Vegan diets for athletes: Cutting out meat 'boosts heart health, endurance and recovery'

Veganism is the best diet for athletes because it boosts heart health, endurance and recovery, according to a scientific review.

For athletes, as well as for the general public.

Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton, David Haye and Derrick Morgan are already fans, despite their heavy sports schedules requiring strict food.

Can support the diet – which uses predominantly beans and legumes for protein.

Experts, led by Dr. Neal Barnard at George Washington University School of Medicine, said the diet meets all nutritional needs, while reducing body fat and controlling weight.

Veganism is the best diet for athletes as it boosts heart health, endurance and recovery, according to a scientific review. Tennis player Venus Williams is already a fan

Athletes, such as Formula 1's Lewis Hamilton, as well as the general public

"It's no wonder that," co-author Dr James Loomis, medical director for the Barnard Medical Center, said.

'Whether you're training for a couch-to-5K or an Ironman Triathlon, a plant-based diet is a powerful tool for improving athletic performance and recovery.'

Published in the journal Nutrients, found in a key role in cardiovascular health, which is critical for endurance athletes.

Middle-aged and older endurance cyclists or runners have plaque in their arteries.

A low-fat, vegetarian diet is the most effective dietary pattern clinically shown to reverse plaque, the authors said.

Vegetarians are 32 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease.

A vegan diet and other contributors to heart disease, including dyslipidemia, elevated blood pressure, elevated body weight, and diabetes.

As well as this, a plant-based diet can provide athletic performance benefits, including 'leaner body mass, ease of glycogen storage, improved tissue oxygenation, reduced oxidative stress, and reduced inflammation,' the review said.

Because a plant-based diet is typically high in carbohydrates, it should also provide an essential tank of energy for sports players.

Carbohydrates are the primary energy source during aerobic exercise, and endurance is enhanced by a high-carbohydrate intake.

The scientific review, led by George Washington University School of Medicine, said that the meat can provide a leaner body – essential for athletes. Boxer David Haye is vegan

Athletes, including Derrick Morgan of the NFL's Tennessee Titans, if they take a B12 supplement

Plant-based diet boosts athletic performance and recovery.

Two to higher intakes of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants, the plant-based diet can increase blood flow and tissue oxygenation, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

Without eating meat, it could be at risk of a deficiency B12.

However, with a B12 supplement, the diet provides all the necessary nutrients with an endurance athlete needs, including protein, calcium, and iron.

'Individuals who change from omnivorous to plant-based diets typically improve their overall nutrition,' the researchers said.

'Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains tend to be high in vitamins, minerals, and fibers, very low in saturated fat, and devoid of cholesterol.

'Whose protein adequacy is a frequently raised question, this is a survey of all the endurance athletes and the recommended diet intakes, and a variety of essential amino acids for athletes.'

According to The Vegan Society, a record number of people are interested in the vegan diet, with the demand for meat-free food increasing by 987 per cent in 2017.

Jamie Oliver and singer Beyoncé. The trendy diet is also backed by social media stars and celebrities.

Shiny meat, fish, dairy and egg consumption, however, it may not be easy as it looks – despite rolling rolling out more vegan options every year.

Although some of these studies are found to be that of a person who is trying to find a diet, that is to say, to be able to find processed vegan foods in the aisles.

A 2017 study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that those who are high in sugar and processed foods were 32 per cent.


A vegan diet contains only plants (such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits) and foods made from plants. Vegans do not eat foods like animals, including dairy products and eggs.

Vegans normally chose this diet for animal welfare, health and environment motivations.

Say in are vegetarian or vegan, and more 21 per cent say they are flexitarian – where meat is occasionally eaten, according to a 2018 report from Waitrose.

Miley Cyrus, Sia, Ariana Grande, Liam Hemsworth, Robbie Williams and many athletes are all backing the diet.

Campaigners behind Veganuary have also called on politicians to support a Plant-Based Parliament for January 2020, with many MPs showing their support already.

Supermarkets and fast-food chains are keeping up – Sainsbury's added 29 new vegan products to its shelves, Waitrose, Tesco and Iceland are stocking 'fishless' fingers, meat-free sausages and burgers, and even vegan versions of ready-meals such as lasagne.

Bakery chain Greggs made in January 2019 with its new vegan sausage roll, but other chains, such as Pizza Express, TGI Fridays and Wagamamas were already ahead of the game.

The NHS says you can still get the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet.

To make sure you stay health you should:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Basic meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates (choose wholegrain where possible)
  • Have some dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yogurt (choose lower fat and lower sugar options)
  • Eat some beans, pulses and other proteins
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat in small amounts
  • Drink plenty of fluids (the government recommends 6 to 8 cups or glasses a day)

Vegans need to be careful that they are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, iron, omega-3 and B12.

B12 is only found naturally in foods from animal sources. Sources for vegans are therefore limited and vitamin B12 supplement may be needed, such as fortified products.

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