What Are The Benefits of Eating Plant-Based for Athletes?

What Are The Benefits of Eating Plant-Based for Athletes?

How Eating Vegan Can Take My Athletic Career to The Next Level

In recent years, a plant-based diet has become more and more common across professional sports leagues. Notable athletes such as Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, and Novak Djokovic have begun to follow a 100% vegan diet. This may come as a surprise to some fans, however, it is not a coincidence that these athletes are among the most athletic in their respective sports. 

Benefits of Eating Plant Based

While a plant-based diet has significant environmental benefits AND animals are not harmed, it also has notable physical benefits. An entire plant-based diet is proven to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, increase fiber, and maintain healthy body weight. As one can imagine, these positives will greatly benefit athletes as injury risk is reduced and they will be able to perform at a high level for a longer time. 

  • boost your immune system
  • reduce inflammation
  • increase fiber
  • strengthen your microbiomes
  • avoid antibiotics for animal products
  • maintain muscle and weight
  • reduce cholesterol
  • reduce risk of heart disease (the #1 killer)
  • reduce climate impact (carbon footprint)
  • reduce animal suffering

Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. While watching him on the court, it is evident that he has high energy throughout the entire match, and this attribute allows him to have the win record he does. Djokovic mentions that his high energy levels are thanks to a 100% plant-based diet, saying, “I eat a lot of fruit during the first part of the day and salads. I don’t like to eat any food that would require much energy for digestion, especially during the first part of the day because that’s when I need the most energy for my training.” Djokovic also mentions that a plant-based diet allows for faster recovery times. After learning the many benefits of committing to a plant-based diet, it is no surprise that Djokovic has 21 Grand Slam titles, including nine Australian Opens and seven Wimbledons. 

Another notable plant-forward athlete is Tom Brady. Although Brady says he only eats vegan “80% of the time,” his eating habits still have important benefits. He mentions that he chose this diet for the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, which help his performance on the field. In addition, according to Business Insider, Brady said that his body was constantly aching and hurting by the time he was just 25 years old. He needed something to change quickly so that he could keep playing football at the level he was playing. That’s when Brady made the switch to a predominantly plant-based diet. He credits this switch in diet to being the reason he is continuing to play football in his mid-40s. 

As you can see, numerous professional athletes can compete at the highest level in the world while following a plant-based diet. The misconception that plant-based diets have a detrimental impact on sports performance is no longer a strong argument, as athletes such as Brady and Djokovic have proved otherwise. As these great athletes move further in their careers, it will be interesting to see any young athletes take note of their healthy habits and follow in their footsteps of greatness.