A diet as an athlete has a critical role in their performance. The focus in today’s society is that meat makes people tough. Dieting is a universal stereotype. How can a plant-based diet give someone enough energy? People should support a plant-based diet because their performance will improve, it will prevent long-term damage to their health and will consume enough protein, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins if not more than an animal-based diet.
An athlete’s performance can improve by switching to a plant protein-based diet vs. animal protein-based diet. Many athletes have an outdated concept of nutrition. Their perception of an animal vs. plant proteins can sustain energy. According to Dr. James Loomis, Former Team Physician of the St. Louis Ram/Cardinals, ‘Actual power from exercise comes from carbohydrates that are glycogen which we store in our muscles. We sacrifice those carbs-calories for protein-calories in our diets. What happens is chronic glycogen depletion found in the tissue can lead to chronic fatigue and loss of stamina.’ Many athletes believe that in order to have the proper nutrition, we attain that from animal protein, particularly meats, to help get bigger and stronger to perform at high levels. All the protein that an individual consumes is from eating meat. Protein comes from plants that the livestock feed. Livestock is simply the middleman in our food chain. Meat eater’s vs. plant-eaters showed in various studies that not only do plant-eater get enough protein but attain 70% more than they need (4). Meat eaters roughly get half their protein from plants (4). If an athlete were to choose a plant-based diet, their athletic performance would skyrocket with the nutrition that they can benefit from plants.
Athletes do not realize that if they were to switch to a plant-based protein diet now, their health when they are older would reward them. Because of food, we eat daily in life can affect our hearts, lungs, and blood flow. Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn. Jr Director of disease, reversal program, Cleveland clinic’s said, ‘In the western organization there is nothing more common than Coronary Artery Heart Disease.’ His methods of changing to a plant diet are known to move heart disease backward in five years’ (Esselstyn). In the ‘The health advantage of a vegan diet: Exploring the gut microbiota connection study,’ ‘an animal meal can weaken blood flow. This study explored the stomach and found that plant-based foods have a different outcome on the endothelium by rising function and blood flow. ‘(Glick-Bauer M, Yeh). The endothelium has a lining of blood vessels that normalize blood flow through the body. If a particular organ or muscle group need more blood flow, it will dilate and open up. When the endothelium blood is compromised, it cannot open up as much and allow blood flow. This issue can cause heart disease, heart attacks, and ruin athletic performance. Athletes need to realize that if they were to switch to a plant-based diet, they could save the toll on their bodies when they get older.
Athletes can consume enough proteins, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins if not more than and animal-based diet. Plant-Based diets optimize the development of new blood vessels and tissues that may have been damaged. When the body analyzes the damages, it will create new tissues, tendons, and muscles. Plants help fight off infections by stimulating the immune system with all of the nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. Eating the right foods will speed up healing. In reference to the article ‘All about antioxidants,’ Antioxidants are found entirely in plants that have 64 times the antioxidants content than animal foods (Oliveira, Rosane). Agreeing to the ‘Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, ‘protein is essential depending on the packaging it is coming in. In plant-based, you are getting protein packaged with fibers, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that can reduce inflammation, optimize the micro bio, optimize blood supply, and optimize the body’s performance (Hever, Julieanna).’ By consuming animal products, we would be changing the micro bio in our stomach. Micro bio is a bacterial species that boosts inflammation development and start to create umpires of the inflammation. The quality of proteins lies with the chain of Amino Acids. Some amino acids our bodies cannot make, which is called the essential amino acids, which we have to get from food. One of the arguments is that plant-based protein cannot get all the Amino Acids. It has been proven that every essential amino acid is found in many, if not all, plants in different ratios. Although it has been an argument that plant-based diets cannot attain all levels of nutrient’s athletes can consume enough proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in various proportions.
In closing, by supporting a plant-based diet, it can benefit optimal performance, prevent long-term damage to health. Athletes can consume enough protein, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins if not more than animal-based diets in various proportions. Researching this topic has changed my aspect of meat vs. plan-based diets. I have always believed that you could only achieve the best nutrition through meats. I have learned that the greener you eat, the cleaner you are. Your optimal performance is going to improve and help you fight diseases. In hopes that many readers find this useful, ask yourself, ‘what can you benefit from a Plant-based diet vs. Animal based diet?’ Try not to fall into the stereotype and be the healthy change you wish the world could be.