High-fat foods are what dieters should eat on the keto diet since it’s a high-fat, low-carb diet, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what high-fat foods are considered healthy. There is, after all, a stigma that fat is a bad thing when that isn’t true. The Body Reboot book discusses how a high-fat diet with healthy fats can have tremendous benefits from increased energy to weight loss. Whereas it wouldn’t be wise for a person to eat bacon day in and day out, eating fat is the key to the keto diet. A few healthy high-fat foods that are super healthy on keto include avocados, nuts, cheese, fatty fish, and that’s not all. Let’s see what experts have to say about the nutrients found in these fatty foods and why they can reduce the risk of some diseases.
Avocados are very delicious to eat on the keto diet, and the good news is they’re one of the main food staples for keto! Avocados have tons of healthy fat and are also rich in fiber. A Nutrition Journal from 2008 revealed that:
Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults.
Healthline adds to the journal’s findings by mentioning why avocados are packed full of nutrients:
The avocado is different from most other fruits.
Whereas most fruits primarily contain carbs, avocados are loaded with fats.
In fact, avocados are about 77% fat, by calories, making them even higher in fat than most animal foods.
The main fatty acid is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. This is also the predominant fatty acid in olive oil, associated with various health benefits.
Avocados are among the best sources of potassium in the diet, even containing 40% more potassium than bananas, a typical high potassium food.
They're also a great source of fiber, and studies have shown that they can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
Even though they are high in fat and calories, one study shows that people who eat avocados tend to weigh less and have less belly fat than those who don't.
An animal product that many people agree is health is fatty fish. Fish like salmon and trout have lots of omega-3faty acids, high-quality proteins, and many other nutrients. Many studies have shown that people who regularly eat fish have a lower risk of dementia, depression, and other diseases. Fish is also great to eat on keto because it has many nutrients and tastes great too!
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. Each serving is 3.5 ounce cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly).
Cheese is another excellent food item to eat while on keto, and it also has calcium, which many people don’t have enough of in their body. Cheese also has fatty acids which may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study by Ann Internal Medicine from 2010 confirms that cheese can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Also, as Dairy Council of California reveals below, today saturated fat should have a minimal effect on heart disease, but it’s always important to consult with your physician before upping your saturated fat intake.
Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the American diet. According to government statistics, nine out of 10 women and six out of 10 men fall short of calcium recommendations. The high-quality protein in cheese provides the body with essential building blocks for strong muscles. For a complete listing of the nutrients in cheese, see the table below.
If you are lactose intolerant, many cheeses, particularly aged cheeses such as Cheddar and Swiss, contain little or no lactose and are often well tolerated.
For the past 30 years or so, saturated fat—found in meats, eggs, cheese, butter, whole milk, lard and some oils—was considered a primary cause of heart disease. New research, however, is showing that saturated fat has a minimal impact on heart disease risk, which is changing the “saturated fat is bad” paradigm and allowing people to enjoy more cheese and other favorite foods. Further research is needed showing significant scientific agreement.
Not only do eggs have a high-fat content which is perfect for keto, but WebMD says they’re also very nutritious. Whereas eggs used to be deemed unhealthy due to concerns of high-cholesterol, today researchers recommend eating eggs because they have disease-fighting nutrients and also offer other nutrients such as protein.
Then, in 2000, the American Heart Association (AHA) revised its dietary guidelines and gave healthy adults the green light to enjoy eggs once again. The AHA's guidelines now allow an egg a day for healthy adults while still advising a total daily cholesterol limit of 300 mg.
With science on our side, we can once again enjoy the wonderfully nutritious egg. Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein. One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.
The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. And brain development and memory may be enhanced by the choline content of eggs.
Keto newbies (and seasoned dieters as well) will be pleased to find out that not only is dark chocolate okay to eat on the keto diet but it has great nutrients in it as well! Harvard Chan T.H. talks about the nutrients in dark chocolate and how much you can eat every day to prevent heart disease. Though, if you’re trying to limit the carbs, you may only want to eat dark chocolate as an occasional snack.
Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols that may help to protect the heart. Dark chocolate contains up to 2-3 times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate. Flavanols have been shown to support the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the endolethium (the inner cell lining of blood vessels) that helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure. [1,2] Flavanols in chocolate can increase insulin sensitivity in short term studies; in the long run this could reduce risk of diabetes.
Other observational studies suggest a link between high cocoa or chocolate intake of 6 grams daily (1-2 small squares) and a reduced risk of heart disease and mortality, possibly in part by reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
Nuts are very healthy. They have lots of healthy fats and fiber and are also a good source of protein. Mayo Clinic outlines why nuts are a nutritious snack and what’s ideal about nuts (eaten in moderation, of course) is that they are also perfect to consume on the keto diet.
Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet may be good for your heart. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. And they're a great snack food — inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack when you're on the go.
Besides being packed with protein, most nuts contain at least some of these heart-healthy substances:
Unsaturated fats. It's not entirely clear why, but it's thought that the “good” fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower bad cholesterol levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many kinds of fish, but many nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks.
Fiber. All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol. Fiber makes you feel full, so you eat less. Fiber is also thought to play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin E. Vitamin E may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries, which can narrow them. Plaque development in your arteries can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack.
At the time of writing this post, we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness and to help people lose weight and get healthy! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left. At the time of writing this post, we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness and to help people lose weight and get healthy! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left.
Sources: Healthline, Dairy Council of California, NCBI: Ann Intern Med. 2010, NCBI: Nutrition Journal, 2013, Harvard Chan T.H., Web MD, American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic
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