Unlike average individuals, athletes need proper nutrients not only for maintaining normal bodily functions but also to have enough energy to do strenuous activities. Whether you are a basketball player, footballer, sprinter, or swimmer, every ounce of extra energy could spell the difference between winning or losing in your game.
Diet for the Athletes
Even for active individuals, the importance of a healthy vegetarian diet really impact the way they perform. More so with athletes, there is a need to be physically active all the time.
Vegetarianism provides the perfect solution for athletes. The nutritional content of a vegetarian diet provides the calories and nutrients an athlete needs to stay strong and healthy. As discussed there are four basic types of vegetarian diet: lacto-ovo vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians, ovo-vegetarians, and the vegans.
Whichever of these types of diet you choose, you need to have a basic understanding of each one so you can find a balanced diet that will give you the energy you need to perform well.
The Importance of Nutritional Knowledge
Aside from maintaining a physically fit body, your nutritional health as an athlete is of utmost importance. It helps to ensure that you not only have the energy to perform but also for endurance. Meanwhile, lack of knowledge when it comes to your nutritional intake could lead to deficiencies that could prohibit you from performing your best.
A regular human body requires protein, but an athlete needs fats and carbohydrates to produce energy. Glycogen, which can be acquired by consuming complex carbohydrates, helps build resistance in your muscles.
Creating A Balanced Diet
Protein deficiency is a common health occurrence. However, this is truer of vegans who do not consume any type of animal products. Here are basic ways to ensure you get enough protein as you need it compared to an average adult:
– Combine bread or whole grains with high-protein food substances like nuts, seeds, and legumes.
– Substitute meat with soy products, since they are also rich sources of protein.
– If you still drink milk or consume dairy products as a vegetarian, you should not worry about getting enough vitamin D and calcium. However, to those who do not, you can include tortillas, nuts, sesame seeds, and vitamin-d fortified soy products into your diet.
Approaches Toward a Vegetarian Athletic Diet
The growth of interest for the benefits of plant food diets has been tremendous. However, the case with athletes is much different. There are several questions relating to the nutritional aspects of a vegetarianism diet which is relevant to an athlete’s performance. Here are strategies that you can use if you want to get more beneficial effects out of this type of diet:
a. plan your diet well and create a well supplemented vegetarian diet to support your performance
b. make sure you have adequate nitrogen and essential amino acids intake aside from protein
c. increase your intake of iron, as non-anemic iron deficiency cases has been known that could impact your athletic endurance
d. a vegetarian diet for athletes is an effective method to use for weight control
Important Nutrients For The Athlete
The best way for an athlete to maximize a vegetarian diet is through a well-rounded diet that provides the essential nutrients for peak performance. Indeed, the winning formula is one that includes the following essentials:
1. Complex carbohydrates – this is crucial in providing energy to your muscles to boost performance; good sources of complex carb include cereals, brown rice, whole-wheat pastas, quinoa, fruits and vegetables.
2. Protein – you can find protein almost everywhere such as nuts, beans, tofu, veggie burgers, whole grains, and other meat substitutes; for protein sources that will provide you a post-workout boost you can try preparing a smoothie, made out of a vegan protein supplement and frozen fruit
3. Fat – your body also needs the good kind of fat to complement your diet; however, you must refrain from taking deep-fried foods, instead you can opt for nuts, seeds, vegetables and olive oils, and fruits like avocado
4. Calories – you can get this from any vegetarian dish for a nutrient-dense calorie; you will need the calorie to fuel your performance as you keep burning them
Despite the absence of meat, a well-balanced vegetarian diet that incorporates all the essential nutrients needed for your body to perform its best will be your winning formula as an athlete.