Taekwondo Top 10 Super Foods

Tae Kwon Do SuperfoodsHere is a list of the top ten super foods that most health experts agree on. From fruits and vegetables, to whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes, this power-packed nutritional list will improve your training, and most importantly, your competitive edge!

Fruits

1. Cantaloupe

A quarter of cantaloupe provides you with almost all the vitamin A needed in one day. Since the beta-carotene in a cantaloupe converts to vitamin A, you get both nutrients at once. This helps with eye sight as well as keep our immune system ticking optimally.

These vision-strengthening nutrients may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Like an orange, cantaloupe is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which also helps our immune system. It is also is a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fibre, folate, niacin, and potassium, which helps maintain good blood sugar levels and metabolism. This pale orange power fruit may help reduce our risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

2. Blueberries

To me, blueberries are a mega super food.  They pack so much bang for your buck, especially for the size of them.

These mildly sweet (and sometimes tangy) berries offer a high capacity to destroy free radicals that can cause cancer. Low in calories, they offer antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which enhance the effects of vitamin C. These antioxidants may help prevent cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, haemorrhoids (ouch!), peptic ulcers, heart disease and cancer.

Vegetables

3: Tomatoes

Actually a fruit, tomatoes are thought of as a vegetable, since they are usually eaten with other vegetables.

Tomatoes help us fight against heart disease and cancers such as colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and cancer of the pancreas. Tomatoes are also good sources of vitamin C, A, and K. In a 2004 study, it was found that tomato juice alone can help reduce blood clotting.

Fresh, organic tomatoes deliver three times as much of the cancer-fighting carotenoid lycopene. Even organic ketchup is better for you than regular ketchup! Look for tomato pastes and sauces that contain the whole tomato (including peels) because you will absorb 75% more lycopene and almost two times the amount of beta-carotene.

4: Sweet Potatoes

As an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and manganese, sweet potatoes are also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. It helps protect us against emphysema and can strengthen our lungs, which is invaluable for intense sports such as Taekwondo.

For a unique dessert, cube a cooked sweet potato and slice a banana. Then lightly pour maple syrup over the top and add a dash or two of cinnamon. Add chopped walnuts for an even healthier kick.

5: Spinach and Kale

A cancer-fighter and cardio-helper, spinach and kale top the list as far as green leafy vegetables are concerned. Much like broccoli, they provide an excellent source of vitamin A and C. Kale is a surprisingly good source of calcium at 25% per cup, boiled. Vitamin K is abundantly found in spinach as well, with almost 200% of the Daily Value available, to help reduce bone loss.

Spinach isn’t just the food of Popeye.  It’s one of the foods I wouldn’t do without. It’s also full of protein and great for vegetarians looking to up the protein in their diet.

They’re also high in calcium, which helps guard against osteoporosis, and helps strengthen bones.  Definitely necessary if you hit peoples legs while kicking in competitions!

Being high in nutrients and high in protein, this helps in all your training phases.  When cutting weight, the high protein and nutrients help keep our bodies feeling full, so we’re not feeling hungry all the time.

Whole Grains

6: Whole Grains and Brown Rice

Whether it’s bread or pasta, the first thing to check for when purchasing whole grain bread and pasta is to make sure it is 100% whole grain. Remember to check the list of ingredients on the package. For example, look for the exact phrase “whole wheat flour” as one of the first ingredients listed in whole wheat bread. If it’s not listed as such, then it’s not whole grain. Wheat bran is a cancer-fighting grain that also helps us regulate our bowel movements.

Brown rice is also a better choice than refined grain (white rice) for the same reason as choosing whole wheat bread. Whole wheat flour or brown rice that turns into white flour or white rice actually destroys between 50-90% of vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and all of the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids we need. Even when processed white flour or white rice is “enriched,” it is not in the same form as the original unprocessed kind. In fact, 11 nutrients are actually lost and are not replaced during the “enrichment” process!

Nuts

7: Walnuts

These nuts are packed with omega-3 fats, which is one of the “good” fats. A quarter cup of walnuts would take care of about 90% of the omega-3s needed in one day. Walnuts provide many health benefits including protecting your heart, better thinking, anti-inflammatory advantages relating to asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. They can even help against cancer and also support the immune system.

Beans and Legumes

8: Black Beans and Lentils

While black beans are a good source of fibre that can lower cholesterol, so are lentils. The high fibre content in both black beans and lentils helps to maintain blood sugar levels. Also a fat-free, high quality protein with additional minerals and B-vitamins, black beans and lentils fill you up and don’t expand your waistline.

A complete, one-stop source of using a variety of beans and lentils comes easy when you can find a bag of 15-bean mix (includes black beans, lentils, navy, pinto, red, kidney, etc.) at the grocery store. Consider making a delicious soup with the addition of tomatoes, onions, garlic and your favourite spices with this bean mixture.

Dairy

9: Skim Milk and Yogurt

While I recommend keeping dairy products to a minimum, if they are a main part of your diet, then follow these tips.

Skim milk (or low-fat) helps to promote strong bones, offering an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. These nutrients help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals, bone loss, migraine headaches and childhood obesity.

Yogurt also includes the essential nutrients such as phosphorous and vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, and protein. Yogurt’s live bacterial cultures also provide a wealth of health benefits that may help us live longer and strengthen our immune system.

Seafood

10: Salmon

Salmon is high in protein, low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fats (the essential fatty acids that are also found in those walnuts mentioned earlier). Salmon is a heart-healthy food and is recommended to eat at least twice a week. When choosing salmon, it’s best to stay away from farm raised and select wild instead. Research studies show that farmed salmon may cause cancer because it may carry high levels of carcinogenic chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Other

Green Tea and “Power” Water

Although not food per say, the health benefits of these beverages are worthy of mentioning.

Green tea has beneficial phytonutrients and lower levels of caffeine than all other teas. The more research studying green tea, the more health benefits are found. A cancer fighter as well, green tea has antioxidant effects that lower risks of bacterial or viral infections to cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, and osteoporosis.

Water packed with vitamins and/or naturally sweetened fruit are also the newest trend. Some offer a full day’s supply of vitamin C while others promise no artificial sweeteners with a full, fruity taste.

As you can see, the top ten super foods are worth every bite (or sip). Now that you know which foods can help with your training and competitive success.

If you have any questions about what to eat, or how to train, feel free to let us know in the comments box below. 😉

3 thoughts on “Taekwondo Top 10 Super Foods

  1. Pingback: Taekwondo Top 10 Super Foods | TKD Blog

  2. Shahid

    Thanks for your nice tips. I am a journalist based in Pakistan. I have started Taekwondo training recently. But I have a question: I had a hernia surgery about 10 years ago; I want to know whether I can become a black belt martial artist in taewondo despite having done a surgery in the past or not?

    Best regards

    Muhammad Shahid
    Pakistan.

    1. David Post author

      Hey Muhammad,

      Thanks very much for your question.

      The answer is a most definite YES! You absolutely can become a Black Belt in Taekwondo after having a hernia operation – especially since it was 10 years ago.

      Training for your Black Belt is one thing, aiming to win a World or Olympic Gold Medal is something completely different 😉

      So yes, go for it Muhammad! Let us know how you progress 🙂

      David

Comments are closed.