Plant-Based Diet Good for Athletes

Sharon Palmer

More and more research shows the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet, thus, more athletes are taking on this lifestyle. While the health advantages of eating a diet rich in whole plant foods—such as whole grains, pulses (beans, lentils, and peas), soy foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices—has mostly focused on a reduced risk of obesity and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, newer research has linked a diet rich in plants to specific bonuses for athletes—namely improved recovery and performance. It makes sense, because plant foods are rich in phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which can help athletes perform better in sports activities, as well as recover from athletic events. A new scientific review found that these effects of eating a plant-based diet do indeed offer benefits to athletes. In addition, plant nutrients like vitamins, protein, calcium, and iron are beneficial to an athlete’s lifestyle, too. Look for more research in the future showing the health advantages of eating a plant-based diet for athletic performance.

Read more about the study here.

For more information on the latest science on plant-based nutrition, check out:

Eat More Plants, Weigh Less
Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets Are Both Heart Healthy
Antioxidant-Rich Diet Fights Diabetes

Image: Super Acai Berry Bowl, Sharon Palmer, RDN

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