Adopt a power supply 100% vegetable it can be a winning choice for those who practice sports at an amateur level, but also at a high level. This type of diet based on whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables in abundance and dehydrated dried fruit, together with oil seeds, is in fact “nutrient dense“That is rich in nutrients essential for the human body.
Not surprisingly, sportsmen of the caliber of Carl Lewis, probably the greatest sprinter of the modern era, or Alexey Voyevoda, the Russian vegan athlete who became a gold medal in bobsleigh at the 2014 Winter Olympics, found in 100% vegetable nutrition an ally of life to have a clean and lightened body.
“And there are many benefits that can be obtained through a diet of this type,” explains Dr. Denise Filippin, nutritionist biologist expert in 100% vegetable nutrition, in her brochure ‘Vegan nutrition for sport ‘ made for the Scientific Society of Vegetarian Nutrition (SSNV). Between these:
- Decrease in oxidative stress linked to physical activity. Nutrition rich in antioxidants can be useful to combat exercise-induced oxidative stress: some studies have shown that the use of antioxidants in the form of supplements it does not have the same beneficial effect as those naturally contained in plant foods and, on the contrary, can slow down muscle recovery. All plant foods contain antioxidants; the richest ones are: blackcurrant, blueberries, artichokes, black cabbage, blackberries and raspberries, grapefruits, strawberries, peppers, dried tomatoes, oranges, kiwis, black sesame and pistachios.
- Better recovery post workout.
- Increased efficiency of the immune system. In particular, the carotenoids and omega 3 fatty acids contained in flax seeds and walnuts in high quantities, showed a positive activity on the immune system.
Proteins: how to regulate
Yet, very often, those who practice sport regularly give up a vegan diet for fear of not introducing the right one dose of protein. In fact, there is no reason to rule out this type of diet. “The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – explains Dr. Filippin – recommends increasing the income by 10% compared to the needs indicated for non-vegan athletes, due to the higher content of fibers of a 100% vegetable diet “. Moreover, soy derivatives, legumes, cereals, dried fruit and oil seeds they can provide adequate amounts of protein without requiring the use of special foods or supplements. It is enough to consume in the day protein sources different types of vegetables, therefore alternate whole grains, legumes and dried fruit in particular in meals. But beware of do not overdo it with the daily protein quota, warns the expert. “For an amateur activity, also exercised every day, and for endurance sports, it is advisable to stay in the lower limit (1.3 g / kg / day). There are no data in the literature that confirm benefits in the intake of protein amounts greater than 2 g / kg / day. Conversely, a protein excess it creates an overwork for the kidneys, which have to dispose of the nitrogenous waste due to their digestion ”.
Here you can view a table drawn up by our expert with the protein content for different plant foods.
The nutrients to bring to the table
“The suppositories deficiencies of a vegan diet they are almost always anecdotal and in any case never correspond to reality, especially if the daily diet is based on the use of fresh foods. In particular, the diet will be all the more rich in minerals is vitamins the more you will consume fresh vegetables and foods that are as whole and unrefined or processed as possible ”, says the nutritionist. Let’s look at a few below key nutrients, to be taken into particular consideration for those who practice sports: calcium, iron, omega 3, zinc, iodine, vitamins D and B12.
- Football. Become part of the skeletal structure and plays a role in muscle contraction. “The excellent sources of calcium with high bioavailability – says the expert – are vegetables a green leaf and low in oxalates such as endive, rocket and radicchio, chicory, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, thistles, artichokes, cabbage and broccoli green. Calcium is also contained in the dried fruit and in oil seeds, in particular in sesame seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, flax seeds, as well as in dried figs and dehydrated apricots “.
- Iron. “It is a mineral to which particular attention should be paid in sports because of the increased demand to meet the needs in female sex“, Points out Dr. Filippin. “Iron is present in food in two forms: heme and non-heme. The non-heme iron it represents 100% of the iron contained in plant foods and eggs; in meat and fish, on the other hand, 60% of the iron is in non-heme form, while the remainder is in heme form. Also in plant foods it is present in high quantities, as in legumes, in some vegetables such as green radicchio, rocket, turnip greens, endive, broccoli and chicory. It also appears in dried fruit (pistachios and cashews) ”.
