The subject of what elite athletes put on their plates is often shrouded in secrecy. In recent years, however, it has been revealed that an increasing number of elite athletes from a wide range of sports are turning to a raw food diet.
The tennis superstar and marathoner who uses raw food to fuel superior performance
Venus Williams eats a raw food diet while running an extremely demanding training regime. The multiple grand slam winner switched to a vegan diet after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system attack moisture-producing glands. Williams happily reports that raw food and fresh juicing has greatly alleviated the symptoms of her disease. (1)
Next up is Kate Pallardy, a long time marathoner who also writes about raw food topics. She swears by the health benefits of her vegan diet, even claiming that it helps with her running. (2)
Plant-based diets responsible for optimal sports recovery
Another vegan powerhouse of note is Brendan Brazier. The retired Canadian endurance athlete and former Ironman triathlete is a strong advocate of a vegan diet with raw food taking center stage. After retirement, he founded the Vega line of nutritional supplements that incorporates the principles of a raw, alkaline plant-based diet into its product line. (3) According to Brazier, eating raw gave him an edge in his sport, with the tangible benefits of his diet including better sleep, lower cortisol levels and faster recovery time. (4)
One more encouraging example is Danette Rivera, a crossfitter who follows a diet that is mostly raw and gluten free. She confides, “My energy levels and rate of recovery especially are amazing. My strength gains continue.” (5)
Raw food a big hit among contact sports athletes
Interestingly, it appears that vegan eating regimes are being successfully incorporated by a wide range of pros, including contact sports athletes. Veteran NFL quarterback Tom Brady revealed in a recent interview that his off-season diet is based on an entirely raw vegan diet. (6)
Then there’s Mac Danzig, a retired Mixed Martial Artist and UFC fighter. Danzig’s career was a highly successful one, including 21 wins from 34 fights. The key to his success? His meticulous diet, according to Danzig. Specifically, he followed a low fat, raw vegan diet full of nuts, seeds and avocados in particular. “I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but it works for me.” (7)
With top sports stars from a breadth of disciplines raving about the benefits of raw food, maybe it’s time for all of us to think about what we eat. Do you know any budding athletes who could benefit from this information? Please consider sharing this article with them.
Image source: flic.kr