With top-notch athletic performance comes healthy nutrition. Athletes may be very conscious of their nutrition, but does the diet of a vegan support athletic performance?
Although meat may be a primary source of protein for many of those who are not on a vegan diet, vegans can get their proteins from a number of foods. These foods include peas, beans, nuts, seeds, and more! One thing that is important to note, however, is the fact that it is more difficult for the body to digest proteins from plant bases. That being said, it is wise for vegans to intake their protein sources at different times throughout the day and in smaller portions so that the body can digest the proteins.
There are a number of ways that vegans can obtain their calcium intake. Some sources include broccoli, orange juice, spinach, kale, rhubarb, and cereals. There are also calcium-fortified tofu and soymilks available that provide sufficient calcium for vegans.
Of the 20 essential amino acids, 9 of them come from our diet. Few plants contain all 9 of these amino acids, so it is smart for vegans to be aware of some of the combinations of foods that can be a source for these 9 amino acids. Some of these combinations include peanut butter and grain bread as well as corn and beans.
Another important source for nutrition is Omega-3s, and vegans can get their source of Omega-3s from chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts.
Lastly, we have the B12 vitamin. Since meat is the only source of the B12 vitamin, vegans should take a supplement B12. There are also some foods available that are fortified with B12.
All things considered, with the proper awareness of nutrition, a vegan diet can most definitely support the performance of any athlete.
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References: Johnson, Ken. “The Vegan Triathlete.” Team USA. 8 Aug. 2016. Web. 09 Aug. 2016.