- Omega 3. “They are very important because they perform important functions, being involved in the formation of muscle membranes, in the development of brain, retina and nervous system ”, writes the nutritionist. Fundamental substances to be taken if you play sports, also because, according to recent studies, a correct intake of omega 3 seems to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation training induced. “It is therefore necessary to guarantee a good intake of omega 3 every day through the use of plant foods that are rich in it”, recommends Dr. Filippin. “For sports enthusiasts they can be recommended 2 servings a day, taking into account that a portion corresponds to 2 teaspoons of linseed oil or 3 teaspoons of flax seed ground or 30 g of shelled walnuts or 15 g of ground chia seeds. To keep the omega 3 intact, however, it is advisable to remember that linseed oil must be purchased and consumed just cold: the shop must keep it in the fridge; so if you find the product on the shelves, it no longer contains omega 3 and should not be chosen. If you decide to use seeds instead, they go chopped just before consumption with a simple coffee grinder to take full advantage of their properties “.
- Zinc. Although vegan diets may contain lower amounts of zinc than omnivorous ones, the organism is able to compensate a reduced intake of this mineral by increasing its absorption. It is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, therefore it cannot be missing in the daily diet. “It is present in many plant foods such as i legumes, whole grains, nuts and oil seeds ”, says the expert.
- Iodine. Its deficiency can lead to thyroid problems and dysfunctions. For this it is recommended the consumption of iodized salt in the daily diet.
- Vitamin B12. Fundamental for the correct functioning of the nervous system and involved in the formation of red blood cells and energy metabolism, the international scientific associations that deal with vegetarian nutrition also suggest for vegan athletes a correct intake of vitamin B12 through the use of supplements available on the market.
It is also important not to neglect the right daily hydration through the intake of water. “By many it is not considered a nutrient because it brings zero calories – says Dr. Filippin – in reality, it is essential for the proper functioning of the body, bearing in mind that even a modest dehydration it can have serious repercussions on physical efficiency. Just think that the loss of only 2% of hydration can cause one decrease in performance sporty by 20% “. Which one to choose? “That mineralized – recommends the expert – because those with low mineral content or purified by osmotic treatments contain very few minerals, which could already be reduced due to sweating and physical effort “.
Sport, if carried out in the open air, under the sun’s rays, also has the advantage of making us synthesize vitamin D, essential for fixing calcium in the bones. “During the winter period, when the intensity and hours of sunlight are reduced – it is possible to resort to supplements. Most of these are of animal origin, but there are today various products made with all vegetable ingredients”, Concludes the nutritionist.
The typical day
The food day of athletes who follow a 100% plant-based diet should be personalized with the aim of introducing the right amount of nutrients and proteins. Dr. Denise Filippin points out one to us “type” scheme of 2200 kcal suitable for a woman 30 years old, amateur sportswoman, 170 cm tall and 60 kg in weight.
BREAKFAST: Oat-based drink (200 g); oat flakes (50 g); almonds (20 g); banana (150 g)
MORNING SNACK: Strawberries (200g) with white soy yogurt (125g)
LUNCH: Mixed salad (100 g); wholemeal semolina pasta (100 g) with lentil ragout (tomatoes – 100 g puree + 30 g dried lentils + 5 g basil); grilled eggplant (150 g); 10 g of ground flax seeds powdered on food on cold or warm dishes to introduce omega 3; extra virgin olive oil (5 g); pineapple (100 g)
AFTERNOON SNACK: Sandwich with wholemeal bread (60 g), 100% fruit jam (20 g) and almond cream (20 g)
DINNER: Mixed salad (100 g); brown rice (80 g) with asparagus (150 g) and chopped almonds (10 …