Vegan runners & the importance of good nutrition
Plant-based diets are packed with vitamins and minerals, but the vegan runner is at potential risk for nutritional deficiencies if proper dietary planning is not heeded to sustain an active lifestyle.
Nutrition for Vegan runners
Fortunately, paying attention to adequate-protein, mineral, and vitamin intake can ensure that vegan runners maintain their running schedule and that they even excel in performance by allowing the benefits of veganism to work for them.
Protein for Vegan Runners
Protein is necessary for sustaining physical activity. Protein repairs tissues and muscles, builds red blood cells, and synthesizes hormones and enzymes. But because protein often comes from meat sources, vegetarians risk inadequate intake that could result in poor performance and low energy. In addition, plants – though often abundant in protein – do not individually contain all nine essential amino acids, as animal protein does.
As a result, vegan runners consume a variety of plant proteins throughout the day to ensure that all amino acids are ingested. Furthermore, soy protein provides all essential amino acids on its own and can easily be incorporated into a meatless diet. Other plant protein sources include beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
You might like a read of my post on how to fry tofu
Minerals & nutrition for Vegan runners
One of the most important minerals for vegan runners is iron, as it is often the first to become deficient if proper measures are not taken. Vegan athletes are at a higher risk for anemia by not eating red meat, which contains a form of iron easily absorbed by the body. Female runners are at even greater risk, as an iron deficiency in female athletes is linked to menstrual abnormalities and the possibility of osteoporosis. H
However, vegetarian runners – even female ones – should rest easy, as proper planning can ensure that iron stores stay high. Ingesting iron-rich plant sources (such as green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, and tofu) with vitamin C to aid its absorption. Drinking a glass of orange juice with breakfast, for example, will better guarantee that iron is distributed into the body.
An equally important mineral for vegan runners is calcium, as runners with low dietary calcium increase their risk of bone and stress fractures. Vegetarian runners should aim for 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, either through dietary supplements or through an average of three calcium-rich food servings per day. Vegetarian foods rich in calcium include leafy greens, calcium-fortified juices, soy products, and breakfast cereals. Dairy foods are also high in calcium if milk products are included in the vegetarian’s diet.
Vitamins for Vegan Runners
Vitamin B12 deficiency can become a problem for strict vegans who ingest no animal products at all, as this vitamin is found only in meat and in animal derivatives such as dairy and eggs. Vegan runners should consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, or make sure to take a vitamin B12 supplement, as this vitamin is needed for red blood cell production.
Runners need not avoid vegetarianism, and can, in fact, reap the benefits of this healthy diet to sustain their level of activity if they pay attention to adequate nutrition. A nutritionally sound vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods and must mind the intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins. With proper planning, vegetarian runners can use their diet to maintain peak performance and keep their bodies in good health.
I hope you have found this post on vegan runners and nutrition useful. You might also like my post on a high protein vegetarian diet plan
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