The Sports Performance Advantages of a Plant-based Diet

Photo: Triathlete Running out of the Ocean

Can athletes that don’t eat meat really be top competitors? Just ask tennis champs Serena and Venus Williams, NBA stars Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul, Formula One legend Lewis Hamilton, Gold Medal Olympian runner Carl Lewis, or pro surfer Tia Blanco.

Photo: Woman Trail Running

Better yet, check with hometown heroes Yancy Medeiros, Kelly Slater, Alana Blanchard or many others, who are proponents of eating plant-based to feel great and perform their best. Vegans are also breaking stereotypes by excelling in high intensity endurance sports like ultra marathons, IronMan and IronWoman competitions, and as record-breaking weightlifters.

Photo: Healthy Whole Foods

It's clear that eating meat isn’t a necessity for athletic excellence, in fact you can yield significant achievement advantages with a healthy plant-based diet! What are the best guidelines for eating and living to be your fittest? Here’re some tips:

  • Feed your muscles by eating plenty of unrefined carbohydrates found in whole plant foods like brown rice, multigrain bread, quinoa, oatmeal, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and beans.
  • Increase blood flow to your brain and muscles by eating more plants and avoiding meat and processed foods which have been proven to thicken your blood and slow down the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body.
  • Reduce inflammation to improve your performance and decrease recovery time. A single hamburger can increase measures of inflammation by 70%, while a plant-based diet can help reduce measures of inflammation by 29% in just three weeks.
  • Eat more! A whole food, plant-based diet is usually nutrient-dense but not as calorie-dense as a meat-based diet so you may need to eat more if you are trying to bulk up.
  • Drink lots of water, sleep well, and consider supplements. Eating a vitamin and mineral-rich diet with lots of veggies is most important but all-natural protein powders, B vitamins, iron, and other supplements may help enhance your athletic performance. Ask our knowledgeable Down to Earth Wellness Team Members for suggestions.
Picture: Salad and Weights for exercise

If you’re serious about optimal health and being as fit as possible, consider the advantages of a plant-based diet—more energy, increased blood flow, less inflammation, more muscle efficiency, plus a healthier heart—and go for the gold!