Athlete and Vegetarian? What you should take into account Sportler und Vegetarier? Was sollten Sie berücksichtigen ¿Deportista y Vegetariano? Lo que debes tomar en cuenta

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Athlete and Vegetarian? What you should take into account

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Athlete and Vegetarian? What you should take into account

Whatever the reason that leads us to adopt a vegetarian diet, nowadays more and more top athletes are trying it and do it successfully. However there are some specifications that we must consider before opting for this type of diet.

For many athletes meat, with its high protein content, is the basis of muscle development and therefore it would be unthinkable to have a vegetarian diet, however, there are excellent sources of plant protein that can match the quality of meat protein.

The dilemma of proteins

Meat, dairy and eggs are the ultimate sources of protein in the diet of most people, Their proteins are complete and of high quality, which means they have all essential amino acids for the body, while plant proteins are usually deficient in many of these amino acids. However if we properly combine vegetable proteins, they can quite easily become equal to the quality of animal proteins.

For example, combining beans with corn, or lentils with bread can provide excellent quality protein.

People who follow a vegetarian diet regardless of whether or not they are a sportsman/woman should pay special attention to their intake of proteins since deficiency may be more common and a major cause of fatigue, which some people experience during their dietary change to vegetarianism. An athlete should know that protein products and plant foods tend to have a lower amount of protein than animal products and those that are rich in protein often also contain a significant percentage of carbohydrates.

An important fact which the athlete should be aware of is that a vegetarian diet will require consuming large amounts of food to meet their body's nutritional needs.

Other nutrients

Calcium, zinc and iron are minerals that are often not abundant in vegetarian diets, and an athlete may have higher requirements of these. An athlete must take care of their iron intake, particularly during periods of intense training, as a lack of iron can result in anemia, which not only affects the athlete's performance, but also will be reflected in his or her overall health.

Types of Vegetarians

Vegetarianism can be classified by food intake:

Frugivores: Their diet consists of nuts, fruits, seeds, honey and some vegetable oils.

Macrobiotics: A diet which totally excludes any food of animal origin, dairy and eggs. They eat only raw organic cereals and condiments such as miso and seaweed.

Vegans: Reject any food or animal product. In more extreme cases of veganism, they do not consume honey, wool, silk, leather and other products or condiments derived from animals.

Lacto-vegetarians: Exclude foods like meat and eggs, but do eat dairy products and milk.

Ovo-lacto-vegetarian: Does not consume meat, but does eat milk, dairy and eggs.

Quasi-vegetarians: Do not eat red meat, but more chicken, beef fat, fish, eggs and dairy.

Advantages and Disadvantages

You can definitely be vegetarian and a top athlete, however, a vegetarian diet should be well balanced which depends on the type of exercise you do and the lifestyle you live.

The advantages of leading a vegetarian diet is that it is a more natural diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Moreover, vegetarians tend to turn to organic foods which are generally free of undesirable substances and chemicals which normally our body must work to detoxify. Vegetarian diets can also help to decrease the recovery time of an injured athlete through reducing inflammation.

The disadvantages may be that food intake is not appropriate, especially proteins and vitamins like B12, so you may need to seek advice from a specialised nutritional counsellor to ensure that your diet is adequate.

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Tags: athlete muscle nutrients protein vegetarian

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8 Reviews about Athlete and Vegetarian? What you should take into account
on 22/03/2016
As others have already mentioned here, this article is based on a matter of opinion and I don't entirely agree with it. What works for one person may be completely counter-productive for another. I have to say as well, that I have heard many cases of vegetarians not receiving enough of the required vitamins and other nutrients, so to be an active athlete on top of that may be quite dangerous if not researched properly. Always seek advice of a professional if in doubt!
on 17/06/2014
It is completely possible to be a top-notch competitive athlete on a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. I have been a competitive cyclist and runner for many years now, and over a year ago decided to lead a more vegetarian lifestyle. Not only do I feel lighter and more agile, the nutrients consumed from fresh vegetables and fruits plucked directly from my garden help regenerate body tissues and ward off sickness.
on 01/09/2013
This is a matter of tastes, some people will agree and other disagree, and nobody has die of being a vegetarian athlete, maybe there should be more research about the complexity of this topic, saying which one is the best diet for sport people, but until then, we have to try by ourselves
on 29/08/2013
Well, I don't totally agree with the article, I mean, if you want to improve your muscles and gain mass I am pretty sure you need to consume meat, and if you don't you really need to mantain yourself with something full of protein which probably won't be organic or things like that, so I must see to believe...
on 26/08/2013
Pretty hard, but not impossible, I think that anyone can be able to maintain a vegetarian diet and still do activities that require high performance and gaingain proteins and more, you can do it but if you have the right diet plan and you control a little more your diet, and the supplements tht you can consume
on 28/08/2013
Nothing is impossible, you just have to find the ways to make it real, and if you are an athlete and you want to change your habits and become a vegetarian, still performing the same amount of exercise, you can do it with no problem if you just take into account all the things mentioned here
on 08/09/2013
Just like I said, the important thing is to be able to have the time, and to get the necessary foods, suplemments, and all the things you need to start following your exercise routine with no problems, and then you jut need to keep on going with no looking back,
on 22/08/2013
I?m not a total vegetarian but I try to do my best avoiding meats and especially red meat since even though many people believe it necessary, that is not so true, you can find a way to meet the requirements of your body and still be a good athlete with a high performance in whatever sport you practice.

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