A ketogenic diet is a low-carb and high-fat nutrition plan. This article goes into what some of the best ketogenic foods to eat so you can reach ketosis and use all that fat for fuel.
A ketogenic diet has shown to manage the endocrine system, improve cardiovascular health, help with weight loss, help people who have type-2 diabetes and that's not all. You can check out the Body Reboot book which discusses other medical conditions keto diet may help with as well as many low-carb diet tips.
At first, when you start the keto diet, you might be focused on all of the foods you miss, but instead of being sad about saying goodbye to most carbs, think about all the foods you can enjoy! Here are some of the best ketogenic foods you will LOVE!
You might have heard that eggs are some of the healthiest foods to eat on the keto diet and if you've heard that it's true! Ruled.me says these “superfoods” are great because they have tons of vital nutrients you need while in ketosis, and they're right. Plus, eggs happen to be yummy. Well, hopefully, that's the case for you too.
Eggs are one of the healthiest and most versatile foods on the planet. Many experts even identify the egg as one of the only true “superfoods.” The reason behind this profound claim lies in the egg yolk, not the white.
In fact, most of the beneficial nutrients in the egg are found in its yolk, including thirteen essential vitamins and minerals and the eye-protecting antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin. They are also one of the best sources of choline, a vitamin-like essential nutrient and methyl donor involved in many vital physiological processes.
Although egg yolks are high in cholesterol, consuming them doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels in most people. Eggs have even been shown to modify the shape of LDL in a way that reduces the risk of heart disease.
Egg consumption has also been found to increase the feeling of fullness and keep blood sugar levels stable, leading to lower calorie intakes for up to 24 hours. This could mean that eggs are the weight loss boosting superfood you’ve been waiting for.
On top of that, one large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and fewer than 6 grams of protein, making it the perfect keto-friendly health food.
If you’d like to find the healthiest eggs possible, seek out egg farmers that give their chickens access to pasture — a place where they can eat plenty of insects and soak up the sun. Studies have found that chickens raised in this way tend to lay eggs that are filled with more omega 3s, vitamins, and minerals.
Of course, no diet is complete without vegetables, which is why veggies are a hot commodity on the keto diet. Not only that, but most of them also happen to be low in carbs. They also are packed full of nutrients, which is why healthline mentions them as one of the keto diet's top foods to eat.
Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs, but high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and several minerals.
Vegetables and other plants contain fiber, which your body doesn't digest and absorb like other carbs.
Therefore, look at their digestible (or net) carb count, which is total carbs minus fiber.
Most vegetables contain very few net carbs. However, consuming one serving of “starchy” vegetables like potatoes, yams or beets could put you over your entire carb limit for the day.
The net carb count for non-starchy vegetables ranges from less than 1 gram for 1 cup of raw spinach to 8 grams for 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts (14, 15).
Vegetables also contain antioxidants that help protect against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage (16, 17).
What's more, cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli and cauliflower have been linked to decreased cancer and heart disease risk (18, 19).
Low-carb veggies make great substitutes for higher-carb foods. For instance, cauliflower can be used to mimic rice or mashed potatoes, “zoodles” can be created from zucchini and spaghetti squash is a natural substitute for spaghetti.
If you love meat, then you're in luck because eating a reasonable amount of meats is essential while on the keto diet. The Diet Doctor explains why this is the case and also what meat is best to eat:
Unprocessed meats are low carb and keto-friendly, and organic and grass-fed meat is the most healthy of all. But remember that keto is a high-fat diet, not high protein, so you don’t need huge amounts of meat. Excess protein (more than your body needs) is converted to glucose, making it harder to get into ketosis. A normal amount of meat is enough.
Note that processed meats, like sausages, cold cuts and meat balls often contain added carbs. When in doubt look at the ingredients, aim for under 5% carbs.
Prevention also says that meat is essential while on a keto diet, however, eating fatty meat isn't always the solution to getting more fat.
Just because keto is a high fat diet doesn't mean you should rely on large portions of fatty meats to hit your daily fat quota. “It’s not about eating an 8-ounce steak,” Mancinelli says. “Instead, have a 3-ounce portion of steak with half an avocado on the side.” That’ll help you meet your fat needs without overdoing it on the protein or potentially harmful saturated fats.
