In recent times, the ketogenic diet is very famous. Studies show that the low-carb, high-fat diet works for weight loss. A ketogenic diet limits carbs consumption to less than 50 grams daily. Although this may seem difficult, but you can eat a lot of nutritious and delicious foods on a ketogenic diet.
What Food to Eat on a Keto Diet?
The basic guide is to limit carbs in your diet and make your keto meals enjoyable and easy to prepare. So you can stick to it without getting bored with the preparation. All of your keto diet recipes should be low in carbohydrate and served with green leafy salad smothered in fatty dressings. Your daily ketogenic diet menu should include 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrate. Here are 11 super healthy and delicious foods to add to your keto diet menu.
Avocados are rich in several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, along with riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. Eating low carb potassium-rich foods can facilitate weight loss on a ketogenic diet. However, 100 grams of avocado contains 9 grams of carbs, and yet 7 grams of that 9 grams are fiber, so the net count of carbs is just 2 grams in avocado. Avocados can also improve the levels of triglyceride. A study reports that avocado can decrease LDL by 22%, and an 11% rise in good HDL cholesterol, which means they are heart healthy. (1)
Eating Non-starch vegetables on a ketogenic diet is the best strategy. Dark green leafy vegetables contain low calories but are high in several nutrients, including vitamin C and fiber. Fiber is an important element of weight loss. The body can’t digest or absorb fiber, but it can help you keep your digestive tract smooth and healthy. According to the evidence, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli are high in antioxidants that protect against free radicals, which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. (2)
Seafood such as fish and shellfish are foods that are essential to eat on a keto diet. Salmon fish is rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. Some shellfish contain carbohydrates, but the carbohydrates ratio in different shellfish differ. For example, shellfish such as shrimps and crabs do not contain carbohydrates, but other shellfish kinds do. Shellfish such as shrimps and crabs should have a place in your ketogenic diet menu. Some evidence shows that fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish are high in omega-3 fats, which can increase insulin sensitivity in overweight people. Eating fatty fish can also decrease the risk of diseases and improve memory, so it applies to eat fish three times a week on a keto diet. (3)
One egg has less than 1 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. This makes eggs an excellent food to eat on a ketogenic diet. Eggs also trigger hormones that increase fullness sensations and maintain a stable level of blood sugar, resulting in lower calories intake. You should eat the whole egg because most of the minerals are available in the egg yolk. This includes lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants that protect eye health. Egg yolks are high in cholesterol, but in most people, eating whole egg does not increase bad cholesterol. In fact, evidence shows that eggs may alter the shape of LDL cholesterol which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you have high triglycerides levels, speak with your doctor about adding eggs to your keto diet menu. (4)
You can eat all cheese on a keto diet. One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese contains one gram of carbohydrate, 7 grams of protein, and 20% calcium. The amount of saturated fat in cheese is high, but it has not confirmed that cheese increases the risk of heart disease. Some studies suggest that cheese may protect you from cardiovascular disease by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. Because it contains conjugated linoleic acid, a fat linked to fat loss and overall health improvements. However, regular cheese consumption may help reduce muscle loss in old age. A study in older adults shows that eating 210 grams of cheese per day increased in muscle mass and strength. (5, 6)
6. Meat and poultry
Meat and poultry are the basic foods to eat on a keto diet. There are no carbs in fresh meat and poultry. Meats and poultry are rich in B-vitamin, potassium, selenium, and zinc. By eating meat, you can maintain muscle mass during a low-carb diet. A study in older women found fatty meat can increase HDL cholesterol levels by 8%. For meat, always go for grass fed meat. It’s because grass-fed animals produce more omega-3, linoleic acid and antioxidant than grains fed meat. (7)
7. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has a unique characteristic that makes it the best choice for a ketogenic diet lover. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). In contrast to long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain triglycerides convert into ketones in the liver and the body burns it as a source of energy. Some evidence shows that coconut oil is beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. Lauric acid is the main fatty acid in coconut oil. Many professionals recommend coconut oil to get into ketosis. In addition, coconut oil can help in weight loss in obese adults. According to some evidence, men who ate 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil daily lost one inch of their waist circumference. The best and the safest way is to check with your doctor if adding coconut oil to your ketogenic diet is suitable for you. (8, 9)
8. Extra-virgin olive oil
Adding olive oil to your ketogenic diet can provide your heart impressive advantages. It is high in oleic acid, a fat that reduces the risk of heart disease. Evidence shows that extra-virgin olive oil, also known as phenols, has top levels of antioxidants. These compounds protect the heart’s health by reducing inflammation and helping the artery. Olive oil contains no carbs and is a pure source of fat. It is a perfect base for mayonnaise and salad dressings. You can use olive oil in low-heat cooking or add to foods after cooking. (10)
9. Yogurt and cheese
Greek yogurt with cottage cheese is a high-protein keto friendly cuisine. While both containing some carbs, but the carb content in them should’d hurt on the keto diet. Evidence shows that eating yogurt suppresses the appetite and facilitates a feeling of fullness. They are also easy to make and suitable for a quick meal. (11)
10. Butter and cream
Butter and cream are excellent foods to eat on a ketogenic diet. Each portion contains only trace quantities of carbs. It is believed that the saturated fat in butter and cream may cause heart disease for many years. Several major studies have shown that saturated fat doesn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease for most people. Evidence shows that reasonably fatty milk consumption could reduce the risk of heart attacks. Like other fatty products, butter and cream are rich in linoleic acid, which may help with fat loss. Before adding saturated fat to your keto menu, speak to your doctor. (12)
11. Black coffee and tea
Tea and coffee are healthy, carb-free beverages. Black coffee and tea without sugar or milk is OK to drink on a keto diet. Unsweetened coffee and tea can boost your metabolic rate, physical and mental performance. Evidence shows it may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. (13)
People use the ketogenic diet for weight loss to control blood sugar or other health purposes. You can add a wide range of nutritious and delicious foods to eat on a ketogenic diet.
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- Total phenolics and antioxidant capacity of indigenous vegetables in the southeast United States: Alabama Collaboration for Cardiovascular Equality Project. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009.
- Beneficial effects of long-chain n-3 fatty acids included in an energy-restricted diet on insulin resistance in overweight and obese European young adults. Diabetologia. 2008.
- Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism. 2013.
- Diets with high-fat cheese, high-fat meat, or carbohydrate on cardiovascular risk markers in overweight postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015.
- Nutrient-rich dairy proteins improve appendicular skeletal muscle mass and physical performance, and attenuate the loss of muscle strength in older men and women subjects: a single-blind randomized clinical trial. Clin Interv Aging. 2014.
- Effects of dietary carbohydrate restriction with high protein intake on protein metabolism and the somatotropic axis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005.
- The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action. Br J Nutr. 2015.
- Phenolic content of virgin olive oil improves ischemic reactive hyperemia in hypercholesterolemic patients. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005.
- Impact of yogurt on appetite control, energy balance, and body composition. Nutr Rev. 2015.
- Intake of milk fat, reflected in adipose tissue fatty acids and risk of myocardial infarction: a case-control study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006.
- Coffee and tea consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2009.