6 Ways a Vegan Diet Can Improve Your Fitness
Veganism is not only catching traction in the wellness world but in fitness communities as well. Many professional athletes have shared how going plant-based improved their performance, stamina, and endurance, accelerated recovery, and helped them feel more energized, among many benefits.
Athletes on a vegan diet have reported
- Increased stamina
- Improved performance
- Less joint swelling
- Less cramping
- Weight loss
- Increased energy
- Increased endurance
Just like any changes in diet, it’s important to do the research and listen to your body and what it needs. Though it might take some time and effort to find out what works best for you, the meals you enjoy eating, and what makes you feel good, as long as you are getting the nutrients you need, there is no reason not to try a plant-based diet and see if it makes a difference! The key is to make sure you are meeting your daily requirements for calorie intake, as well as vitamins and nutrients. Protein, iron, calcium, omega-3’s, and vitamins are readily available in plant-based foods including beans, lentils, nuts, tofu, broccoli, kale, and so many others.
So how exactly does a plant-based diet help?
1. Improves heart health
Processed meat and other foods high in fat or cholesterol can contribute to heart disease, and unhealthy weight gain, among other health challenges. A vegan diet can reverse plaque, and decrease high blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also support healthy weight loss.
2. Decreased inflammation
Meat and dairy have been linked to increased inflammation, impeding athletic performance as well as recovery, and often resulting in pain. Healthy plant-based diets are often anti-inflammatory, low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Decreased inflammation allows more oxygen to be delivered to the muscles for better overall performance and health.
3. Higher antioxidant intake
Plant-based diets tend to be higher in antioxidants. Antioxidants are known for fending off free radicals which can cause muscle fatigue, reduced performance, and impair recovery. Antioxidants are particularly helpful in muscle restoration post-workout.
4. Improves blood flow + Increases oxygen to muscles
Plant-based diets can support better blood flow, whereas high-fat diets can impair blood flow after a meal for hours. Increased blood flow and healthy artery function allow muscles to get the oxygen they need to function while you’re working out, increasing endurance, as well as getting the nutrients they need to heal and restore post-workout.
5. Reduced body fat
A healthy plant-based diet is typically easier to digest which will make you less susceptible to nausea or cramps. Plant-based diets are often also low in fat and high in fiber which reduces body fat. Reduced body fat can improve the body’s ability to use oxygen to fuel exercise and increase endurance
6. Increased endurance
Many people report feeling less bloated or sluggish when eating plant-based. Whole grains and other key elements of a vegan diet can provide long-lasting energy, leaving you feeling full and energized instead of full and drowsy. Whereas processed meats and dairy can often make you uncomfortably full and impair digestion, and high-sugar foods can lead to a crash. Many of the points mentioned above also support increased endurance, particularly improvement in blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles.
If you’re not fully ready to commit to a vegan lifestyle, test out eating plant-based before your workout and see how you feel! You might be surprised by the difference it makes in sustaining your energy, the quality of your workout, as well as how fast you recover after. Paired with Holief’s line of vegan fitness products it’s a recipe for success.