Making the choice to be a vegan athlete and abstain from eating foods made from animals or animal byproducts can not only make you a more ecologically conscious and compassionate person. It can also result in better health, making you a better athlete as well.
Better Body Fat Percentage
Scientific research has shown that maintaining a vegan diet is likely to result in a lower body fat percentage and lower body mass index than eating meat, fish, or even a vegetarian diet. Higher amounts of dietary fiber and less animal fat and proteins results in less weight gain, allowing vegan athletes to remain leaner and in top physical condition for sports. This isn’t as a result of starving oneself of calories. It’s the result of eating the right kind of calories, including good, healthy fats from plant sources.
Better Breathing and Lung Health
Many studies have been performed to conduct research into the efficacy of a vegan diet in remedying bronchial asthma, and the results are promising for vegans. Subjects in these studies have reported a reduction in asthmas symptoms as a result of partaking in a vegan diet, even to the point of being able to reduce or completely discontinue using powerful pharmaceutical asthma medications! The results could not be clearer for vegan athletes. Your pulmonary (lung) health can be improved by eating a vegan diet.
Better Heart Beat
Oh, be still, my beating heart! Can a vegan diet actually make a beating heart more still? Absolutely. People who eat only plant-based foods as a group have a markedly lower blood pressure and lower levels of unhealthy cholesterols in the blood. They also generally have healthier levels of good lipids in the blood. This puts them in better overall cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) health. All of those healthy phytochemicals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber in fruits and vegetables greatly protect and strengthen the heart of a vegan athlete.
Better Blood Cholesterol and Sugar Levels
Speaking of lower levels of unhealthy cholesterol in the blood, other studies into the vegan diet have confirmed that people who make the leap to a vegan diet are able to reduce or completely stop using pharmaceutical medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol! Vegan athletes can benefit from the same combination of plentiful complex carbohydrates and low unhealthy fats that insulin dependent diabetes patients have found relief in by maintaining a vegan diet. Keep your hemoglobin levels and insulin response healthy and robust, and vegan athletes will find eating a vegan diet keeps you healthier off the field and more competitive on it.
No bones about it. Healthy bones are essential to an athlete’s strength and importantly, ability to avoid injury while undergoing the physical stresses of participating regularly in sports. A vegan diet is very high in the nutrients that are absolutely essential to having healthy bones. Calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K are abundant in a well-balanced vegan diet. Vegan athletes will also tend to keep the right amount of alkalinity in their diet, which is important, because too much acid in the diet will cause calcium loss. Vegan athletes eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and healthy sources of protein will help themselves stay healthy, strong, and safe.
Proper joint and ligament health is important for someone who uses and stresses them as much as competitive athletes. Eating a vegan diet has proven to help maintain healthy joints even for patients suffering from severe arthritis. Eating a vegan diet promotes the healthy production of natural antibodies with anti-inflammation properties. If it’s good enough to provide relief for patients suffering from arthritis pain, it’s good enough to ease inflammation and keep your joints healthy and safe if you are a vegan athlete.