According to a review published in the journal Nutrients covering 77 prior studies, the authors found that plant-based diets resulted in lower recovery time and a general improvement in cardiovascular health for endurance athletes. These benefits associated with a plant-based diet can be pinpointed to the abundance and benefits of the antioxidants being consumed.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is common after particularly vigorous strength training workouts and endurance training (marathon running was the primary form of exercise in these studies). Stiffness in joints and tendons is also common with DOMS, and the recovery period will usually last for as long as the DOMS symptoms remain. Plant-based diets are found to be particularly high in the antioxidant known as nitric oxide, which is found in high concentration in beets and other plants and has been found to improve blood flow. With improved blood flow comes more efficient delivery of vitamins and minerals essential for recovery, as well as other unrelated health benefits.
Inflammation is considered the root cause of several chronic illnesses including heart disease. Inflammation also adds up in the body particularly when performing endurance exercises, as these apply stress on the body. Surprisingly, studies found that individuals who regularly run more than half a marathon have the same cardiovascular disease risk as those who hardly exercise at all. This is because the stress of regularly running more than half a marathon leads to a massive build up of inflammation. There is an abundance of antioxidants in every plant-based diet which function to reduce inflammation throughout the body, thereby reducing the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with endurance training.