Plant Based Diets For Better Sports Performance?
Ever since we discovered a person’s diet is closely associated with their health, plant based foods have risen steadily in popularity.
Suddenly, it became imperative that people include more vegetables in their diet and fruits were synonymous with good health. For the most part, animal products became the definition of poor health.
Although research has revealed that there are nutrients that can only be obtained in huge amounts from animal products, this notion of plant based foods improving your health continues to heavily influence dietary choices.
That been said, there is also a general belief that proteins, especially those needed for athletic performance, can only be obtained from animal products.
For a long time, athletes consumed vegetables and plant foods for other purposes, and rarely considered them a source of protein.
As any performing athlete will tell you, proteins are the backbone of muscle growth and essentially athletic performance.
Because of the belief that proteins can only be obtained from animal products, many body builders and other athletes were convinced that a vegetarian diet just wasn’t meant for them.
However, recent research has proven that nothing could be further from truth. Focusing on a plant based diet will not deny you the chance to consume any essential nutrients.
The Benefits of a Plant Based Diet
People who avoid animal based products are known as vegetarians. There are varying kinds of vegetarians by the way.
There are those who completely refrain from animal products, and those who consume only specific products. One thing that all vegetarians have in common is that they completely avoid meat.
Vegans are vegetarians who do not include any animal products in their diets. They source all their nutrients from plants, such as nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, grains, spices and herbs.
Another class of vegetarians is known as Lacto vegetarians. These vegetarians include dairy products such as milk in their diets, but they are keen to avoid eggs.
Ovo vegetarians on the other hand include eggs in their diet, but don’t use any dairy products.
There are also lacto-ovo vegetarians. These include dairy products and eggs in their diet, although their diet heavily comprises of plant foods.
There are many benefits that can be gained from following a vegetarian diet, some of which include the following:
1. Improved Weight Management
If you have tried losing weight, no doubt you know how big a struggle that can be. Even after putting in as much effort as you possibly can, you may feel as though there is no change.
The imperceptible change can be more than disheartening. But one of the secret keys of losing weight fast is to refrain from eating animal products.
These greatly derail your weight loss efforts, so avoiding them should hasten your weight loss.
Additionally, you can obtain all the necessary nutrients from plants, so there is no risk of lacking in any essential nutrient.
2. Fewer Allergens
Additionally, plant based foods generally have fewer allergens than animal foods. If you have had the distaste of suffering an allergic reaction, no doubt you want to completely avoid any possible future experiences in the future by all means.
And the simplest way to avoid these reactions is by eliminating as many animal products from your diet as you possibly can.
3. Reduced Risk of Chronic Disease
Moreover, plant based foods have astonishingly low levels of bad cholesterol. Cholesterol is often associated with poor cardiovascular health.
If you have very high levels of cholesterol in your body, then the chances of falling prey to heart disease are significantly increased.
It therefore follows that in order to reduce your cholesterol levels, you should focus more on having a plant-based diet, and consuming animal products sparingly.
Nutrition and Sports
We cannot overemphasize just how closely related nutrition is with athletic performance. To illustrate this point, all you have to do is look at just how much money people are willing to spend on performance nutrition.
Billions of dollars are spent yearly on performance nutrition. What you eat directly affects how well you will perform in sports.
As already stated, for a long time, people thought that animal proteins were the only credible source of protein for athletic performers.
Because of this, plant sources of proteins were not that highly regarded. However, this is not entirely true because research proves otherwise.
Today, it is a well-known fact that you can get all essential nutrients, proteins included, solely from plants.
On the whole, plants contain plenty of nutrients that can give athletic performers an edge over their competitors.
They have antioxidants, fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, phytochemicals and vitamins. All of these nutrients are essential to athletic performance. Foods play a significant role in giving athletes endurance, power, strength, and speed.
Although you can also get the same advantage from using supplements or from other dietary sources, there is a special advantage when you obtain these nutrients from plant sources.
This is because plants help battle oxidative stress, which is not something that can be said of other food sources.
Although a vast majority of plant-based foods will generally contribute positively to athletic performance, there are some that have been proven to be especially effective.
These foods now form a large part of dietary supplements aimed at improving sport performance.
They include the following:
From time immemorial, beetroot has been regarded as a fountain of health. This is a well-deserved title given just how much the plant is beneficial to your health.
Even better is the fact that the plant can boost your athletic performance a great deal. How, you ask? For one thing, the plant has ergogenic properties.
This means that it boosts your performance while, at the same time, enabling fast recovery. Athletics and other sports are generally very intensive, and recovery can tend to be a bit slow. With beetroot, recovery is hastened much to the relief of performing athletes.
Additionally, beetroot juice has been shown to improve blood circulation to various body parts.
By extension, this means that more oxygen is supplied in a short duration. This also means that your body produces a lot more energy with much less strain.
If you can get such an advantage while training or in competition, it can immensely improve your chances of winning.
Other health benefits of beetroots include the fact that it lowers blood pressure and that it contains phytochemicals.
High blood pressure is never a good thing. It increases your chances of getting heart diseases several fold.
It can also act as an obstacle during your fitness training and even during your athletic performance.
Your doctor might also prohibit you from carrying out any physically intense activities. Rather than suffer through all this, why not simply take beetroot? It is effective in lowering blood pressure.
Additionally, beetroot contains phytochemicals, which give your immunity a major boost. A strong immunity means that you are less likely to fall sick, because your body can comfortably ward off all disease causing organisms. Phytochemicals can also improve your sport performance.
2. Grape Juice
Another fruit that has found immense favor with athletes is the grape. Just like beetroot, grape juice has ergogenic activity.
Consuming this juice regularly will also ensure that you don’t get exhausted fast, which means that you can keep going for longer. Grape juice also has anti-inflammatory properties.
This plant is used in Ayurveda. If you want to build muscle mass, and build it fast, this is the plant to look to. In addition to promoting the growth of muscles, the plants also help in healing damaged muscles.
As anyone who practices sports or strength training will tell you, a lot of muscles are damaged during training.
Needless to say, there is no point in training if you end up damaging more muscle than you gain. But with Ashwagandha, this can become a thing of the distant past.
4. Chameleon Plant
Another plant that comes laden with benefits for athletes is the chameleon plant. The plant is rich in nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide promotes faster blood circulation, which by extension improves an athlete’s endurance.
Additionally, the plant promotes production and fast clearance of lactate, which means that the fatigue does not last.
The plant also helps lower plasma rate levels and lowers the heart rate, which is perhaps why it is known as the chameleon plant in the first place.
5. Black Currant
If you are trying to lose weight, this is the plant for you. The plant has been proven to be extremely effective in the burning of fat.
Moreover, the plant also contributes to lactate production and clearance, much like the chameleon plant.
The plant also boosts an athlete’s endurance, which means that they can cover greater distances without running out of energy.
Acai contains ergogenic properties, which make it invaluable to athletes. With this plant, you can go for long distances or train for long hours without feeling the faintest indication of exhaustion.
As a result, you tend to have more productive work out sessions, and you are better able to reach your body goals.
This plant gives you more resistance, power and circulation. It also reduces oxidative stress and has powerful anti-oxidant properties.
Plant Based Diets Review Summary
Plants can immensely contribute to excellence in athletic performance. Let no one fool you into believing that you need animal products in order to have a successful sports career.
A plant-based diet is just as advantageous as an omnivore diet when it comes to sports. In fact, there are certain advantages that are peculiar to a plant-based diet. If you wish to boost your athletic performance, then a plant- based diet is the way to go.