Is Venus Williams’ Vegan Diet Enough?

Venus Williams recently announced that she is withdrawing from the Australian Open but plans to compete in February. Placing a similar statement on her official Twitter account and website, Venus continues to contend with Sjogren's Syndrome. She has switched to a vegan diet to deal with the symptoms of the disease. Is the diet enough to help her return to tennis in the future?

Venus Williams.
Wikimedia Commons

Sjogren's Syndrome

Venus Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome in 2011. It is a chronic condition that does not have a cure. Venus has previously admitted that her problems with Sjogren's Syndrome forced her to withdraw from tournaments. The disease affects multiple areas of the body and is characterized by joint pain, dry mucous membranes and intestinal problems. The symptoms can often be controlled through dietary changes and medication, but the results vary.

Vegan Diet

A vegetarian diet is one of the common recommendations for people suffering from Sjogren's Syndrome. Since it is considered an autoimmune disease, the dietary changes for Sjogren's aim to reduce the impact of inflammation. Patients are advised to change to a vegetarian diet while increasing the amount of vitamins and minerals they consume from food sources.

There have been rumors among fans that Venus Williams may be on a gluten free diet. However, she has not confirmed this information, and her previous statements only mention a vegan diet. Although some medical experts recommend a gluten free diet for people with Sjogren's Syndrome, there is still debate on this topic. Not everyone who suffers from Sjogren's has celiac disease and requires a gluten free diet.

Future Goals for Venus

Venus has changed to a raw vegan diet to help her handle the issues with Sjogren's Syndrome. She has admitted to carefully evaluating her food choices to reduce the impact of the disease. Is a vegan diet enough for her to make a comeback? Her decision to withdraw from the Australian Open does not bode well for her career. However, she may simply be taking more time and gaining her strength for future goals. I think she may be focusing her energy on Wimbledon and the London Olympics.

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Lana has a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry. She is an avid athlete, youth coach and follows several sports. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.

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Updated Thursday, Jan 12, 2012