For a vegan, primary nutrition is obtained from plant-based foods. Although the diet is rich in fibre and low in unhealthy fats, following a strict diet devoid of animal products may limit the intake of calories and certain nutrients. As a runner, you might be worried on missing out on some of the key nutrients that are easily available from food of animal origin that can have an impact on your overall health and performance levels.1,2
How to tweak your diet for better performance?
A little tweaking of your regular diet can help you get the desired nutrition and help reach your performance goals. Here are a few key nutrients, as a vegan you need to focus on to boost your performance levels during the run.
Carbohydrates are your immediate source of energy, proteins are needed for muscle growth and repair and fats act as an alternate source of fuel when carbohydrate and protein supplies are low.2-4
Sources of macronutrients for vegans3-6
The key vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12 may be found in the below mentioned food sources.1,3,4 Sources of Micronutrients for Vegans1,7,8,9
Consume a diverse diet
Choose from a variety of foods and try to include foods from all food groups regularly. Include yellow and orange fruits and green leafy vegetables in your diet. These can help you get plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and essential amino acids.
Drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay well hydrated.1-4
1. National health Service. The vegan diet. UK: National health Service; 2015.
2. Organic athlete. Guide to sports nutrition. NC, USA: Organic athlete; 2006.
3. American Heart Association. Vegetarian Diets. TX, USA: American Heart Association: 2016.
4. Expert Group of the Indian Council of Medical Research. Nutrient Requirements and Recommended Dietary Allowances for Indians. Hyderabad, India: National Institute of Nutrition; 2010.
5. Baker A. Essentials of nutrition for sports. San Diego: Argo Publishing; 2016.
6. FAO food and nutrition paper. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Rome, Italy; 2010.
7. Maughan R. Role of micronutrients in sport and physical activity. Br Med Bull. 1999;55(3):683-90.
8. Clarkson PM, Thompson HS. Antioxidants: what role do they play in physical activity and health? Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(2 suppl):637S-46S.
9. FAO. Basic nutrition. In: Human nutrition in the developing world. Rome; FAO: 1997.