For vegan sportspeople, a huge concern will always be injury-prevention, as there is only so much an athlete can achieve when they are in and out of the injury room throughout the year. In an ideal world, you want to be able to train and compete all year round, to grow and improve as an athlete.
However, many sports injuries actually stem from extremely preventable problems and issues that can be sorted with a simple nutritional plan. The vast majority of injuries come about from avoidable imbalances in your diet, which then lead to fatigue in your muscles. When pushed too hard, these muscles can then pick up nasty aches, pains and even tears.
While vegan sportspeople are often said to be at a disadvantage in the professional sphere, when it comes to sourcing the diet needed to compete at the top, they actually have a key advantage. Especially in terms of injury prevention. Many vegan foods can help build a defence against sports injuries, therefore contributing to better training and improved overall performance.
The main food groups that are avoided by vegan sportspeople but gorged on by other athletes are meat and dairy. These two food groups are among the most inflammatory out there, meaning that they are the worst things to consume when attempting to recover from an injury, or even just aches and pains. A plant-based diet has been proven to cut down on the recovery time needed between injuries and exercise, due to the fact it contains no inflammatory foods.
Staying on the subject of inflammation, omega-3 should be your new best friend. Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to be key a key ingredient in reducing the risk of inflammation. While many people get omega-3 from eating fish, there are plenty of options out there for vegan sportspeople too. Some easy to source examples of these include flax seeds and walnuts. Ginger and turmeric are also known to be great foods for reducing the risk of inflammation, as they have special properties that cut down on swelling around joints. Vegan indian food proves bery useful here.
Vegans may have to work hard to plan out a vast and healthy diet with regards to sport performance, but fluids should never be neglected. A body that has been starved of water is far more susceptible to tears and injuries within both joints and tissues. By keeping yourself well hydrated with water throughout the day, you not only reduce the risk of injury and increase the rate of recovery, but you also aid digestion too.
Zinc is known to assist with injury prevention and recovery and thus is a vital nutrient for vegan sportspeople to include in their diets. It is particularly proficient at healing tissues and wounds, by supporting the immune system. It can also assist in regenerating muscle and tissue fibres when put under strain or injury. In terms of sourcing zinc-rich vegan foods, lentils and brown rice are the two best choices out there. Pumpkin seeds have also been shown to be an excellent source of zinc.
All three of these lead to healthier bones, something that is needed by every professional athlete. Though calcium strengthens the bones and keeps them healthy, magnesium and vitamin D actually assist in the absorption of the calcium itself, making them vital accompanimenets. In terms of vegan food sources, green vegetables should be a staple in your diet. Raw nuts, seeds and coconut water are also fantastic choices.
Collagen and vitamin C
Collagen ensures that your ligaments and tendons remain flexible while you train and competem aking it a must-have addition to your diet. Vitamin C helps to strengthen your bones and hold them together, but also assists in helping collagen to do its job. They work together to keep you string and flexible. If you are looking for vegan sources of vitamin C and collagen, look no further than broccoli, strawberries, cherries and citrus fruits.
Being vegan is no longer a stumbling block to sports success, but be sure that you’re looking for ways to include each of these vital nutrients. if not, you could find your performance suffers.