Repost by: domzthompson (top left in the photo below)
Great article full of credible info from Dr. McMacken @veg_md.
Vegan athletes are a growing community, inspiring us with incredible feats of strength, endurance, and agility. How does a plant-based diet power athletic performance?
1. First, the basics: we are designed to run on carbohydrates. Carbs are arguably the most important nutrient for elite athletes. The availability of carbs (blood glucose or stored glycogen) dictates how long and how intensely we can exercise. Whole-food plant-based diets supply an optimal macronutrient ratio for athletic performance: 75-80% carbs, 10-15% protein, 10% fat.
2. Unlike animal foods, plants reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Exercise itself causes oxidative stress and free radical formation in our cells. This stress helps prime our bodies’ antioxidant defenses. But if we don’t have the right fuel, we can outstrip our capacity to respond. Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, plants are a potent antidote to cellular stress. The result? Soaring energy levels and accelerated recovery times, according to many plant-based athletes.
3. Certain plant foods (beets, spinach) can help us use oxygen more efficiently, promoting endurance; others (eg cherries) can reduce muscle soreness and pain, boosting recovery.
4. Wondering about protein? Elite athletes do need a little more protein than non-athletes. But to keep it in perspective, the average sedentary American consumes more protein than that required by many athletes. Plants can supply more than enough protein for athletic performance, without the inflammatory, carcinogenic, and atherosclerotic effects of animal foods. In fact, athletes commonly report decreased body fat and increased power-to-weight ratios when they go vegan. Protein is closely tied to calories. As an athlete, if you meet your daily calorie needs, and you eat plenty of legumes, whole grains, nuts, & seeds, you’ll get the protein you need, with few exceptions. Done.
5. Let’s not forget that plant-based diets help you perform for the long run–not just a marathon, but the rest of your life. After all, you can’t outrun a bad diet. A plant-based diet dramatically lowers the risk of chronic disease.