Talia Decoite knows that her diet is a key to her success and is a better paddler because of it. Photo: Jason Kenworthy

Talia Decoite knows that her diet is a key to her success and is a better paddler because of it. Photo: Jason Kenworthy

Paddle Healthy: Increasing Metabolism

Increasing metabolism is often associated with weight loss and fat burning, as higher metabolisms tend to burn fat and calories faster than slow ones. Increasing metabolism isn't all about the weight though—we're looking at increasing the metabolism for a better functioning body all around because in our book, the body that functions well performs even better on the water. Eating smaller meals throughout the day and staying hydrated are sure-fire ways to get the metabolism going regularly, but the fuel to the fire is equal to none in the health department. Race longer, surf stronger and and feel better by using five tips below, which are known to help increase your metabolism over time, while providing some extra health benefits too.

Eat Whole Grains
Quinoa, buckwheat and barley help increase metabolism while helping slow blood-sugar release and steady insulin levels. According to The Whole Grain Council, following a diet rich in whole grains can also help with weight maintenance, as well reduce the risk of stroke, Type two diabetes and heart disease.

Pack in the Lean Proteins

Consumption of fish, chicken, turkey and certain lean cuts of beef rev up the metabolism because they require a lot of energy for complete digestion, which is a benefit in itself because the high amounts of protein in lean meats keep you feeling full longer. Fish, turkey and chicken also help build lean muscle or help you retain muscle during weight loss.

If you're a beef lover, the USDA defines lean cuts as those that contain less than 10 grams total fat and less than 4.5 grams saturated fat. Luckily, a lot of cuts commonly consumed in the States are lean, like top sirloin, tri-tip and T-bone.

Not a meat-eater? Try adding protein powder to a smoothie or beverage. Protein powder comes from a variety of sources, including peas (yes, the veggie), whey and soy, and can be found online at health and nutrition stores as well as some grocery stores.

Go for Garlic
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition shows that garlic may help the metabolism by increasing calories burned during daily activities, while decreasing the body’s production of fat. Worried about garlic breath? Try popping a garlic supplement and leave the bad breath behind. To reap the full benefits of garlic, researchers suggest the following servings each day: two-to-five grams of fresh/raw garlic; two-to-five mg garlic oil; 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried garlic powder; 300 to 1,000 mg of garlic extract.

Spice it Up
Curry, black pepper, mustard, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon are all known to have metabolism-boosting properties. While low in calories, spices are high in flavor and have additional nutritional benefits, including reduced inflammation and blood pressure as well as helping protect against cancer and diabetes. Add curry, pepper or mustard to your next veggie bowl or sprinkle cinnamon in your next cup of coffee or on your slice of toast.

Reach for Water
It's easy to forget how much bodily functions rely on water, but it's even easier to get dehydrated. As discussed in previous Paddle Healthy articles, dehydration can cause a whole host of health problems, far beyond a sluggish metabolism. But, it's proven that metabolic functions improve when you're hydrated. According to German researchers, studies found that drinking six cups of cold water a day (48 ounces) can raise a resting metabolism by nearly 50 calories per day, so go ahead and drink up.

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