With the growth of social media as a platform to share information, veganism is becoming more visible.
Vegan diets are a type of vegetarian diet, where only plant-based foods are eaten. These means the diets don’t include meat, dairy, eggs, and honey.
Nowadays vegan diets are becoming more accepted in sports and in the health and fitness industry.
However, how to manage vegan diets for athletic purposes can be a challenge for many people. Here we attempt to provide recommendations for how to construct a vegan diet for athletes and exercisers.
While little data could be found in the sports nutrition literature specifically about how vegan diets influence sport performance, it was revealed elsewhere that veganism creates challenges that need to be accounted for when designing a nutritious diet.
This included the sufficiency of energy and protein; the adequacy of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, iodine and vitamin D; and the lack of the long-chain n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in most plant-based sources.
Among them, vitamin B12 is naturally from animal products, including eggs, cheese, milk, fish, meat, shellfish and poultry. Plant-based food have little vitamin B12 unless they are fortified with the nutrient.
Nevertheless, via the strategic management of food and appropriate supplementation, it is possible that a nutritive vegan diet can be designed to achieve the dietary needs of most athletes satisfactorily.
Further, creatine and β-alanine supplements might be of particular use to vegan athletes, because vegetarian diets promoting lower muscle creatine and lower muscle carnosine levels in consumers.
To get good quality protein, athletes can add tofu, beans, legumes, soy protein powder into the daily diet. To get high quality fat, they can frequently consume extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, avocado, and non-roasted nuts and seeds.
Some plant-based foods are full of calcium, including almonds, beans, dark leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Finally, to get enough iron to boost energy level, you should eat fortified cereals, dried peas and beans, raisins, prune juice, apricots, peanut butter, green beans, and nuts.