The 10 Best Foods for Vegetarian Athletes

Vegetarianism and veganism are very useful for those who are engaged in fitness, running, cycling, workout – everyone knows this. And what kind of fruits, vegetables, cereals, drinks are healthier than others, what to “lean” on? What herbal products allow the fastest recovery after a workout? How to accelerate the detoxification of the body? How to establish the process of consuming enough protein? The list and recommendations below are designed to answer these and other questions that arise for beginner athletes: vegetarians and vegans. Before we start our “hit parade” of 10 positions, I have two news for you: good and bad. The good news is that virtually all plant foods are good for athletes! So the question is not that something will have to be abandoned. But only in what fruits, vegetables and cereals you need to eat more, and which ones – less (we’ll talk about what is less at the end) in order to achieve the fastest results. In fact, by going vegetarian or vegan, you have already reached a kind of “athletic height”:

  • ensure a healthy future for your heart and circulatory system,
  • freed the body from a large amount of toxins and excess weight,
  • and extended their lives by 15-20 years *.

And the bad news is that simply replacing meat, fish, and poultry in your diet with potatoes, white rice, and whole grain bread is not enough to achieve athletic performance and truly excellent, outstanding health. And that’s exactly what our goals are, right? Therefore, we look at the scheme – for the most athletic and in general for everyone who is used to setting the bar high. Best Ethical Sports Foods: For Enough Protein, Nutrients, and Fast Recovery** (Foods listed in post-workout order): 1. Milk***

Milk contains water, protein, sugar (lactose – 4.8%), calcium – all this is critical for the body of athletes. Whole milk contains not only protein, but also vitamins, and useful substances (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, chlorine, sulfur, etc.), and electrolytes that allow you to saturate the exhausted – dehydrated and overheated – body with moisture. One glass of warm (above body temperature) milk before or after training, and another glass of warm or hot milk at night – for fast falling asleep and good sleep (and athletes are critically important!) serotonin and melatonin, which gives milk. “Chocolate milk” – i.e. milk with cocoa powder has been a favorite drink of athletes since the bearded 60s. These days, “milk with chocolate”, and even sweet … hmm, doesn’t sound very healthy, does it? But in fact, just such a drink contains a “magic” recipe for post-workout recovery: carbohydrates provide energy, and protein allows you to restore (and build!) muscle tissue, moreover, many varieties of drinking chocolate contain an added vitamin and mineral complex (in including vitamin B12). Chocolate is considered by some to be “harmful” because it contains caffeine. But let’s “rehabilitate” cocoa! After all, besides that very caffeine (in a small amount), cocoa beans contain a lot of iron and zinc, magnesium, potassium, and in addition, antioxidants and useful amino acids. It is useful for athletes to consume a cocoa drink and chocolates (with a cocoa content of at least 70%, i.e. “dark” chocolate), in moderation. So in the first half hour after completing your workout, drink sweet milk with chocolate. In terms of usefulness for athletes, only coconut water can argue with milk. It’s kind of a vegan alternative to milk. You can also replace cow’s milk with soy: it is also high-calorie and useful in its own way, especially if it is enriched with a vitamin-mineral complex. In any case, a dose of natural sugars is the first thing your muscles need (and need urgently) after a workout! Finally, contrary to myths, cocoa – unlike coffee – lowers rather than increases blood pressure, and does it even better than green tea. 2. Dried fruits

Dried fruits provide the body with the glucose necessary for any motor activity. This is one of the best sources of fast carbohydrates. But “in the load” they get fiber, phytonutrients, potassium, vitamins and minerals. It’s great, right? Dried fruits can be eaten right at the workout (if it lasts more than an hour): dried fruits replace sports “gels” that are used by many runners and cyclists. Or immediately after: including in combination with milk, smoothie, sports drink. Figs, dates, dried apricots, raisins are especially useful for athletes. By the way, according to Ayurveda, dates are better absorbed with fat, so it’s good to mix them in smoothies with milk and a bit of butter or ghee to get a shock dose of “muscle building material” – protein. For a quick set of muscle mass, after a workout, eat halves of dates, smeared with butter. There is one trouble with dried fruits – if there are a lot of them, in a dry form, they excite the Vata (Wind) element in the body, and provoke the appearance of gases. Therefore, they must be soaked in cold water for 2-3 hours; water from under dried fruits must be filtered and drunk, it is very rich in useful substances. 3. Bananas

Bananas are used in sports nutrition before, during and immediately after training. According to many, especially runners, bananas are not very good during physical activity, unlike dried fruits, because. immediately respond with heaviness in the stomach (although cyclists may argue with this). But after class, bananas definitely won’t hurt! It’s a simple and ready-to-eat meal that’s delicious, not too dry (you don’t have to drink ripe bananas), very nutritious, and inexpensive.

