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30 Of The World’s Most Breathtaking Hiking Trails You Must Visit

30 Of The World’s Most Breathtaking Hiking Trails You Must Visit

Hikers brave the harshest climates, the highest peaks and most forbidding terrains to experience the Earth like no others possible could. Whether they are traversing canyons, climbing mountains or crossing moors, hikers know what it is to have adventure.

Below are 30 fantastic hiking trails that will challenge, beguile and enthuse even the most novice hikers!

1. The Narrows, USA

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    Carved throughout millennia by the Virgin River, The Narrows in Zion National Park provide breathtaking scenery throughout it’s 26km (16 miles). More than half of this hike takes place in the river, including some areas in which you may need to swim, but it can be completed in just one day and you can dry off at one of the twelve camping grounds throughout the park.

    How to get there: This hike through the Virgin River actually starts at The Chamberlain Ranch found about 20 miles from Zion National Park’s East Entrance. For detailed directions and maps, download Zion Adventure’s brochure.

    2. Pays Dogon, Mali

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      Without a doubt, Pays Dogon is one of Africa’s most scenic places which is why so many hikers choose to hike through the breathtaking landscape, which can take up to ten days. Known as ‘the land of the Dogon people’ hikers visit ancient cliff dwellings and Dogon villages as they traverse the peeks.

      How to get there: To get anywhere in Dogon Country, it is essential that you hire a driver or a car, which you will then have to drive to the one of the hiking start villages Kani-Kombolé, Djiguibombo, Endé, Dourou or Sanga. For a better idea of Dogon Country, check out this interactive map.

      3. The Haute Route, France & Switzerland

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        Starting in Chamonix, France and ending in Zermatt, Switzerland visitors to The Haute Route will experience the very best areas of The Alps available to hikers. Although there are varying routes between summer and winter, either hike will take around two weeks to complete and is only for the fitter hikers among us.

        How to get there: Book a hotel in or near Chamonix, France and ensure you are booked on a trip with a guide who will lead the hike. Your guide, and possibly your hotel as well, will provide you with all the extra information you will need.

        4. GR20, France

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          Remaining in France, the GR20 trail in Corsica is a legendary hike spanning 168km (104 miles). Built in 1972, this trek will direct you through Calenzana, Balagne and ends in Conca, north of Porto Vecchio. On your way you can expect rickety bridges, mountains, ice, rivers, forests, bogs and an experience like no other.

          How to get there: Calenzana is situated near Calvi, which is easy to travel to from the Saint Catherine airport or local ferries. To travel from Calvi to Calenzana simply take a bus!

          5. Inca Trail, Peru

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            At 33km (20 miles) this trail may seem tame in comparison to those listed above, but you can’t blame to ancient Incas for not meeting our modern day hiking demands. On this trek you will walk through The Sacred Valley of Machu Picchu an ancient wonder of the world like no other on Earth.

            How to get there: Access to the Inca Trail is strictly controlled so it is essential that you book with a tour guide months in advance. When the time comes for you to travel to Peru, fly to Cuzco and then catch a train to either Aguas Calientes, the prime access point to Machu Picchu where many choose to stay overnight or go straight to Ollantaytambo in The Sacred Valley. Your tour guide will most likely be in contact with your throughout your travels and ensure you find the actual trail.

            6. Everest Base Camp, Nepal

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              The first of our intense mountain climbs, Nepal’s Everest Base Camp reaches dizzying heights of 5,545m (18,193ft) at Kala Pattar and takes three weeks to complete. Accompanied by Sherpa people of the Solu Khumbu you will be expected to traverse valleys and mountains in order to bask in the unique and beautiful scenery.

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              How to get there: If you are planning to begin your trek from Nepal, fly from Kathmandu to Lukla Airport which is close to Sagarmatha National Park. If you have booked a guide, they will most likely accompany you from the airport.

              7. Indian Himalayas, India

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                Far less popular than The Alps or Everest, The Indian Himalayas’ trail in Himachal Pradesh is a hike for true adventurers. This remote trek will see you travel for 24 days from Spiti to Ladakh, teetering on cliff edges and reaching dizzying heights.

                How to get there: There are 12 districts in Himachal Pradesh, and you are aiming for Spiti in Lahaul and Spiti. To get there most people enter through Manali, which you can reach via plane from Delhi or train, towards Rohtang Pass using the eastbound rounds that lead to Kaza. There are bus services that start in Manali, or you can drive which will take about eight to ten hours.

