Eating a nutrient dense diet is key to optimal health and performance. Beyond eating a balanced diet, there are specific foods you can incorporate that will provide the nutrients that target inflammation and can greatly enhance recovery. Performance is all about training and what you do with the recovery period that follows. Incorporating these foods will ensure you recover quickly, adapt to the training you are undergoing, and are in peak form when you go surfing.
Ginger is an often overlooked and under-utilized super anti-inflammatory food. The root, or rhizome, of the plant is most commonly used for its health benefits. The root contains 14 main bioactive nutrients that denote its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has been studied for its effect on muscle pain, and has been shown to reduce it in one study (1).
I recommend incorporating half an inch to one inch of fresh ginger root into your daily intake to reduce muscle soreness and for overall anti-inflammatory benefit.
Option 1: grate the skin off about 1-inch of ginger root, chop or dice into small pieces and poor hot water over to make tea. Add goji berries and/or raw honey for sweetener.
Option 2: add 1/2 to 1 inch (depending on your taste preference) of fresh ginger to a smoothie before blending. Goes great with berry smoothies!
Goji berries are an excellent longevity food that promote wellness and health. They are a great source of antioxidants including phytochemicals beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, betaine, and polysaccharides. Goji berries are also an "adaptogenic" food, which means they help the body adapt to stress and reduce the impact of stress on the body. They are an excellent recovery food to be eaten directly after exercise.
Goji berries can be eaten alone as a snack, blended into a smoothie, added as a topping to a smoothie bowl or any dessert, or made into tea.
Known as a complete source of protein (containing all 8 essential amino acids) and rich source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, hemp seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition that should be consumed on a regular basis. Shelled hempseed contain an average of 35% protein, 47% fat, and 12% carbohydrate. Hemp seeds are one of nature's richest sources of complete protein in a plant form. The fat content of the seed contains 80% of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, in the deal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Lastly, it is an excellent source of major and trace minerals including phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, silicon, and more.
Hemp seeds can be consumed alone, in a trail mix, added as a topping to salad or smoothie bowl, blended into a smoothie, or easily made into a milk.
*Tip: research has indicated that consuming coconut oil with hemp seeds increases the effectiveness of the omega-3 fatty acids (1).
Chocolate (Raw Cacao)
Chocolate is known as "the food of the gods", and is a well-researched superfood for its antioxidant and mineral content, and many health-promoting qualities. It has been shown to have cardiovascular-protective effects from its polyphenol content.
The best way to get the health benefits of chocolate without the refined sugar that is added to many chocolate products, is to purchase raw cacao powder or raw cacao nibs and blend into smoothies.