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The Top 10 Ketogenic Diet Foods

Ketogenic Diet

By eBook BasketPublished 2 years ago 12 min read

Decades of research indicate that high-fat, low-carb keto-friendly foods, which we once thought were bad for our health, may actually be good for it. Numerous studies on the ketogenic diet have revealed benefits for people suffering from a variety of conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's disease.

How can a diet high in cholesterol and fat be so beneficial to our health? Because many of the foods we once considered to be the problem, such as eggs and meat, can actually be the solution.

We'll look at some of the healthiest keto foods below.

Egg

Let's start with a high-cholesterol food that would make your mother cringe — eggs. Eggs are one of the world's healthiest and most versatile foods. Many experts consider the egg to be one of the few true "superfoods." The egg yolk, not the white, is responsible for this profound claim.

In fact, the yolk contains the majority of the beneficial nutrients in the egg, including thirteen essential vitamins and minerals as well as the eye-protecting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. They are also a good source of choline, a vitamin-like essential nutrient and methyl donor that is involved in a variety of vital physiological processes.

Although egg yolks are high in cholesterol, most people's blood cholesterol levels are not raised by eating them. Eggs have even been shown to change the shape of LDL, lowering the risk of heart disease.

Egg consumption has also been shown to increase fullness and maintain blood sugar levels, resulting in lower calorie intake for up to 24 hours. This could imply that eggs are the weight-loss superfood you've been looking for.

Furthermore, one large egg has less than 1 gram of carbs and less than 6 grams of protein, making it an ideal keto-friendly health food.

If you want the healthiest eggs possible, look for egg farmers who give their chickens access to pasture, where they can eat insects and soak up the sun. According to research, chickens raised in this manner lay eggs that are higher in omega 3s, vitamins, and minerals.

Olives and Olive Oil

Many health-promoting compounds can be found in virgin olive oil and olives. One of the most researched olive components is oleocanthal, a phenolic compound.

Oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen, making olives and virgin olive oil an excellent addition to the diet for anyone looking to reduce pain and inflammation.

One ounce (28 gram) of olives contains 2 grams of total carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber. This works out to 1 gram of net carbs for 7-10 olives, depending on size. If you don't like olives or don't want the net carbs they contain, olive oil is an excellent substitute. Although olive oil does not provide all of the benefits of olives, it does provide plenty of healthy fats and health-promoting compounds.

Extra virgin olive oil should be your go-to cooking oil if you want to eat healthy. According to a recent study, this is the healthiest oil for baking, cooking, and deep frying at high temperatures. This is due to the high concentration of stable fats and antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil, which prevent the oil from degrading into toxic chemicals.

Meat, Poultry, and Seafood

Extra virgin olive oil should be your go-to cooking oil if you want to eat healthy. According to a recent study, this is the healthiest oil for baking, cooking, and deep frying at high temperatures. This is due to the high concentration of stable fats and antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil, which prevent the oil from degrading into toxic chemicals.

Even the fats in these meats are good for you. In one study of older women, a diet high in fatty meat resulted in HDL cholesterol levels that were 8% higher than on a low-fat, high-carb diet. This study also sheds more light on why the ketogenic diet has been shown to lower cholesterol levels.

To maximize the health benefits of your meat, choose 100% grass-fed pasture-raised red meat and pasture-raised poultry. Meat from these animals has been found to have healthier omega 3 to omega 6 fat ratios and more antioxidants than meat from 100% grain-fed animals.

No land mammal, however, can compete with the amount of anti-inflammatory omega 3s found in fish and shellfish. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, and other fatty fish contain the most omega-3 fats, which is why many studies have linked frequent fish consumption to improved mental health and a lower risk of disease.

Shellfish is also extremely beneficial, providing an excellent source of zinc, copper, and vitamin B12. Regardless of how healthy they are, it is critical to limit your intake of shellfish on the ketogenic diet. Some shellfish may have more net carbs than you think.

Another important caveat for keto dieters is that eating too much meat or seafood at any given meal can lower your ketone levels. As a result, if you want to maintain or increase your ketone levels, it is best to divide your protein consumption evenly between meals.

High Fat Dairy (Cheese, Butter, and Cream)

Previously discussed how the fats found in fatty meats may help promote cholesterol levels and heart health; the same is true for the fats found in cheese, butter, and cream. In fact, some studies suggest that consuming high-fat dairy in moderation may even lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.

High-fat dairy products are also high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and conjugated linoleic acid (one of the few fatty acids that have been found to promote fat loss). This combination of nutrients is critical for maintaining strength and function as we get older. The older participants in a recent study, for example, were able to increase their muscle mass and muscle strength by adding just 7 ounces of ricotta cheese to their daily diet. In other words, please request more cheese.

