Interesting facts on vegan athletes

  • Serena Williams, the world-famous tennis player is among the most successful and strongest athletes. She is vegan since 2012. She has a record of winning 23 Grand Slam tournaments.
  • Lionel Messi, the world-famous footballer consumes plant-based food during the football seasons to enhance his performance. 
  • Scott Jurek is among greatest ultramarathoner ever.  He is a vegan and strongly believes that plant-based diet has a strong contribution towards his success.
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Vegan for athletes

Vegan for athletes…how good is this? This is one of the most common concerns associated with plant-based foods. There are many who believe that animal-based food is necessary for sports and athletics. But, in this article, we present before you the factual insights and practical examples of vegan athletes from all over the globe who have abstained animal-based foods.

Novak Djokovic is among the most successful tennis players. He attributes his success to his vegan lifestyle. He is an ardent vegan lover and also owns a vegan restaurant, Eqvita, in Monte Carlo.

“[Food is] the fuel that determines how I play, how I recover, and how alert I am on the court,” he added. “I attribute a great deal of my professional success to my diet.” – Novak Djokovic

Vegan food is excellent for athletes and all others who are involved in rigorous physical work or high-intensity sports. There are diverse range of plant-based, nutrition rich foods that athletes consume to meet their requirements. For example, Scott Jurek consumes healthy fats, whole grains, legumes, soy protein, nuts, fruits and vegetables to meet his nutrition requirements.

Among soy-based food, athletes can consume tofu or tempeh which are excellent sources of protein and other nutrients. Nuts, fruits and vegetables are vital component of their diet. Apart from nuts, there are nut milk options which can be used as a replacement of animal milk. There are plant-based butter, cheese and yogurt options available for those who completely refrain from animal-based products. Several athletes across the world have adopted veganism. For example, Sunil Chhetri, the captain of Indian football team is a vegan. He says that this lifestyle has helped him a lot in terms of recovery and digestion. Similarly, Virat Kohli, the captain of Indian cricket team lives on a vegan diet. He does not consume meat and dairy-based products.

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Benefits of being vegan helps athletes immensely

Health benefits of plant-based (vegan) food for athletes:

For an athlete, apart from just nutrition, two things are vital which are fast recovery time and good digestion. Plant-based food is excellent for both of these. Most of the athletes who are vegan or semi-vegan agree that this way of living has impacted their sports performance in a vital way. Plant-based nutrition help athletes recover faster from tiredness and injuries. Similarly, these foods are easy to digest and keep athletes light and active.

Meat-based products on the other hand are heavier and take longer to digest. Moreover, these foods have significantly higher cholesterol in comparison to vegan foods.

As said earlier, a lot of athletes have switched to plant-based foods. Let it be any sports right from tennis, football, running, cricket, cycling and others, vegan athletes have their mark everywhere. Below are the names of some top sportspersons who have adopted this living style:

  • Serena Williams (former world No. 1 in women’s single tennis)
  • Scott Jurek (one of the greatest runners)
  • Novak Djokovic (tennis player, been No. 1 for a record total of 320 weeks)
  • Lewis Hamilton (among most successful Formula One (F1) Grand Prix racing drivers)
  • Virat Kohli (cricketer, captain of Indian cricket team)
  • Hector Bellerin (footballer)
  • Derrick Morgan (footballer)
  • Peter Siddle (cricketer)
  • Frans Claes (mountain biker)
  • Tiarah Lue Blanco (professional surfer)

“There are thousands of athletes across the world who are vegan. Plant-based nutrition sources are enough to supply humans with the required nutrients. Cruelty-free lifestyle is becoming popular and a variety of vegan food products and recipes are available to mimic the meat-based recipes.”

Vegan high-protein foods that are good for everyone

Meat is said to be a good source of protein. However, this is a sheer myth that these foods are important to meet our protein and other nutrient requirements. There are many vegan high-protein foods that are excellent alternatives to animal protein. Some of these are:

  • Soy protein (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy yogurt)
  • Seitan (wheat protein)
  • Green peas and beans
  • Lentils
  • Oats and oat milk
  • Nuts and nut milk
  • Fruits & vegetables

Athletes are becoming vegetarian to stay fit and improve performance:

Many athletes have adopted vegetarian or vegan way of living in order to stay fit, reduce weight and increase their carrier span. According to the English footballer Jack Wilshere, adopting vegan diet has helped him lose weight and become fitter. The athlete also said that this diet helps him stay active on the field for a longer time period.

Similarly, Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team captain has turned into vegan. The sportsperson believes that this dietary habit helps him to stay fit. Kohli is among the fittest cricketers and his vegan lifestyle is influencing the youngsters across the country and the globe. The cricketer earlier had acidity related and other health problems due to meat-based foods due to which he adopted a vegan lifestyle.

Body building is considered to be a high-intensity sports and requires a lot of stamina and strength. Plant-based foods have also gained popularity among body-builders and wrestlers.  Patrik Baboumian who is a retired strongman and a bodybuilder has been among the first strength athlete who adopted veganism. He is also a strong supporter of animal rights and an activist against animal cruelty.

##Related tags – vegan athletes, vegetarian athletes, vegan high-protein foods, athletes who are vegan, vegan for athletes, vegetarian options for protein

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