Did you know that many of the world's leading athletes are vegan? It's true, more and more top level athletes are discovering that being vegan helps their training, recovery and overall performance.
Is fitness important to you to? If so you’re in the right place. Many athletes who adopted a vegan diet are stronger and fitter than ever! Some of the main athletic benefits from going vegan:
- A plant-based diet keeps athletes’ hearts strong by reversing plaque, bringing down blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing weight.
- Meat consumption and high cholesterol levels exacerbate inflammation, which can result in pain and impair athletic performance and recovery. Studies show that a plant-based diet may have an anti-inflammatory effect.
- A plant-based diet, which is low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol, helps improve blood viscosity, or thickness. That helps more oxygen reach the muscles, which improves athletic performance.
- Plant-based diets improve arterial flexibility and diameter, leading to better blood flow.
- Compared with meat-eaters, people eating a plant-based diet get more antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals. Free radicals lead to muscle fatigue, reduced athletic performance, and impaired recovery.
Plant-based diets, which are typically low in fat and high in fiber, can reduce body fat. Reduced body fat is associated with increased aerobic capacity—or the ability to use oxygen to fuel exercise. Studies show that athletes on a plant-based diet increase their VO2 max—the maximum amount of oxygen they can use during intense exercise—leading to better endurance.
Here are just some amazing vegan athletes who have found their health, fitness and athletic performance improve since going vegan.
- Novak Djokovic "Plant based 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."
- Héctor Bellerín Moruno is a vegan Spanish professional footballer who plays as a right back or wing back for Premier League club Arsenal and the Spain national team. He says, "I learned a lot about becoming a vegan and asked other athletes like David Haye (a vegan world heavyweight champion). The recovery in my muscles after games has been noticeable and the long-term injuries I’ve had before have started to heal way quicker."
- Lewis Hamilton is a five-time Formula One World Champion, he is often considered the best driver of his generation says: "The cruelty is horrible and I don't necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life."
- Chris Smalling: "Now I’ve gone fully vegan and normally the start of pre-season can be quite a tough time, but I haven’t felt it at all. At first, I was half and half, so I was cutting out red meat but still eating other meat. But then the missus throws a lot of documentaries at you and it opens your eyes a little bit in terms of different industries and that persuaded me to go full vegan. Since then I’ve played a lot of games. Normally the second day after a game would be the worst. I would feel very tired, but I felt like I was recovering very quickly. In terms of the vegan diet there were a lot of factors that helped with that and I was able to keep banging out games without being too sore."
Check out The Game Changers movie, which was also produced by Novak Djokovic and Lewis Hamilton, for more information on how a vegan diet can help your athletic performance and also some great vegan recipes and meal plans: Game Changers Movie
Here is an interview with vegan marathon runner Fiona Oakes:
Monthly meal plan by vegan bodybuilder Manuel Bustos: Monthly Meal Plan
For more on Manuel: Instagram.com/manuel_bw/
To learn more about Health Save Movement, please check out our website: Health Save Movement
- Health Status of Female and Male Vegetarian and Vegan Endurance Runners Compared to Omnivores—Results from the NURMI Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356807/
- Vegetarian dietary practices and endurance performance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3046304
- Fueling the Vegetarian (Vegan) Athlete: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2010/07000/Fueling_the_Vegetarian__Vegan__Athlete.13.aspx
- Exercise capacity of vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian and omnivorous recreational runners: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6528342/