On the ketogenic diet, there is no need to skimp on the cheese, cream, and butter. Because of the low carb content of high-fat dairy, you can use a reasonable amount in each meal without worrying about getting too many carbs.

Dark Chocolate

This guilty pleasure could be just as enjoyable for you as it is for your health. Dark chocolate, for example, contains many flavanols that lower blood pressure, heart disease risk, and insulin resistance.

Cocoa is referred to as a "super fruit" because it contains at least as much antioxidant activity as any other fruit (including keto-friendly berries).

However, just because you can eat as much dark chocolate as you want doesn't mean you should, especially if you're on the ketogenic diet. Many chocolate products have enough net carbs to throw you out of ketosis.

When purchasing chocolate or any cocoa product, carefully read the label to ensure that it contains no added sugars and has a low carbohydrate content per serving. If you dislike the flavor of dark chocolate, look for chocolates that get their sweetness from healthy low-calorie sweeteners.

Berries

There are hundreds of different kinds of berries in the world, and they all contain different anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that give them their distinct colors of red, blue, and purple. These flavonoids have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

For example, wild blueberries have been shown to improve memory in older adults, and other research suggests that they may protect the brain from inflammation. Raspberries and blackberries are high in antioxidants, which have been linked to reduced inflammation and disease prevention.

Berries should be consumed in moderation while on the ketogenic diet due to their relatively higher net carb content.

The carb counts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of some keto-friendly berries are as follows:

 Blackberries: 10 grams of total carbs (~5 grams of net carbs)

 Blueberries: 14 grams of total carbs (~12 grams of net carbs)

 Raspberries: 12 grams of total carbs (~5.5 grams of net carbs)

 Strawberries: 8 grams of total carbs (~5.5 grams of net carbs)

Garlic, Onion, and Other Allium Vegetables

Allicin is found in garlic, onions, leeks, and other vegetables in the Allium family. This is a powerful plant compound that promotes anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activity throughout the body, protecting us from brain damage and disease.

Garlic, in particular, has been used for centuries as a disease preventative and treatment. It is high in organosulfur compounds, which give it a strong flavor, taste, and health benefits.

Although alliums have a higher net carbohydrate content than other low-carb vegetables, it is difficult to consume too many of these powerful vegetables. Feel free to incorporate them into your cooking to improve the flavor of your keto meals. Just keep in mind how many net carbs you're getting from them.

If you're curious about the carbohydrate content of allium vegetables like onion and leeks, check out our guide to the best low-carb vegetables for the ketogenic diet.

Broccoli, Kale, and Other Cruciferous Vegetables

All low-carb vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which are necessary for our overall health. Cruciferous vegetables, on the other hand, provide an additional health benefit.

Although cruciferous vegetables contain more vitamin K and A than many other vegetables, this is not why we included them on our list of the top 10 keto foods. Sulforaphane is what distinguishes crucifers like broccoli and cauliflower from other vegetables.

Sulforaphane is a compound that is produced when cruciferous vegetables are crushed or chewed. Sulforaphane activates a cytoprotective (cell-protecting) pathway after digestion, protecting cells from oxidative stress and removing toxins from the body. This is one of the primary reasons why cruciferous vegetable consumption has been linked to improved cognitive function as well as a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.

The best part is that you won't have to scale a mountain or trek through the Amazon jungle to reap the benefits of sulforaphane. All you have to do is consume popular vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.

Cruciferous vegetables are also a lifesaver for keto dieters because they are excellent substitutes for higher-carb foods as well as standalone side dishes and snacks. Cauliflower, for example, can be used to mimic rice or mashed potatoes, and kale can be transformed into crunchy, tasty chips.

Coconut Oil

The studies on coconut oil — one of the most saturated fat-rich foods — provide the clearest evidence of why saturated fats aren't bad for us.

Consider a recent randomized, double-blind clinical trial that compared coconut oil to soybean oil. The researchers discovered that coconut oil reduced abdominal fat and kept blood lipids under control, whereas soybean oil increased total cholesterol and decreased HDL cholesterol.

What's more, coconut oil has been shown to aid in the loss of weight and belly fat in obese adults. One study found that adding 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of coconut oil to the diet of obese men resulted in an average loss of 1 inch from their waistlines.

One of the reasons for these health-promoting effects is MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, which are found in coconut oil. Unlike long-chain fats found in fatty meats and dairy, MCTs are directly absorbed by the liver and converted into ketones.

MCTs and coconut oil can help reduce calorie consumption, increase energy levels, and improve brain function by increasing ketone levels. In fact, MCTs found in coconut oil can help people with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders improve their quality of life and cognitive function. You can take it a step further by using MCT Oil in its concentrated form.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are nutritious additions to any diet.