Bananas are convenient to take with you to the gym, for a run. By the way, recent studies by scientists from Taiwan have proven that bananas are wholesome. Yes, yes, this is not a joke, bananas can be “charged” into the blender directly as a whole, along with the peel, richer even more than the pulp itself, with potassium (to restore the water-salt balance, retain water and prevent muscle cramps), serotonin (for good mood) and lutein (for the eyes).

Keep in mind that a quarter or half of a banana fixes, one or more bananas do not significantly affect digestion, and if you eat a lot (a kilogram or more) of bananas at a time, it can weaken.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries go great with milk and bananas in a “recovery**” smoothie in the first 30 minutes after a workout. A few years ago, blueberries became known as a “superfood,” and for good reason. After all, it contains a shock dose of antioxidants – substances that fight free radicals. Blueberries are low-calorie, but at the same time have a high glycemic index: these are “fast sugars”. For diabetics, the phrase “high glycemic index” is extremely unpleasant, but for the average vegan or vegetarian athlete, it should only cause positive emotions – because this means that glucose will quickly enter the bloodstream and the muscles will be nourished. Frozen blueberries do not lose their main beneficial properties. In addition to natural sugars and a high dose of antioxidants, blueberries contain lutein, which is good for the eyes. In general, it is blueberries – and deservedly so! – one of the best and favorite ingredients for pre- and post-workout smoothies. 5. Tomatoes

With tomatoes, we smoothly transition from a post-workout snack in the first 30 minutes. after playing sports, to a solid meal, which should follow no later than 30-120 minutes after the end of the run workout. Tomatoes are a very familiar food, and someone will say: well, what’s so special about them? But in fact, nowadays scientists are increasingly celebrating (organic) tomatoes, discovering more and more useful substances in them. Moreover, tomatoes are especially useful for athletes, because. they are full of substances useful for post-workout recovery, including vitamin B6. It is he who, as has been proven in mice, helps to store more energy (in the form of glycogen) in the muscles. Loaded with antioxidants, tomatoes are low in calories (about 1 calories in 27 cup of mashed tomatoes!) and contain many beneficial vitamins and minerals. Remember: 1) heat treatment of tomatoes (as well as carrots) retains many useful properties, and even enhances others, 2) tomatoes do not combine with cucumbers in one meal. 6. Whole grain pasta (spaghetti)

We used to think that pasta is some kind of super-harmful food “for the poor.” And if you are losing weight, then indeed, it makes sense to severely limit or completely eliminate pasta. At the same time, if you are into sports, especially running or cycling (i.e. applying endurance training), then nothing can argue with whole grain brown pasta. This is the most important constant source of energy – slow carbohydrates – which you will need 100%! Simple and cheap (well, more or less: brown pasta is 2 times more expensive than white) at the same time. A plate of pasta is, according to many sports nutritionists and athletes, one of the best options that you can eat 2.5-3 hours before and 2 hours after an intense workout. Pasta provides rich glycogen stores in the muscles for maximum activity, provides a gradual flow of sugar (glucose) into the blood and an even mood, protects against dizziness and nausea during training. Unlike white pasta, whole-wheat pasta is far from empty calories (although athletes lean on pasta made from semolina white flour). A cup of cooked brown pasta has 6 grams of fiber! What is brown pasta with – you probably already understood from the previous paragraph – with tomatoes! And if it seems to you that the “brown” pasta is somehow tough, just try a different variety brand: they are very different. It is useful to knead yogurt, spirulina, nutritious oils into pasta – but, of course, not ketchup. 7. Green tea