                8. Overland Track, Australia

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                  Situated in Tasmania, The Overland Track is 80km (50 miles) long and takes about six days to complete. Whilst trekking between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair – Australia’s deepest natural freshwater lake – you will see mountains, lakes, moors, forests, waterfalls and Mt Ossa.

                  How to get there: By the far the easiest to get to so far, all you need to do is get to the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre where buses will transport you to the start of the track. Both Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair are within up to four hours travelling distance from many main towns like Davenport, Burnie and Launceston.

                  9. Routeburn Track, New Zealand

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                    On New Zealand’s South Island there is the far less demanding Routeburn Track, which stretches over 32km (20 miles) and takes just three days to complete. Found at foot of The Southern Alps, the most difficult element of this hike will be getting a spot on the team as numbers are extremely limited.

                    How to get there: Many hikers choose to depart from Queenstown and begin the walk from the Routeburn Shelter. Queenstown is accessible via plane, bus and car.

                    10. Baltoro Glacier & K2, Pakistan

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                      You may have heard of the world’s second-highest mountain K2 previously, but did you know you can actually hike along it’s icy foundations and climb it’s peak? This 15 day hike will take you through and over Paiju (6,610m, 21,686ft), Uli Biaho (6,417m, 21,053ft), Great Trango Tower (6,286m, 20,623ft) and finally K2 (8,611m, 28,251ft).

                      How to get there: As with most things in Pakistan, you must begin in Islamabad. It is recommended that hikers stay in Envoy, Shalimar or Royal Inn but of course the ultimate choice is up to you.

                      You will then fly or drive to Skardu, where you will be driven in a Jeep to Askolie, the last village on route, where your trek will finally begin.

                      11. Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand

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                        Also known as ‘The New Zealand Great Walk‘, this trek takes place on the northern island of New Zealand and will take you four days to complete the 49km (31 miles) circuit around Mount Ngauruhoe.

                        How to get there: Many people choose to begin from the village of Whakapapa where the Department of Conservation asks that you leave your vehicle and instead take a $15 shuttle. There is an air field at the base of Whakapapa, which you can fly into from Aukland.

                        12. Fitz Roy Trek, Argentina

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                          Mount Fitz Roy can be concurred using various routes, with the average hike measuring around 64km (40 miles). Each route ensures glorious views of Patagonia that cannot be experienced unless you take this trip on Fitz!

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                          How to get there: There are numerous treks that you can partake in here, so before you set off make sure you’ve decided on a route. You will need to travel to El Chalten, the gateway to Mt. Fitz Roy, which is reachable by bus from either El Calafate or San Carlos de Bariloche.

                          You can reach either of these places by plane, however El Calafate is by far the easiest of the two.

                          13. Cinque Terre, Italy

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                            At just 12km (7.5 miles), this trek is more like taking a walk along the stunning Western Italian Coast. You will traverse this beautiful scenery and travel through five Italian towns, so if you’re looking to experience some extraordinary culture, this is the hike for you.

                            How to get there: You can reach Cinque Terre via plane, train or car but you will have to walk or catch a train to the first village Corniglia to begin your trek.

                            14. Santa Cruz Trek, Peru

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                              Out shined only by the Inca Trail, The Santa Cruz Trek is one of Peru’s most popular walks. Over four days you can expect to see rivers, lakes and mountains that would otherwise go unseen by human eyes.

                              How to get there: It is best to hire a guide for this trek as travelling independently can limit your experience. As this trek begins in Huaraz, which is situated in Cordillera Blanca’s Huascarán National Park, you will need to take a coach from Lima (Movil Tours, Ormeño, Cruz del Sur and CIAL are the most frequently used companies).

                              15. Torres del Paine Circuit, Chile

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                                Ten days, 83km (52 miles) and immense scenery: that’s what you can expect from Chile’s number one hiking destination. Traverse the Torres del Paine mountain range and experience the real wonder of the South American continent.

                                How to get there: Having flown into El Calafate, you must take a six hour bus journey to the town of Puerto Natales to catch another two hour bus to the Torres Del Paine National Park. There will be many guides available to take you on this hike at the National Park, or you can book in advance.

                                16. Desert Trek to Petra, Jordan

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                                  High up on bucket lists around the globe, The Kingdom of Petra is a destination most of us would like to see. But the real question is: how are you planning to get there? Do you take the boring, air-conditioned coach or the awesome 7 day, 80km (50 miles) hike across the desert? Tough decision.

