By Stephanie Jameson - You may have noticed that some top athletes are switching to a plant based diet, or have been following one for years. Ultra endurance athlete Rich Roll, tennis star Venus Williams, and basketball great Kyrie Irving are among many athletes choosing to fuel their bodies with plants.
If you’ve been curious about removing animal products from your diet, or simply want to add more vegan options to your meals, here are three awesome foods that help vegan athletes
perform their best.
You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em, but beets can be an amazing addition to any athlete’s diet. Beetroot juice increases your heart’s ability to get blood and oxygen to your muscles during exercise due to their nitrate content. Nitrates help the body dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure which means consuming beets may help you exercise longer without fatigue.
As a bonus, a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that beets helped reduce muscle soreness and improved athletes’ recovery time after tough training sessions.
Legumes include lentils, peas, and beans, and because they are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium, they are a vegan athlete’s best friend!
Legumes are a great source of protein, but still contain healthy carbohydrates to keep you fueled and energized for a long run or work out.
Lentils and beans can be easily swapped out for any protein on your plate.
You can get creative and puree beans into yummy spreads and dips, cook up a quick lentil soup or three bean chili, and add chickpeas or kidney beans to a salad.
Green Leafy Veggies
The powerhouse of plants - green leafy vegetables like kale, micro greens, and spinach are full of nutrients crucial to a high functioning body.
Micro greens are small, underdeveloped greens that can be added to almost any meal: throw a handful in a smoothie, top your avocado toast with them, or sprinkle them into your lunch salad.
Spinach and kale are great on their own as salad bases, can be steamed and seasoned as a side to a meal, or thrown in a smoothie to pack low calorie, nutrient-filled punch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Stephanie! I’m a runner, triathlete, and owner of giveStrength - a corporate wellness company. I hold a certificate in plant based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University, as well as a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
I coach runners, triathletes, and anyone else that needs help to feel stronger, eat better, and feel confident in their body.
Follow my journey @giveasweat.