Vegan Diet For Athletes? Should They go for it?

vegan diet for athletes

Like other people, athletes can also go vegan. Here in this article, we will discuss the vegan diet for athletes and what are the benefits of the vegan diet, etc.

Why Choose a Vegan Diet?

Veganism, the practice of following a vegan diet and/or lifestyle, means avoiding animals and animal products. Those who eat a vegan diet will not eat any kind of animal products or any products that are made from animal products. People who follow a vegan lifestyle will not only eat a vegan diet. But they will also refrain from wearing clothing made from animals. Or using any products that either come from animal products or are tested on animals.

Those who adopt the vegan diet will not eat any red meat, poultry, pork, fish, seafood, fowl, dairy, eggs, or any other product that comes from animals or animal products. This also means no more honey, gelatin salad, or sugar. Many products may be vegan in nature, like sugar that comes from a plant, but the process used to make it ready for human consumption involves using animal products.

Athletes have special nutritional needs that must be met if they are to perform at a high level. One of the considerations of athletes following a vegan diet is that the intense level of athletic activity might lead the athlete to suffer from an immune system that has been mildly suppressed. This can lead athletes to be more susceptible to acquiring viral and bacterial infections that might compromise their training. Since plant foods are naturally higher in properties that will boost the immune system than animal products are, the vegan athlete will likely enjoy many fewer sick days than his meat-eating opponent.

Athletes are also at an increased risk of oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between the antioxidants and the free radicals in the body. Free radicals are molecules that are formed during the normal process of metabolism inside the body. During the metabolic process, some cells are damaged but not killed, and these cells are called free radicals. They float around in the human body and look for places to cause damage. Free radicals are responsible for everything, from inflammation to cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit the chemical reaction of oxidation that produces free radicals that can damage the body. Plant-based foods are loaded with antioxidants. A well-planned vegan diet can be beneficial to athletes in terms of helping them recover better and faster after an exercise session or an athletic event.


The Benefits of the Vegan Diet

People who follow the vegan diet have significantly less risk of developing some sort of cardiovascular disease. Many of the health problems that are related to cardiovascular disease begin with poor diet and obesity. While obesity may not necessarily be a problem for most athletes, eating a diet that is high in red meat and saturated fat is a poor diet that can lead to health problems, no matter how strong or proficient an athlete is. Seemingly healthy athletes who have amazing stamina and fantastic body structure have developed some sort of cardiovascular disease, usually something that affects the heart. A poor diet can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the buildup of plaque, all of which can contribute to cardiovascular disease.

The vegan diet, with its emphasis on Plant-based foods, will give you all of the carbs, fats, and proteins that your body needs to perform along with all of the minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants your body needs, without all of the added unhealthy fats and sugars. The key is to base your daily diet on whole foods instead of processed vegan substitutions.

A veggie burger or vegan cheese is fine once in a while, but it should never be a regular part of your diet. It is possible to gain weight on a vegan diet by eating too many of the foods that are not good for you. You will only reap the full benefits of the vegan diet if you stick to whole, Plant-based foods and try to stay away from any processed foods. The available choices on the vegan diet are numerous, and you are only limited by your own taste buds and imagination.

Top Foods for Muscle Growth

There are plenty of vegan foods that will help you to build the lean muscles that you want. You will want to get a variety of good Plant-based foods in your diet while making sure that you are eating enough of the protein-rich plant foods that will help you build and maintain muscle strength. You will not only want to consume foods that are high in protein, but you will also need to eat extra amounts of food so that you have a surplus to help you gain muscle growth. The vegan diet for bodybuilding is higher in protein content than the regular vegan diet. And the protein that comes from plants is not as high in its quality as the protein that comes from animals. But with the right planning, you will be able to consume the right amounts of foods and proteins to help you reach your goal.

When you are planning your meals with the goal of building muscle, you will need to make sure that your intake of protein and fats is sufficient to aid in muscle growth. Proteins are made from amino acids, and these are compounds that your body needs in order to build muscle. Unfortunately, vegan protein sources normally do not contain all of the essential amino acids that the body will need. You will also want to maintain a regular intake of fat because your body needs fat in order to be able to absorb the nutrients from the protein. And the fat in your foods will help to add needed calories for the bodybuilder. You will also need to ensure that you are drinking plenty of water because Plant-based foods are high in fiber. And you will need the extra water to help move the fiber through your body.

Vegan Diet For Athletes

There are foods that will specifically provide you with the right amounts of protein that you need in order to maintain and build your muscles. Here are some vegan diets for athletes.


Beans and Chickpeas

Beans which include pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, contain high amounts of protein in every serving. One cup of any bean will give you two hundred twenty-seven calories and fifteen grams of protein. They are good sources of fiber and complex carbs. Chickpeas and beans provide you with high amounts of phosphorus, which helps your body carry needed nutrients to the cells, and potassium, which your body needs for the proper contraction and function of your muscles.  Did you know that you can air fry them?

