5 Foods To Include in Every Surfer Girl Diet

5 Foods To Include in Every Surfer's Girl Diet

As surfers, our diets have a major impact on our performance. What we eat directly influences how long we can surf for, how much strength we have, and how quickly we can recover so we can do it all over again. So what should a surfer girl diet include?

One of the best things you can do for your surfing is eating a healthy, balanced diet. But as you make some changes to improve it, try to include these five foods on the menu. They will contribute to enhancing not only your overall health but also your performance as a surfer.

#1 Beetroot to improve cardiovascular function 

While we surf, the body uses more oxygen than it does at rest. Oxygen is delivered through the blood to the muscles we need to paddle, duck dive, pop up, and ride the wave. The thing is, performance suffers when we use up oxygen too quickly.

Beets contain high levels of nitrates, which help open arteries and improve cardiovascular function. This means that more oxygen can be delivered to your cells with less effort. Drinking beet juice has been shown to increase breath-hold times in freedivers by a minute and a half. A good reason to include it in any surfer girl diet.

How much do we need

Drink 1-2 glasses of raw beet juice between 45min and 1 hour before a surf. You can also consume whole beets. You will need about three (or a cup and a half) for the best effect, 75 minutes before surfing. 

Simple ways to prepare beets

  1. Shred raw beets and mix them into a salad or put them in a sandwich.
  2. Boil (with skins on) when they are fork-tender, remove from water, let cool, and the skin should slip right off. Cut them up and serve cold drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast them in the oven alone or with other root veggies. Use your favourite herb or spice blend to season them to suit your taste.

Beetroot is one of 5 foods to include in every surfer girl diet

#2 Nutritional yeast to boost your immune system

As surfers and athletes, protecting our immune system is very important to overall health and performance. Moderate exercise helps strengthen the immune system. But if you’re someone who surfs a lot, the stress on your body can impair immune function and actually increase your rate of upper respiratory infections.

In addition to a healthy diet that contains a diversity of plants, adding nutritional yeast to your food can be a big help to your immune system. Studies showed that including a small amount of nutritional yeast in the diet of elite athletes helps reduce confusion, fatigue, tension, anger and improve vigour. 

How much do we need

Only ¾ of a teaspoon is enough to cover what you need. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavour and makes for a great replacement for parmesan cheese. Added bonus, it’s incredibly versatile and tastes amazing, making it easy to include in your surfer girl’s diet.

How to use it

You can try sprinkling nutritional yeast on:

  1. Pasta
  2. Salads 
  3. Roasted veggies 
  4. Popcorn

Nutritional yeast is one of 5 foods to include in every surfer girl diet

#3 Ginger to help with recovery

Ginger should definitely be part of a surfer girl diet. It can help with inflammation issues, muscle pain, period pain, gastrointestinal tract and nausea. As a woman, you may have experienced one or two of these symptoms at some point in your life. So while you may use ginger to help with muscle recovery after surfing, it could be serving a double purpose, such as improving your period cramps. 

Ginger extracts have been shown to help relieve pain just as well as common anti-inflammatory drugs.

This is one instance where the processed version of the food is more effective than the whole food. Ginger extracts, such as the powdered ginger you might have in your kitchen cabinet, have been shown to help relieve pain just as well as common anti-inflammatory drugs. Plus, it is safer and easier on the body.

How much do we need

You want to include one teaspoon of powdered or ground ginger in your daily diet for best results. But you might not get the effects you need after just one day. So the best thing to do is include it in your diet for about five days in a row.

Simple ways to add ginger into your diet

  1. Drink it as a tea
  2. Add it to smoothies 
  3. Season your meals with it – curries, soups, stews, stir-frys

Ginger is one of 5 foods to include in every surfer girl diet

#4 Spinach for its anti-inflammatory effects

Spinach should always be part of a surfer girl diet. It has incredible anti-inflammatory effects and can help prevent muscle soreness the day after exercise.

When runners supplemented their diet with spinach and ran a half marathon, they had significantly less muscle damage the day following the race. Without it, there is a major spike in oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body.

How much do we need

All we need to do is eat a serving of spinach every day. You will need roughly a quarter of a bunch for two weeks for it to work its magic. 

Simple ways to incorporate spinach into your diet

  1. Add it to a smoothie 
  2. Enjoy it as/in a salad
  3. Add it to soups, stews and stir-frys 

Spinach is one of 5 foods to include in every surfer girl diet

#5 Beans for a healthy gut

Beans and legumes tend to get a bad reputation. Many of us cannot digest them properly, and therefore, leave them out of the diet completely. Not to mention that most people do not look to them as “athlete food.” But beans can play a role in every athlete’s diet and especially for surfers. 

Beans are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. So there are a couple of major benefits here. The first is that you avoid consuming high amounts of harmful saturated fat by replacing meat with plant-based protein, such as beans. Saturated fat can lead to plaque buildup on artery walls, which is not helpful for athletic performance and can lead to severe chronic disease.

As athletes who spend 90% of our time lying on our stomachs, beans can make surfing more comfortable.

The second major benefit to adding beans to the diet has to do with their fibre content. The added fibre from beans has a healthy impact on the gastrointestinal tract and can help with gut health. A healthy gut means less bloating, gas, belching and constipation. As athletes who spend 90% of our time lying on our stomachs, beans can actually make surfing more comfortable.

How much do we need

Try to incorporate beans into your daily diet. There are so many varieties and different ways to eat them that it’s hard to get bored.

If you’re someone who cannot digest beans (they give you all the uncomfortable digestion symptoms we’re trying to avoid), start slow. Just add a tablespoon to your meals and when your digestion can handle that, slowly increase the amount you consume at each sitting. 

Simple ways to accommodate beans in your diet

  1. Swap meat for beans in meals you already enjoy
  2. Try a bean burrito or taco 
  3. Enjoy a curry with lentils or chickpeas as the base

Beans are one of 5 foods to include in every surfer girl diet

Key takeaways for a better surfer girl diet

One thing all these foods have in common is that they don’t come in capsules. They are real foods that you can integrate into your daily diet without going out of your way. You don’t need to spend money on supplements or anything out of the ordinary.

Don’t let this list overwhelm you or make you feel like you need to change everything in your diet overnight. Start with one or two foods at a time, and integrate them into meals you already make. Once you feel they are an established part of your new surfer girl diet, try adding in something else. Making small changes over time can create big results. You got this!


Want to learn more about how to manage your diet to enhance surfing performance or simply improve your overall health? Book a 20-minute online mini-consult with Leah Donatiello from Her Surf Nutrition. It’s free and only for Joyce readers. Spots are limited, so book now!

Leah Donatiello


Leah is a Holistic Nutritionist for women who surf. She created the Her Surf Nutrition Method™ to help women overcome a lack of energy, problems with digestion, and food restriction using a non-diet approach. She runs the annual virtual conference Share the Stoke Summit where women surfers share tips for surf health and performance. The rest of the time, Leah enjoys spending time with her dogs, second-hand shopping and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls.

Subscribe now to receive your dose of salty goodness and exclusive offers!