                                  How to get there: First of all you must fly to Amman,  Jordan where you will catch a bus to Madaba where you will meet your tour group. You will be escorted via coach to Dana where your hike will begin.

                                  17. Kungsleden, Sweden

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                                    Otherwise known as ‘The King’s Trail‘, this hike spans an incredible 434km (270 miles) of untouched European country, and in the winter it becomes a ski trail.

                                    How to get there: To begin this hike you must first reach Abisko, which is about 25 hours from Malmo and 13 hours from Stockholm. There are also daily trains from both Lulea and Gallivare, which are both reachable by air.

                                    18. West Coast Trail, Canada

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                                      Situated on Vancouver Island, this 75km (47 miles) long trail along the southwestern coast was originally carved in 1907 to help locals save shipwreck survivors. Now it’s primary use is allowing hikers to experience the real, coastal wilderness of Canada.

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                                      How to get there: You can begin The West Cost Trail from many starting points, easiest of which is Pacheena Bay Trailhead, which can be reached by plane and ferry.

                                      19. Sarek National Park, Sweden

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                                        Famous for it’s 1,220 square kilometres (760 square miles) of untouched terrain, Sweden’s Sarek National Park is the perfect place to go hiking and exploring at your own pace and using your own route.

                                        How to get there: Situated in the extreme north of Sweden, Sarek National Park actually shares a border with Kungsleden and can be reached using a similar route.

                                        20. Muliwai Trail, Hawaii

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                                          Image Credit: Unreal Hawaii

                                          Regarded as the most rigorous hike in Hawaii, the 28km (18 miles) Muliwai trail will see you pass through the Waipi’o and Waimanu Valleys, as well as a black sand beach.

                                          How to get there: To begin this trek you will need to reach the city of Honoka’a which is relatively close to Hilo International Airport. From the airport you can catch a bus or rent a car to reach Honoka’a, which will take just over one hour.

                                          21. Croagh Patrick, Ireland

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                                            At just 4km (3 miles), this Irish hike is an easy walk for beginners who want to see the beauty of the world that can only be experienced through hiking, but don’t want to die in the process. Croagh Patrick should take you about four and a half hours, and offers incredible views of beautiful Ireland.

                                            How to get there: Croagh Patrick can be found in County Mayo’s Westport, which is very easy to travel to by catching a train from Dublin.

                                            22. Grindelwald, Switzerland

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                                              Although it’s largely considered as a tourist destination, Grindelwald actually offers prime hiking for beginners! There are around 290 km (180 miles) of trails that you can pick and choose from, some lasting a day and others a week, so this is the perfect destination for some light adventure.

                                              How to get there: Many travellers simply catch a train or drive from Interlaken which accessible through numerous main Swiss cities including Zurich and Geneva, although in summer you can even hike there.

                                              23. Appalachian Trail, USA

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                                                Spanning 3540km (2,200 miles) and 14 states, the Appalachian hike will truly test your trekking skills like no other American trail. If you’re looking to up your game significantly then this is the trek for you. The great part though, is that you can brave the entire length of the trail or choose chunks to explore more easily.

                                                How to get there: The majority of visitors arrive via car as there are numerous, cast parking lots. If you wish to trek from North to South you’ll want to head for Baxter State Park.

                                                24. Zillertal Alps, Austria

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                                                  As you may imagine, the Austrian Alps offer numerous hiking trails for everyone and at varying levels of expertise. Arguably the most popular of the Austrian Alp walks is the Berliner Höhenweg, which should take you about seven days to complete.

                                                  How to get there: If you are planning to traverse the Berliner Höhenweg, you will need to get to Innsburg which is easy to get to via train, plane or car.

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                                                  25. North Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa

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                                                    Regarded by many enthusiastic hikers, explorers and survivalists as one of the best hiking trails on Earth, this  64km (40 miles) walk sits between The Kingdom of Lesotho and South Africa, offering unique views of the African landscape.

                                                    How to get there: Most people begin their trek at The Sentinel and work their way south because this is the easiest place to get to. You can travel by car along the N3 highway, fly into Durban Airport and catch the Baz Bus.

                                                    26. Cape Wrath Trail, Scotland

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                                                      Perhaps the hardest trek the United Kingdom has to offer, the hiking trail across Cape Wrath will take even an experienced hiker twenty days to complete as it spans 321km (200 miles).

                                                      How to get there: Beginning at Fort William, this trail is quite easy to get to using coach services or trains available from numerous cities including Glasgow and Edinburgh.

