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Can you be vegan as a footballer?

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  • 1. What does science say about veganism in sports?
  • 2. Which professional footballers are vegan?
  • 3. What do vegan footballers have to pay attention to?
  • 4. What can I eat as a vegan footballer?
  • 5. What vegan equipment is available?

Serge Gnabry does it, as does Luca Waldschmidt: As a professional footballer, you live a vegan lifestyle. What inspires and convinces vegan athletes about this nutritional style? And what do you have to consider if you live vegan and play football? You can find out here.

1. What does science say about veganism in sports?

Can adequate protein intake, strength and optimal health for athletes be achieved without animal products? Doctors and nutrition experts do not completely agree on this issue.

The University of Quebec conducted a study in 2020 and showed: A vegan diet has an effect in no way negative for muscle strength and endurance out of. Quite the opposite – there was a tendency for the vegan test subjects to have better endurance than those who had meat in their diet. You can find the complete study here.

In addition, doctors from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC have reviewed studies on the topic and confirmed that a plant-based diet is beneficial positive influence on cardiovascular risk factors, blood pressure and body weight and thus contributes to the protection of the cardiovascular system. And this is also beneficial for competitive athletes: high levels of physical activity can lead to oxidative stress in the body and the antioxidants, which are so abundant, especially in fruits and vegetables, can counteract oxidative stress and reduce the likelihood of inflammation. You can read the paper here.

Nevertheless, you hear again and again that a purely plant-based diet is not optimal or even dangerous. keyword Deficiency symptoms. However, the supply of nutrients depends less on whether someone eats meat or not and more on the balance of the diet.

2. Which professional footballers are vegan?

The following players are known to follow either a completely or predominantly vegan diet:

  • Luca Waldschmidt (VFL Wolfsburg)
  • Serge Gnabry (FC Bayern and national team)
  • Hector Bellerin (FC Barcelona)
  • Sergio Aguero (formerly FC Barcelona and Argentine national team)

For example, there is also food from the ranks of former footballers Timo Hildebrand (VfB Stuttgart and Eintracht Frankfurt) vegan. He loves eating vegan. He says that with this eating style he feels much fitter, more balanced and more energetic than before. It also has a positive influence on his sleep and he regenerates better than before, when he ate more carelessly. You can find the entire interview with him here.

And even about Lionel Messi He is led to believe that he is vegan – but no. His nutritionist simply advises him to consume little meat. But he gave the star five components that should not be missing in a healthy (and also vegan) diet: fresh fruit, vegetables, water, olive oil and whole grains.

3. What do vegan footballers have to pay attention to?

If you as a footballer follow a vegan diet or want to eat a vegan diet, pay attention to:

  • One varied diet: Veganism doesn’t just mean eating bread with Nutella or pasta with tomato sauce. Try to eat as many different food groups (fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains) as possible – then you will be well supplied with all the important nutrients.
  • Enough Protein: Contrary to popular belief, getting enough protein is usually not a problem for vegans. Ideal vegan protein sources are tofu, legumes, pseudograins (chia, quinoa, amaranth) or seeds and kernels.
  • Enough Calories: Anyone who follows a vegetarian/vegan diet will quickly consume too few calories, as plant-based foods generally have a lower calorie density. As an athlete, you have increased calorie needs. Good vegan sources of calories include: (whole grain) pasta, porridge, dates, smoothies.
  • Die Micronutrients vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and iodine: These substances are actually difficult or even impossible to cover with plant-based food. Vegans may need to supplement them. It’s best to discuss this with a doctor.
  • Your Body feeling: Despite regular training (and enough sleep), you don’t feel fitter and more productive, but rather tired and listless? Then this could indicate a nutrient deficiency. It’s best to get yourself checked out by your family doctor.

4. What can I eat as a vegan footballer?

The perfect diet for vegan footballers isn’t much different from one balanced sports nutrition. The most important components are:

  • Whole grain products and pseudograins (such as quinoa): They are good sources of protein and a source of zinc and B vitamins.
  • legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, soy and kidney beans are an ideal source of protein. They also provide the body with complex carbohydrates, calcium, iron, fiber and B vitamins.
  • fruit and vegetables: The antioxidants in it protect the body from stress during training and games. They also provide calcium, fiber and protein. Fruit is a great source of vitamins.
  • Water (at least 2 liters a day): It sounds too simple, but it’s effective: Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated reduces the likelihood of headaches, heat strokes and fatigue.

You can combine these ingredients into the following dishes, for example:

  • Breakfast: smaller Fruit salad and bread – preferably whole grain – or Porridge with nuts or seeds
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with lentil bolognese
  • Snack: dark chocolate, Nuts, vegan quark or nacho chips
  • Dinner: Quinoa or amaranth vegetable stir-fry with herb or cocktail sauce
  • And generally: Drink a lot!

5. What vegan equipment is available?

For those who not only want to eat a vegan diet, but also want to bring the vegan lifestyle into other areas of life, many doors are also open in football. Football boots and footballs are becoming increasingly rare made of genuine leatherand increasingly made of ultra-light and high-tech materials that do not lack comfort and breathability (such as the adidas men’s Predator Edge.3 shoe).

When it comes to bags, it’s also worth choosing vegan ones, because they not only enable animals to live a suffering-free life, but also usually protect the environment because they are manufactured more consciously and in a more environmentally friendly way. And also functional and Robust shin guards are now available made of bamboo, 100% polyester and/or artificial leather. So if you’re looking for vegan equipment, you’ll find what you’re looking for and won’t have to save anything when it comes to quality.

Conclusion: Anyone who eats a vegan diet benefits from it – even as a competitive athlete. Most of the time, being vegan generally helps you lead a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown that such a diet does not hinder performance, helps the body to have more energy and strengthens the cardiovascular system. However, more studies need to be done on the topic in the future so that long-term effects can be shown.

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