Taekwondo involves lots of vigorous
exercise and you will need to improve your diet if you want to
get the most out of this martial art. You will want
to build lean muscle mass and lose any extra weight in order
to maximize your endurance and power. You will also want to
improve your diet for health reasons (i.e. super high blood
pressure and Taekwondo are not a good mix - so cut out the
salt!). The items listed
below are my
preferences. You should make your own dietary decisions
based on your health, age, allergies, family medical history, etc.
Foods/Drinks to Increase
Korean food -
Hey, Taekwondo is from Korea so you have to try some Korean
food! It is delicious. Find a good Korean restaurant in your neighborhood and give it a shot.
You'll like it. Also you might want to read some
Korean food books so you don't end up ordering something with
turtle eyeballs. Just joking!
Water - You sweat a lot during
Taekwondo. You need to replace this "lost" water. Try to
avoid getting your water through drinks such as sodas (as you
are just consuming tons of excess sugar).
Soy milk or skim milk - Get your
water with added calcium (good for your bones). Focus on skim
milk or soy milk because regular whole milk contains a lot of
saturated fat. Read this
American Heart Association article.
Lean meat - Meat provides athletes
with protein (which helps muscle development). Focus on low-fat
meats such as turkey and chicken (no skin and trim any visible
fat). Read this
Mayo Clinic article.
Tofu - Created many, many
years ago in China as a meat substitute.
Tofu is a
very healthy source of
protein made from soybeans. If you don't like regular "mushy"
tofu, you should buy the extra firm type (more like meat). Also
use spices to give tofu flavor as it is bland.
Whole grain - Eating whole
grain products provides you with health benefits such as fiber,
vitamins and antioxidants. Read this
Vegetables - Load up on vegetables
such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, beans, spinach, onions,
carrots, etc. Read this
Fruit - Also try to get more
fruit into your diet. Fruit provides you with nutrients such as
fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants.
Healthy oils - When you are cooking
your food and you need to use vegetable use, try to focus on the
healthiest oils such as olive oil and canola oil. These oils are
low in (bad) saturated fat and high in (healthy) monounsaturated
fat. Read this
Healthy low fat spreads - Try
(made from chick peas) versus butter or cream cheese (which have
too much saturated fat). My favorite is hummus made with chili
Healthy snacks -
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, yogurt, low salt pretzels, celery sticks, etc. Snacks like regular potato chips are packed
with salt and saturated fat.
Salt replacements -
Replace salt (which can raise your blood pressure) with spices (i.e.
pepper, curry powder or hot pepper flakes) and
Foods/Drinks/Items to Avoid or Reduce
Fast food - Most fast food has too much fat and salt.
If you want to get scared, you should read the
"nutrition" page on the McDonald's®
website. Take a look at how
much saturated fat, transfat and sodium (salt) is stuffed in a
typical Big Mac®.
According to the government, if you are over 40 then you
should not consume more than 1500 mgs of sodium (salt) per day.
Therefore, if you eat one fast food meal, you are likely to be
above your salt quota for the day.
Fatty meat - If you like to eat red
meat, trim off as visible fat as possible. Saturated fat can
boost your LDL (bad) cholesterol. Read this
Mayo Clinic article on good & bad types of fats.
Sugary drinks - Sodas are
full of useless sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Sugary snacks - Things like
candy are just helping you to pack on the pounds. Try some of
the healthy snacks listed above.
Salty snacks - Too much salt
can boost your
blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, strokes and
kidney damage. Read this
Mayo Clinic article.
Unhealthy spreads - Spreads
such as butter and cream
cheese are full of saturated fat.
Alcohol - At the very least, too
much alcohol adds extra calories that you need burn off. Who
wants to known as the Taekwondo student with a beer gut.
Moreover, I won't
go into the risk of drunken driving, liver disease, etc.
Everything in moderation! :)
Tobacco - Reduces your "wind"
and thus your endurance.
Also who wants to suffer from unpleasant things such as lung cancer and
strokes. Read this
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fellow martial artists.
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