Vegan Protein for Athletes

More and more people are switching to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. Does that mean your fit life will suffer from nutritional deficits? It can, but if you plan carefully, it doesn’t have to suffer. Athletes need a higher amount of protein than the average person. Knowing what your vegan protein sources are and how they can be combined together is essential to success.

There are plenty of benefits to vegan protein sources. One benefit is improved digestion from a higher amount of fiber found in the high protein legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Vegan protein can also boost your metabolism. Since fiber and protein combined means your body has to work harder to break down the food, your body burns extra fat through the process of metabolism.

Plant based diets can help improve cardiovascular health by lowering the amount of cholesterol and saturated fats found in many animal fats and proteins. Veggies, nuts, and seeds are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help boost overall health.

To ensure you are getting all nine essential amino acids, you’ll either want to use a complete vegan protein source, such as soy, tempeh, edamame, or golden peas. In addition to complete sources, you can add a few plant based sources together to get all the amino acids you need. New research suggests that all sources of vegan protein have a certain level of each amino acid, so simple combining them over the course of the day will get you to the needed levels.

Vegan protein sources include legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and protein supplements. Legumes include black, pinto, and kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soy tofu. Examples of wholegrains include buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, and whole wheat. Nuts and seeds with high protein include almonds, chia seeds, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Ideally you want to use as much whole, clean foods to fulfill your protein needs as possible. However, protein supplements are a quick and easy way to add vegan protein to your diet. There are a wide variety of vegan protein products available on the market including soy, pea, bean, and seed powders. No longer are vegan protein options tasteless and bland – they come in many delicious flavors.

Since vegan diets are typically lower in certain vitamins, iron, and zinc, adding in green vegetables like asparagus, brussels sprouts and broccoli can help add nutrients your body needs. In addition, fruits like berries, pomegranates, cherries, and oranges can help provide antioxidants and a sweet treat.

Did you know? Refined sugars are usually bleached using animal bone char filters. The sugar doesn’t contain any animal particles, but it has come into contact with them during the process. There are other vegan friendly sugar options, including agave, coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses, stevia, and vegan granulated sugar.

Kelsey Xander
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