

Venus Williams went vegan in 2011 after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, a disease which causes joint pain and fatigue.

She chose to change her diet to manage her disease without medication and continue playing tennis. It has helped her continue to perform while also feeling happier in doing the right think for animals and the planet.

Williams has become a role model to other athletes including her sister Serena, who also have adopted a plant-based diet.

The evidence continues to grow for a plant-based diet and the celebrity endorsements will no doubt help increase the movement toward vegetarianism and veganism for more.

Asheley Rice

I am a pop culture and social media expert. Aside from writing about the latest news health, I also enjoy pop culture and Yoga. I have BA in American Cultural Studies and currently enrolled in a Mass-Media MA program. I like to spend my spring breaks volunteering overseas.

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