Here are 5 foundational foods that every BJJ student needs to include in their diets:
Number 5 – Beans
There haven’t been many foods that have become the butt of jokes like beans. If you’re older than 8 years old, you’ve probably heard all about how beans are the “magical fruit”. We won’t bother to finish that childish nursery rhyme, but you understand that beans get a bad name because they cause some people to get a bit gassy. But that is no reason to avoid adding beans to your diet.
Beans and other legumes are noted for being rich in both fiber and protein. These are nutrients that we can all stand to have more of in our diets. The protein in beans help your muscles to recuperate from hard workouts. The fiber helps your body to better digest the foods that you eat. There have even been studies that show the fibers in black beans actually condition your stomach to better absorb all of the nutrients that you eat.
If you’re serious about getting into top fighting shape, you simply must add at least ½ cup of beans to your diet most days of the week.
Number 4 – Kale
We all know that green, leafy vegetables are very healthy, but kale may very well be the best of the bunch. Kale is simply loaded with phytonutrients, vitamins and plenty of healthy fiber. Your body builds up toxins naturally when you train hard. The antioxidants in kale help your body to effectively get rid of those toxins.
If you want to recover better from your workouts, while giving your overall health levels a much needed kick in the pants, try adding a few cups of kale to your salads. Replace that Iceberg lettuce with Kale and you’ll be adding Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Vitamin C and plenty of potassium to your diet. Kale really is a super food that all BJJ fighters need to start eating.
Number 3 – Green Tea
We live in a day and age where people load up on potentially dangerous energy drinks and sugar laden “sports drinks”. If you really want to drink a beverage that will increase your energy levels, while giving your health a serious boost, then green tea is the way to go. For centuries Asian cultures have consumed green tea because of its refreshing taste and known medicinal benefits.
Green tea can be consumed either hot or as iced tea. If you regularly fill up your gut with those nasty energy drinks, try replacing those kinds of drinks with plenty of ice cold green tea. And to give it a bit of flavor, try adding a twist of lemon.
Number 2 – Whole Wheat Pasta
BJJ students have to keep their energy reserves full. When you battle it out on the mat during those long sparring sessions and tournament bouts, you are seriously depleting your body’s reserve energy stores. To keep them full, it’s important to consume plenty of healthy, complex carbohydrates. Whole wheat pasta is a great food to keep your energy reserves filled to the brim and ready for action.
The great thing about whole wheat pasta is that it goes well with just about anything, and can even be kept in the refrigerator for a few days after you prepare it. Add a bit of whole wheat pasta to all of your daily meals to keep your body’s energy levels nice and high.
Number 1 – Lean Protein
Your muscles, tendons and ligaments all take a beating during BJJ training. To help those crucial body parts recover quickly, and to gain strength, you simply have to consume plenty of lean protein. You can choose from boneless/skinless chicken breast, egg whites, lean beef or tuna fish. But whatever you choose, just make sure to consume about ½ to 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. That way you’ll allow your muscles to rebuild and strengthen after your strength depleting BJJ bouts.