Essential Foods for Performance
It is important to incorporate a wide variety of foods to ensure that we are getting the vitamins and minerals that we need. Here is a list of a few foods that have a special place in my heart, boasting super qualities in performance, general health and taste.
Full of the healthy fats that we need to keep at our optimum health, containing vitamin k, c, b5 and b6 they keep us feeling fresh and fuller for longer! Not only will these green beauties assist our heart health and immunity, they are a creamy, anti inflammatory powerhouse that can be added to salads, smoothies and even healthy treats. Legends!
An excellent source of energy for before and after surfing, bananas can help prevent that cheeky cramp than comes and nips at us half way through a session. Containing both potassium and b6, bananas assist quality sleep to ensure we can recover to our best potential. They are quick, versatile and extremely nutritious.
Berries and other super rich antioxidants are powerful for surfers as it is said that we can suffer up to 200 times the free radical damage compared to our less active counter parts. Containing anthocyanins, a particular antioxidant that can help prevent arthritis and mental ageing, they are the perfect nutrient for our poor worn out joints. Not only are they great for immunity, they contain significant amounts of fibre to keep our guts nice and healthy, slowing down the release of our energy from food.
When combined with a grain such as brown rice, they provide a virtually fat free and ridiculously high quality source of protein. Not only do kidney beans go down a treat in salads, patties and stews, they provide us with the much needed mineral iron to keep us energized and our muscles oxygenated. A perfect post surf food to consume to keep our muscles repairing and our energy levels stable.
These bright and diverse root vegetables are associated with numerous health benefits. Delicious grated in a salad, or roasted for a winter vege mix, beets are unique, so unique that they have attracted multiple studies in relationship with their consumption and training performance. Beetroots are said to have a specific nitrate content in which assists the arteries to dilate, helping oxygen be properly transported to various parts of the body! Maybe a couple of beets before a workout then?
Chia seeds are a gift from god for athletes. With their ability to boost performance, endurance, hydration and energy levels these should be a staple addition to any smoothie, salad or porridge. Chia seeds are anti inflammatory, making it easier for our bodies to recovery from exercise and just perform much more smoothly. Containing both calcium, magnesium and potassium they remain a powerhouse for humans allowing our bones to keep strong and our muscles relaxed.
Coconut oil is an extremely versatile tool/food for us surfers. Not only does it contain extremely helpful fatty acids used for fighting off pathegens, it can be used to clean your entire mouth, heal cuts and grazes and moisturize our hair and skin.
Raw cacao. Boasting up to 20 more times the amount of antioxidants that blueberries contain, cacao not only works against fighting free radicals but is known to be an aphrodisiac 😉
Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains healthy bacteria to allow the rest of our system to flourish. The list of improved gut health is huge, but to keep it simple, our gut health will influence all elements of our being. If your gut is suffering so will your immunity, your skin, your hormonal activity and your mental state. Taking regular probiotics, or natural fermented foods such as kombucha or tempeh will help to restore your gut to a healthy balance.
Full of low glycemic carbohydrates, oats are exactly the sort of food a surfer should consume before a surf. These little nuggets will keep your blood sugars stable – meaning you aren’t going to come crashing down after a 30 minute power surf. Not only are they low glycemic, but they contain a gel like fibre which enters your intestinal tract and can help remove the substances that may be associated with higher blood cholesterol. Did I mention that they are diabetic friendly and can be added to much more than just porridge? Such as cookies, granola and smoothies?
Out of all of the legumes and nuts, lentils are the third highest in protein and again like oats, have very slow releasing energy. They contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals whilst remaining virtually fat free. Boasting iron and b vitamins, these are the perfect food to be added to salads, curries, patties or stews.
This orange root looking food is simPly amazing. Turmeric has been shown in multiple studies to stop the growth of certain types of cancer and then beyond that, even begin to kill the cells. Being anti-inflammatory, it can help relieve arthritis and joint related problems. Turmeric is also antibacterial and an antiseptic meaning it can be used as a disinfectant. Next time you slip on the rocks and cut your toe, don’t just eat turmeric, but sprinkle a little on the effected area to speed up the process of healing.
High in fibre, rich in calcium and iron – these vege’s serve as more of a purpose than just to fill you up, they keep our bones strong and our blood oxygenated. Leafy greens contain what is called beta carotene, which will assist protecting you from the sun and lets be honest – we need as much of that as we can get. Containing an excellent source of folate, leafy greens will help protect against cardiovascular disease and memory loss.
Nuts and seeds
All nuts and seeds are rich in both omega 3 fats, zinc, selenium and vitamin E. What does this mean? That those particular nutrients will help keep our skin supple, our eyesight on point and our hair strong and shiny. Both flaxseeds and walnuts especially are rich in omega 3’s – we want these to keep inflammation in our body down. Nuts offer us great saeity, being high in all the right sort of fats and can add a protein boost to whatever you choose to put them with.
Is a type of bacteria called cyanobacterium, which in basic terms is an algae. One single tablespoon contains 4 grams of protein, 11 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin B1, 15 percent of B2, 20 percent of copper and 11 percent of the recommended intake for iron. In fact, it actually hosts small amounts of most other nutrients that we need. Only containing 20 calories, if talking gram for gram this is pretty astonishing. Quickly and easily added to smoothies this really is a true super food.
This is just a quick list to introduce you to the potential of all of these different types of food. The exciting thing is, the world is out there to be explored. Keep trying new foods, noticing on how they make you feel, and remember, a healthy diet is a vast diet!