Vegan food and sport: how to behave

Food plays a very important role in our lives, especially when we do sports. However, doubts can sometimes arise.

How to behave, for example, if you are among the 2.4% of Italians who follow a vegan diet?

Urban Sports Club, the leading platform in Europe for access to more than 10,000 sports and fitness centers, involved one of the experts in its network of partners, Dr. Alessandra Petti, a nutritionist with Fit And Go, to clarify the issue.

How to improve your performance if you follow a vegan diet

According to Dr. Petti, it is good to remember that any style of eating should be adapted and enhanced according to the type of activity that is practiced. In addition, the intensity and duration of training need to be modulated according to your diet. How? There are a few simple rules:

  • integrates micronutrients: those on a vegan diet may lack some nutritional elements: it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about assessing the integration of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, Iron, Zinc and Calcium;
  • choose protein: the vegan diet does not in any way involve the consumption of animal protein, so you need to choose the right vegetable protein (in case you can ask for the help of a nutritionist);
  • eat less fiber on training days, and prefer foods like rice, pasta and potatoes, or shelled legumes;
  • you prefer more frequent meals: vegan menus tend to have a low energy density, so it is sometimes not immediate to compensate for the high caloric intake due to sports activity. A useful tip may be to organize more frequent meals, avoiding a concentrated calorie accumulation in a single time;
  • for an energy boost it is advisable to consume items with high energy density such as seeds, nuts and oils, especially on training days.

Mistakes to avoid

Relying on a specialist when it comes to sports and following a vegan diet is very important. Personalized advice is needed to focus on well-being and increase performance, as doing so yourself can lead to complications that are sometimes not easily resolved. In addition, those who also follow a low-calorie course aimed at weight loss, should remember that training days calorie intake cannot be the same as a sedentary day.

1. Avoid abusing whole foods if you have intestinal tenderness, irritable bowel problems, and digestive difficulties.

2. Avoid eating monotonously by following food rotation patterns throughout the day and week.

3. Drink enough to help the body recover mineral salts and restore the body’s water balance.

What to eat in training rounds

On training days, it is good to increase your carbohydrate intake both on the day of training and the next day, to promote muscle recovery and reduce natural oxidative stress due to activity. In addition, it is advisable to eat foods with a high biological and caloric value such as dried and dried fruit, cereals, legumes and oilseeds.

If training is scheduled in the morning or in the afternoon, you need to have a full snack an hour and a half or two hours before, so that the body has time to start much of the digestive process and, at the same time, has the energy needed to start the session. From breakfast or lunch, you should spend at least two hours before exercising, especially if you eat foods high in fiber and long-chain carbohydrates, such as legumes or whole foods.

On training days, the three main meals should be complete and balanced, both from the point of view of micro and macronutrients. Therefore, you need to take carbohydrates (cereals, rice, bread and potatoes), proteins (legumes, tofu, oilseeds, quinoa) and lipids (oilseeds, nuts, extra virgin olive oil), as well as vegetables. source of water and micronutrients.

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