Runners love it, and not only for its refreshing, pleasant taste – green tea is high in catechins (a type of antioxidant). Studies conducted in Japan on mice have proven that the beneficial ingredients of green tea (green tea extract) increase physical endurance. In addition, green tea helps to reduce excess weight (17% more with moderate intensity training), thus. improving sports performance. Most importantly, green tea reduces muscle damage during exercise by controlling free radicals. Finally, green tea is a runner’s “best friend” also because it contains the “correct”, small dose of caffeine: only 24-30 mg per glass (for comparison, a glass of black coffee has 120-170 mg of caffeine), which has proven effective in runs of any length. Caffeine in small quantities positively stimulates the nervous system and reduces perceived physical activity: subjectively, it becomes easier to exercise. It is logical to assume that a small dose of caffeine is useful not only for runners, but also for other athletes. 8. Coconut water

If I haven’t convinced you about green tea and you’re still “against” caffeine in any amount, try drinking coconut water before, during, and after your workout. Even packaged, coconut water does not lose its beneficial qualities – this is the best sports drink to restore the water-salt balance in the body on days of intense training! Coconut water is a healthy, wholesome alternative to chemical sports drinks like Red Bulls and Gatorades, which are high in sugar and caffeine. If it is not financially possible to constantly drink coconut water, water with banana and lemon juice (mix in a blender) replaces it to some extent: this mixture also contains the necessary electrolytes. Before training, on time and after, you should not drink empty water, especially in one gulp, but little by little, coconut water. The load on the heart and sweating will decrease, athletic performance will increase, dehydration of the body will decrease, and after class you will feel noticeably better than on the water! 9. Superfoods

Superfoods are especially healthy products – this is a way for athletes to “recharge” with nutrients and protein, and please themselves. But the latter is also important, especially if you give all your best “until you drop” every other day. You need to eat more foods like:

  • Quinoa
  • Porridge (or drinks) from hempseed
  • coconut flour
  • black rice
  • Tef
  • Tempe
  • Sesame seed and oil from it
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • green kale
  • And other greens
  • Any ripe organic fruits and vegetables at least 5 servings per day. Many fruits and vegetables are classified as “superfoods” these days.

At the same time, you should not lean on legumes, rice, potatoes, fatty, spicy, sweet drinks. Do not exceed “your” (individual!) norm of milk and raw vegetables and fruits per day. All this can lead to fatigue of the digestive system, loss of energy, slagging of the body, nervousness, dryness in the joints – or, conversely, to excessive sweating and excess mucus in the body. Everything is good in moderation – and as athletes, we must know our limits! 10. Hercules (oatmeal)

Oatmeal is common for breakfast, and for good reason – it really is “food for Hercules” (Hercules)! Sports nutritionists insist that 60% of your calories come from carbohydrates. **** So, oatmeal is one of the simplest and yet healthy sources of carbohydrates – in addition to those listed above! A true vegan athlete is ready and happy to eat porridge at any time of the day, especially since now there are a lot of instant varieties of oatmeal that are convenient to eat separately and add as a filling in smoothies. Hercules porridge is literally crammed with useful vitamins and minerals! Such porridge with fresh fruits and berries is especially good. In addition, you can put in it such “super additives” as agave syrup, Jerusalem artichoke syrup, maple syrup, and even spirulina (the latter will take a little getting used to). In the diet of a vegetarian and a vegan, there are hundreds of useful products, and you can’t list them all in one material! The topic of healthy nutrition for athletes is broad and ambiguous. Therefore, this article does not claim to be comprehensive, it is just one of the possible options for the diet of a “green”, ethical athlete. The information is provided for your general information. If there are health complaints and health restrictions, a doctor’s advice is required. This article does not recommend self-medication. * Very rough, on average, compared to omnivores (omnivores), given the typical prognosis for chronic diseases, strokes, and heart attacks traditionally associated with meat-eating. ** Restoring “what”? – beginner athletes always ask – tissue repair and nutrient supply inside the muscles, and the overall energy reserves of the body (not only in the muscles themselves) – i.e. in fact, restoring readiness for the next serious workout! *** With individual intolerance to milk (this is rare), it is not useful for you. **** Carbohydrates – carbohydrates, carbs – almost a dirty word in the lexicon of many supporters of a healthy diet. The fact is that a couple of decades ago, American scientists literally declared war on carbohydrates. Today, their benefits have been proven. Among the problems that limit athletic performance, modern nutritionists cite, among other things, the consumption of less than 50% of calories from carbohydrates: athletes are recommended at least 60%.

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