Mail Today - - GOOD HEALTH -

VE­G­AN­ISM is the best diet for ath­letes be­cause it boosts heart health, en­durance and re­cov­ery, ac­cord­ing to a sci­en­tific re­view.

Ath­letes, as well as the gen­eral pub­lic, are in­creas­ingly adopt­ing the diet for its re­ported ben­e­fits to health.

Venus Williams, Lewis Hamil­ton, David Haye and Der­rick Mor­gan are al­ready fans, de­spite their heavy sport sched­ules re­quir­ing strict food.

Now, ev­i­dence sup­ports that the diet — which uses pre­dom­i­nately beans and legumes for pro­tein in­stead of meat — can im­prove ath­lete's per­for­mance.

Ex­perts, led by Dr Neal Barnard at Ge­orge Washington Univer­sity School of Medicine, said the diet meets 'all their nu­tri­tional needs', while re­duc­ing body fat and con­trol­ling weight. 'It's no won­der that more and more ath­letes are rac­ing to a ve­gan diet,' coau­thor Dr James Loomis, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for the Barnard Med­i­cal Cen­ter, said.

'Whether you're train­ing for a couch-to-5K or an Ironman Triathlon, a plant-based diet is a pow­er­ful tool for im­prov­ing ath­letic per­for­mance and re­cov­ery.' The re­view of dozens of ex­ist­ing stud­ies, pub­lished in the jour­nal Nu­tri­ents, found a ve­gan diet play a key role in car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, which is crit­i­cal for en­durance ath­letes. Even well-trained ath­letes are at risk for heart dis­ease – around 44 per cent of mid­dleaged and older en­durance cy­clists or run­ners have plaque in their ar­ter­ies.

A low-fat, vege­tar­ian diet is the most ef­fec­tive di­etary pat­tern clin­i­cally shown to re­verse plaque, the au­thors said. And com­pared with meat eaters, vege­tar­i­ans are 32 per cent less likely to de­velop coro­nary heart dis­ease.

As com­pared to meat eaters, vege­tar­i­ans are 32 per cent less likely to de­velop coro­nary heart dis­ease.

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