Edamame, Tofu, and Tempeh

These products are all made from soybeans, which are a good source of protein. Edamame is the soybeans in their immature state, and they have a slightly grassy and sweet taste. Edamame will need to be boiled or steamed before they are eaten. They can be added to salads or soups or eaten on their own. Tofu easily absorbs the flavors of the foods that it is paired with. This is a good thing because tofu does not have much flavor of its own. It is made by cooking and fermenting bean curds and then pressing them together into a patty or a square shape. Tempeh is made in the same way and has a slightly nutty flavor. Tempeh and tofu can be added to many different recipes like chili, burgers, and soups. Tofu can be used as a substitute for eggs to make a scrambled breakfast dish.

Since all of these items come from soybeans, their nutritional value is the same. Three and one-half ounces of edamame contains one hundred twenty calories and eleven grams of protein. Tofu has one hundred seventy-seven calories in three and one-half ounces with fifteen grams of protein. And tempeh has fifteen grams of protein and one hundred sixty-two calories. They are all good sources of iron, which helps your body to make collagen, which is the main component in your connective tissues.

Green peas

Just one cup of this side dish contains nine grams of protein and just one hundred twenty-five calories. And peas will provide just over twenty-five percent of your daily requirement of fiber. Peas do not cause the spikes in blood sugar that many other starches cause because they are also full of fiber. Peas are good in salads, soups, stews, stir-fries, casseroles, and as a side dish.


While hemp seed comes from the same family of plants as the marijuana plant. It carries only slight trace amounts of THC. One ounce will provide you with ten grams of protein that are easy to digest and considered to be complete. A complete protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids, the ones that your body does not make itself that must come from food. Hempseeds are also a good source of magnesium, which has many benefits to offer the human body. Magnesium helps to build strong bones and teeth. It works alongside calcium to regulate the contraction of your muscles. And it assists with the clotting of your blood. And hemp seeds are a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that will help to reduce inflammation in your body. Sprinkle hemp seeds on your cereal or blend them into your smoothies.


One cup of cooked lentils has eighteen grams of protein and two hundred thirty calories. Lentils can be used in almost any type of dish. They can be used as an ingredient in soups, stews, and stir-fries. Cold-cooked lentils are a great addition to salads. Cooke lentils can be mashed with avocado or chickpeas to make a dip or a spread. And that same one cup of lentils has about fifty percent of the daily fiber intake recommended for adults. Lentils are a good source of vitamin B9. Also known as folic acid or folate, which your body needs in order to grow new cells.

Nutritional Yeast

This is a deactivated strain of yeast, so it won’t grow inside your body, and you can buy it in flake form or powder form. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor, so it is often used in vegan dishes that require some form of cheese or garnish like tofu scrambles and salads. One ounce of nutritional yeast provides your body with seven grams of fiber and fourteen grams of protein. Nutritional yeast reduces inflammation and supports your immune system.

Quinoa and amaranth

Although these are often referred to as ancient grains because their chemical makeup has not changed much over the years. They are not grown from grasses as the other cereal grains do. One cooked cup of either one provides about two hundred twenty-five calories and nine grams of protein. Both are also sources of complete proteins, which is a rare find in the grains group. And both are also good sources of fiber and complex carbs.


This is a popular source of protein for vegans that is made out of wheat gluten. Unlike many of the fake meats that are made out of soy, seitan has the texture and appearance of meat when it is cooked. Seitan is also known as wheat gluten or wheat meat. Three and one-half ounces of seitan contains twenty-five grams of protein and only three hundred seventy calories. That protein level makes seitan one of the richest sources of plant protein available to vegans. Seitan is an excellent source of selenium, which is a necessary mineral that neutralizes free radicals in your body. This mineral will also work with your thyroid gland to keep your metabolism functioning well. Seitan is easily found in most health food stores or specialty grocery stores in their refrigerated section. If you would prefer to make your own seitan, you can use vital wheat gluten to make it. Seitan is a great meat substitute, not only for its protein content but also for its appearance when cooked. Because seitan can be grilled, sautéed in stir-fries, or pan-fried. It should not be eaten by anyone with celiac disease or gluten insensitivity.


This is an alga that is full of nutrients. Two tablespoons of spirulina will give you eight grams of complete protein along with many other nutrients that your body needs. And spirulina will help to stabilize your blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and strengthen your immune system.

Teff and Spelt

These two are also known as ancient grains. Which are a small group of grains that have not been changed much by selective breeding. Teff comes from annual grass, which means that it is free of gluten. But spelt contains gluten because it is a form of wheat. One cup of spelled will provide you with two hundred forty-six calories and eleven grams of protein. While teff provides a whopping seven hundred-eight calories and twenty-five grams of protein. Teff and spelled are used as alternatives to more common grains. And can be used in recipes ranging from risotto to polenta to baked goods.

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