Using olive oil is an easy way to add more fat to your diet, and plus, as Prevention mentions, it's also good for your heart.
Consider it liquid gold: Most of it is made up of the monounsaturated fats that are good for your heart. Plus, the relatively neutral flavor means that it goes with pretty much everything. Drizzle it on top of your food for an easy way to up the fat content of your meal.
Let's not forget about dairy, which is high in fat, but that's doesn't mean you should go all out. Lisa from Low Carb Yum says that too much dairy can lead to inflammation, so you shouldn't be eating dairy all day long to get your fats.
Certain dairy products are best keto foods. But there are exceptions. Dairy milk (especially from cows) can lead to inflammation.
It’s relatively hard to find cow’s milk that comes from 100% grass-fed cattle. There are brands of so-called “Grass Milk” but even grass milk may kick you out of ketosis. Especially if you’re not being careful with limiting other sources of carbs.
Because milk is relatively high in sugar, it’s avoided on a keto diet. In fact, just one cup of milk contains over a dozen grams of carbs. And there’s no fiber to bring down the net carb count lower.
I love milk but milk doesn’t love me back. I find it hard to stay in ketosis if I drink milk regularly. Instead, I prefer making my own nut milks (especially almond). In addition, I use lots of Coconut Milk in my recipes.
Unsaturated fats are just as important, and Medical News Today provides a great list of oils and more that are great to incorporate with meals on the keto diet.
Research shows keto diets with a higher proportion of unsaturated fats versus saturated fats have long-term benefits. These fats are liquid at room temperature, and sources of them include:
almond oil (0 g carbohydrate per 100 g)
flaxseed oil (0.39 g carbohydrate per 100 g)
mackerel (0 g of carbohydrate per 100 g)
olive oil (0 g of carbohydrate per 100 g)
sardines (0 g of carbohydrate per 100 g)
pumpkin seeds (8.96 g of carbohydrate per 50 seeds)
walnuts (13.71 g of carbohydrate per 100 g)
wild salmon (0 g of carbohydrate per 100 g)
Unsweetened Coffee or Tea
In case you were afraid you'd have to give up your coffee don't fret because it's allowed, as long as you don't add sugar to it. Luckily there are sugar substitutes like Stevia and other keto friendly sweeteners that work just as well. Dr. Jockers has some excellent tips on how to still have your coffee and stay in ketosis.
You can continue drinking your regular coffee and tea when on a ketogenic diet but ditch the added processed sugars and milk. Creamers, artificial sweeteners and conventional dairy products produce inflammatory stress that destroy your gut health and cause damage to all organs in the body.
When consumed properly, coffee and tea are extremely beneficial to improving energy, gut health and brain function. Coffee and tea are no-carb beverages that contain caffeine to give your metabolism a kick. I always add XCT oil, grass-fed butter, stevia and cinnamon with my coffee for a creamy sweet fat burning coffee that tastes great!
Coffee contains chlorogenic acid that produces anti-inflammatory responses in the body and lowers blood sugar levels making it one of the great ketogenic foods. Herbal teas provide various benefits from stimulating bile flow for a healthy liver to increasing detoxification processes. (58) You can also try bone broth coffee for a great tasting, high protein coffee flavored beverage.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are delicious when consumed in small quantities. Don't consume too many nuts or the carbs will sneak up on you. Wondering what nuts and seeds are excellent additions to your keto-friendly diet? Dr. Jockers recommends the following:
Some of the best ketogenic foods you can consume are nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin and chia seeds are low-carb, are high in omega fatty acids and can fuel your energy during the day.
Nuts and seeds are concentrated with powerful plant compounds that combat inflammation in the body and boost immune health. Choosing the right variety of nuts and seeds is key considering some varieties such as peanuts contribute to inflammation.
When consumed in moderation, the high fiber content of nuts and seeds can curb your appetite helping you to avoid excess calorie intake. The healthy fats and antioxidants in nuts is credited with providing the anti-inflammatory activities responsible for regulating lipid concentrations, preventing against depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.
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