Being a high-level athlete and a vegan is not an impossible feat. It can be done. Vegan athletes are very attentive to their nutrition, which gives them an edge when it comes to fueling their bodies for optimum performance. Here are the essential 5 nutrients for vegan athletes.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Algae, avocado, flaxseed, and walnuts are good vegan sources for omega-3 rich foods. This nutrient will boost your mood, stabilize your mood, and even achieve optimum cognitive function. It also helps fight inflammation, which is key to decreasing recovery time after an intense training session. Omega-3 fatty acids also boost the efficacy of your recovery between training.
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in boosting the body’s defense system or immunity. Vegan athletes and athletes, in general, are at risk of getting sick when taking off from training. To prevent this, adding zinc to your top 5 nutrient list is a must.
In fact, according to scientific journals, adequate zinc consumption is needed to eliminate stress and enhances tissue repair after heavy training. Good sources of zinc for vegan athletes are soy, whole grains, seeds, nuts, lentils, and beans. Not only are beans and lentils rich in zinc, but it is also a good source of iron.
Iron is the reason why our blood is red. And it is the iron contained in these red blood cells that enable it to carry oxygen and deliver to each cell in the body. Deficiency in iron can cause fatigue and will require extra work from a vegan athlete which becomes a vicious cycle. So, to perform well, a vegan athlete needs to make sure that they eat iron-rich foods that are vegan approved. This list would include swiss chard, tomatoes, seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes.
Vitamin D can be naturally stimulated through adequate sun exposure. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 can be sourced from plants. Vitamin D, as a whole, plays a role in bone building. Therefore, adequate amounts of this vitamin in the diet is needed to support healthy bones and muscles if you want to take your game to the next level. For vegans, vitamin D2 and D3 sources can come from cereals, non-dairy milk, fortified orange juice, and mushrooms.
Also known as cobalamin, Vitamin B12 promotes optimum nerve, blood, and brain function. For a vegan athlete, this vitamin is essential because any interruption in the transmission of nervous signals can mean muscular function reduction. Thus, a deficiency of this vitamin is equated to lessened power and strength performance. An excellent vegan source for vitamin B12 is nutritional yeast and methylcobalamin.
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