Vegan food and sport, how does that go together?
As an athlete you can perform well on a plant-based diet. You also see more and more athletes who, for various reasons, go vegetarian or vegan. There are a number of points that you can pay attention to, so that your diet is complete enough without meat or other animal products. In this blog we tell you how vegan food and sport go together!
As a vegetarian you do not eat meat, but you do eat other animal products. This makes it easier to get your proteins, vitamins and minerals than a vegan who takes no animal products at all. In addition, vegetable products often contain fewer calories, making it extra important that you pay attention to whether you are getting enough energy.
Iron is an important point of attention for both a vegetarian and a vegan. For example, iron from an animal product is absorbed better than iron from a vegetable product. Iron is important, among other things, for transporting oxygen in your blood. You can get iron from whole grains, nuts, green leafy vegetables and legumes. But also think of iron-fortified apple syrup or meat replacement products to which iron has been added.
Iron is also better absorbed in combination with vitamin C and less well in combination with calcium, coffee and tea.
Proteins are the building blocks of your body. Vegetable products such as grains, nuts and legumes contain proteins, but not all amino acids. To get a complete set of proteins, it is wise to combine products with each other, so that you still get all the necessary amino acids. Think of rice with beans or whole wheat bread with peanut butter or hummus. Tofu or dairy substitutes based on soy are also a source of protein. Other plant-based drinks, such as almond milk or oat milk, contain very little protein. You could, for example, add one of our protein powders to this!
Calcium is mainly found in dairy. As a vegan, you can get calcium from, for example, calcium-fortified dairy substitutes, green leafy vegetables, seaweed, nuts and seeds. Calcium is important against bone loss and ensures proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
Vitamin B12 is important for, among other things, the production of red blood cells. These are necessary to carry oxygen in your blood. Vitamin B12 is also important for proper functioning of the nervous system.
Seaweed and algae do contain vitamin B12, but are less well absorbed. There are, however, meat replacement products and vegetable drinks to which vitamin B12 has been added.
Where as a vegetarian you can still take vitamin B12 from dairy, fish or eggs, as a vegan it is still recommended to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Vitamin D is mainly found in animal products. It can also be taken out of sunlight, but this can be a challenge in the winter months or for an indoor athlete. Vitamin D can be supplemented if necessary. Vitamin D3 is best absorbed and there are now also vegan variants of this.
These essential fatty acids are mainly obtained from fish. By regularly adding linseed and walnuts to your diet and choosing a supplement based on algae oil, it is possible to produce enough of the necessary EPA and DHA.
So if you, as an athlete with a vegetarian or vegan diet, pay attention to your diet, you can exercise well, without your performance and your health having to suffer!