Numerous studies have linked frequent nut consumption to a lower risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression, and obesity. Nuts and seeds are also high in fiber, which aids in weight loss by increasing satiety.

Seeds have a variety of unique advantages. Flaxseeds, for example, are the most abundant dietary source of lignan precursors, while sesame seeds contain the most phytosterols of any nut or seed. Lignans and phytosterols are both beneficial in terms of reducing inflammation, heart disease risk, and cancer risk.

Consuming nut and seed oils on their own is not recommended because they contain unhealthily high levels of inflammatory omega 6. As a result, it is preferable to consume whole or freshly ground nuts and seeds.

There are many recipes on the ketogenic diet that call for almond flour and flax meal, which are healthy low-carb flour alternatives. However, make sure you're aware of how much of these low-carb flours you're using. An over-reliance on nut and seed flours can unknowingly lead to an increase in calories, carbs, and inflammatory fats.

Although all nuts and seeds are low in net carbs, the amount varies greatly between different types.

The carb counts for 1 ounce (28 grams) of the most commonly consumed nuts and seeds are as follows:

 Almonds: 6 grams of total carbs (3 grams of net carbs)

 Brazil nuts: 3 grams of total carbs (1 gram of net carbs)

 Cashews: 9 grams of total carbs (8 grams of net carbs)

 Macadamia nuts: 4 grams of total carbs (2 grams of net carbs)

 Pecans: 4 grams of total carbs (1 gram of net carbs)

 Pistachios: 8 grams of total carbs (5 grams of net carbs)

 Walnuts: 4 grams of total carbs (2 grams of net carbs)

 Chia seeds: 12 grams of total carbs (1 gram of net carbs)

 Flaxseeds: 8 grams of total carbs (0 grams of net carbs )

 Pumpkin seeds: 5 grams of total carbs (4 grams of net carbs)

 Sesame seeds: 7 grams of total carbs (3 grams of net carbs)

Other Important Keto Foods to Mention

If you consume the majority of your calories from this list of the top 10 keto foods, you will see results (even if you do not strictly adhere to the ketogenic diet). You will be able to meet your macronutrient and micronutrient needs while losing fat and feeling better than ever if you eat each of these foods throughout the week.

It is important to note, however, that these are not the only health-promoting keto foods. There are numerous other keto-friendly ingredients that can boost your keto diet results. In my diet, for example, I've recently been experimenting with shirataki noodles and avocado. They've been a welcome change of pace for both my palate and my health.

Noodles Shirataki

Shirataki noodles are the closest thing I've found to keto pasta. They are primarily composed of glucomannan, a viscous fiber, and contain less than 1 gram of carbs and 5 calories per serving.

Despite their low calorie count, shirataki noodles are very filling due to the fiber and water content. They can even help you stay full between meals by slowing the movement of food through your digestive tract. These distinguishing characteristics make shirataki noodles ideal for anyone looking to reduce their calorie intake without going hungry.

Shirataki noodles come in a variety of shapes, including rice, fettuccine, and linguine, so you can use them in any of your favorite high-carb pasta recipes. In a pinch, I toss these noodles with some pasta sauce, MCT oil, and pre-cooked bacon for a quick keto meal.

If you want to learn more about this "miracle" pasta substitute, read our detailed article on shirataki noodles.

Avocado

Avocados are an essential component of the ketogenic diet, especially in the beginning. This is because avocados are high in several vitamins and minerals, including potassium. By increasing your potassium intake, you can help alleviate many of the symptoms of the keto flu during the first few days of keto.

Avocados have been found to help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the long run. According to one study, increasing avocado consumption resulted in a 22% reduction in "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and an 11% increase in "good" HDL cholesterol.

One-half of a medium avocado contains approximately nine grams of carbs, seven of which are fiber. This means that each half has only 2 grams of net carbs, making avocados a healthy and keto-friendly option.

You don't like avocados? Instead, try avocado oil. Although you won't get all of the vitamins and minerals that you would if you ate an avocado whole, the oil is high in monounsaturated fat. This unsaturated fatty acid lowers cholesterol levels and can withstand high temperatures during cooking and baking.

Conclusion

One of the main reasons the ketogenic diet produces such amazing results is that it primarily consists of the following ten healthy foods:

 Eggs

 High-fat dairy

 Meat, poultry, and seafood

 Dark chocolate

 Olives and olive oil

 Coconut oil

 Nuts and seeds

 Berries

 Cruciferous vegetables

 Allium vegetables

And these two honorable mentions:

 Avocados

 Shirataki noodles

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