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The plant-powered athlete | Health Beat

A diet rich in plant-based foods delivers a host of benefits for high-performing athletes, including better recovery times and a leaner body composition. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

A diet that maximizes an endurance athlete’s performance should provide steady energy, enable efficient blood flow and promote post-exercise recovery.

It should also improve the athlete’s overall body composition.

“A diet comprised of whole, plant-based foods can accomplish all these goals, in addition to preventing chronic disease,” said Kristi Artz, MD, medical director of lifestyle medicine at Spectrum Health.

Dr. Artz looked at each of these positive effects of a plant-based diet and explained how it can enhance athletic performance.

Steady energy

The primary fuel source for exercising and training comes from blood glucose and glycogen stored in muscle tissue, Dr. Artz said.

Complex carbohydrates in the form of beans, legumes, whole grains and root vegetables provide a steady, nutrient-rich source of

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