                                                      27. Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

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                                                        Filled with more hiking paths than roads, The Simien Mountains National Park has a vast array of hiking trails available for all levels of hikers.

                                                        How to get there: Located in the Semien (North) Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, The Semien Mountains are accessible via air or their a vast number of bus routes from all over Ethiopia,  including Addis Ababa or Bahir Dar.

                                                        28. Polar Route, Greenland

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                                                          Otherwise referred to as The Arctic Circle Trail, this 160km (100 miles) long hike will take you from Kangerlussuaq to one of the most remote places of Earth Sisimiut via the world’s second largest glacier.

                                                          How to get there: As you may imagine, The Polar Route is a little tricky to reach. However, Kangerlussuaq Airport can be reached by planes scheduled by Air Greenland, which usually depart from New York.

                                                          29. Kalalau Trail, Hawaii

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                                                            Although it is only 35km (22 miles) long, this trail along the Na Pali Coast in Kaua’i has been known to be as dangerous as it is spectacular. So, book with care!

                                                            How to get there: The island of Kaua’i can be reached via plane and the starting point Ke’e Beach is easily reached on foot, using public transport or by taxi.

                                                            30. Cordillera Apolobamba, Bolivia

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                                                              Rarely braved and barely conquered, the Cordillera Apolobamba is 104km (65 miles) long and takes around five days to complete. Situated close to the Peruvian border, this Bolivian masterpiece offers spectacular views and a unique experience.

                                                              How to get there: Bolivia’s capital city La Paz is accessible through many airports, from here you can arrange transport to Pelechuco which is situated right in the centre of the Cordillera Apolobamba mountain range.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Beamer Trail via flickr.com

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                                                              Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                                                              Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                                              Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                                              Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                                                              How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                                                              Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                                                              The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                                                              Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                                                              Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                                                              When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                                                              Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                                                              Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                                                              The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                                                              Shocked? Well, I was too.

                                                              The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                                                              When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                                                              On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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                                                              Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                                                              Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                                                              Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                                                              Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                                                              Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                                                              It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                                                              Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                                                              As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                                                              In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                                                              A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                                                              Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                                                              To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                                                              Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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                                                              What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                                                              That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                                                              More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                                                              Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                                                              Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                                                              For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                                                              Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                                                              Foods That Increase Metabolism

                                                              Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                                                              Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                                                              Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                                                              • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                                                                When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                                                              • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                                                              • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                                                              • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                                                              Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                                                              To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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                                                              1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                                                              2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                                                              3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                                                              Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                                                              Sugars and Carbs

                                                              Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                                                              Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                                                              Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                                                              Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                                                              • Dried fruit
                                                              • Commercial and packaged corn
                                                              • High fructose corn syrup
                                                              • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                                                              • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                                                              • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                                                              Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                                                              • Bread and flour-based products
                                                              • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                                                              • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                                                              • Potatoes and potato starch products
                                                              • Oatmeals and other grains
                                                              Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                                                              • All berries except strawberries
                                                              • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                                                              • Sweet potatoes
                                                              • White rice
                                                              • All green vegetables

                                                              Fats

                                                              Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                                                              Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                                                              • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                                                              • Lard
                                                              • Gmo oils
                                                              • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                                                              Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                                                              • Nuts
                                                              • Meat fat
                                                              • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                                                              • Seeds
                                                              Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                                                              • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                                                              • Avocado
                                                              • Coconut oil
                                                              • Butter (organic)
                                                              • Egg yolks (free-range)
                                                              • Bone marrow

                                                              The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                                                              Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                                                              Proteins

                                                              Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                                                              Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                                                              Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                                                              Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                                                              For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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                                                              Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                                                              • Cheap whey proteins
                                                              • Soy proteins
                                                              • GMO meat
                                                              • GMO eggs
                                                              • Packaged meat
                                                              Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                                                              • Canned tuna
                                                              • Canned fish
                                                              • Canned meat
                                                              • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                                                              • Farmed fish
                                                              Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                                                              • Free-range meat
                                                              • Free-range eggs
                                                              • Wild meat and fish
                                                              • Whey protein isolate
                                                              • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                                                              Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                                                              Other Foods and Supplements

                                                              Cold water

                                                              Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                                                              This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                                                              MCT Oils or Powders

                                                              Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                                                              You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                                                              Caffeine

                                                              Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                                                              Green Tea

                                                              Green tea

                                                              is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                                                              Bottom Line

                                                              In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                                                              For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                                                              Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                                                              And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

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