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11 Super Healthy Foods to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet

foods to eat on a ketogenic diet

In recent times, the ketogenic diet is very famous. Studies show that the low-carb, high-fat diet works for weight loss. In addition, it can help people with diabetes and epilepsy. There is also an early proof that people with a certain disease can benefit from it. Typically, a ketogenic diet limits carbs content to 50 grams daily. Although this may seem difficult, we can still easily use a lot of nutritious and delicious food to eat on a ketogenic diet. Here are the 11 foods to eat on a ketogenic diet (1, 2, 3).

1. Avocados

Avocados are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. 100 grams of avocado contains 9 grams of carbs, and yet 7 grams of that 9 grams of carbs are fiber, so the net count of carbs is just 2 grams (4).

Avocados are high in several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, along with riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. The higher intake of potassium can help facilitate a ketogenic diet (5, 6).

Avocados can also improve the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride. A study showed that avocado can decrease LDL by 22%, and an 11% rise in good HDL cholesterol (7).

The avocados contain a 2-gram of carbs per serving and several other nutrients, including potassium. In addition, avocado can improve cardiovascular health.

Related: How to tell if an avocado has gone bad?

2. Low-Carb Vegetables

Non-starch vegetables have low calories but are high in several nutrients, including vitamin C and fiber. The body can’t digest or absorb fiber, but it can help you keep your digestive tract healthy. Dark green leafy vegetables contain very less amount of carbohydrates.

Low carb vegetables contain about 1 to 8 grams of carbohydrate per cup. Vegetables also contain antioxidants that protect against

free radicals (8, 9).

However, green leafy foods such as kale and broccoli can decrease the risk of cardiovascular and cancer diseases (10, 11). ⠀

There are about 1 to 8 grams of carbohydrates in one cup of non-starchy vegetables. Low carb vegetables food is nutritious, healthy to eat on a ketogenic diet.

3. Seafood

Fish and shellfish are foods essential in a keto diet. Salmon fish is rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. The carbohydrates in different shellfish differ. For example,  shrimps and crabs do not contain carbohydrates, but other shellfish kinds contain carbohydrates (12, 13).

Although these shellfish should have a place in a ketogenic diet, when you try to remain within a small range, it is very important to consider these carbohydrates.

The carbohydrates content in 100 grams of popular shellfish:

clams 5 grams, mussels 7 grams, octopus 4 grams, oysters 4 grams, squid 3 grams (14, 15, 16, 17, 18).

Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish are high in omega-3 fats that decrease sugar and an increase in insulin sensitivity in overweight people (19).

Eating fish can decrease the risk of disease and improve memory. Therefore, it is important to eat fish three times every week (20, 21).

Seafood is the best source for omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals.

4. Eggs

One enormous egg has less than 1 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. Therefore, this makes eggs an ideal food for a Ketogenic diet (22).

Eggs also trigger hormones that increase fullness sensations and maintain a stable level of blood sugar, resulting in lower intakes of calories up to 24 hours (23, 24).

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 (25).

Egg yolks are high in cholesterol, but in most people, the consumption does not increase bad cholesterol. In fact, eggs may alter the shape of LDL cholesterol which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (26).

There is less than one gram of carbohydrate in an egg. Eggs are also high in nutrients and can contribute in protection of eyes.

5. Cheese

There are many kinds of cheese available. However, cheese is very suitable food for a ketogenic diet.

One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese contains one gram of carbohydrate, 7 grams of protein, and 20% calcium of daily requirement (27).

The amount of saturated fat in cheese is high, but it has not confirmed that cheese increases the risk of heart disease. However, some studies suggest that cheese can protect you from cardiovascular disease (28, 29).

Cheese also 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 (30).

A study in older adults showed that eating 210 grams of cheese per day increased in muscle mass and muscle strength (31).

Cheeses are low carb food, and rich in protein, calcium and contain many other essential fatty acids.

6. Meat and Poultry

Meat and poultry are the basic foods in a ketogenic diet. There are no carbs in fresh meat and poultry.  Meats and poultry are rich in B-vitamin, potassium, selenium, and zinc (32).

By eating meat you can maintain muscle mass during a low-carb diet. However, a study in older women found fatty meat can increase HDL cholesterol levels by 8% (33, 34, 35).

Where possible, it is best to choose grass meat. It’s because grass-fed animals produce more omega-3, linoleic acid and antioxidant than grains fed meat (36).

Meat and poultry are not carbohydrates. Meat contains high-quality protein and a variety of nutrients. The healthiest option is grass-fed meat.

7. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has unique characteristics that make it suitable for a ketogenic diet. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). In contrast to long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain triglycerides convert into ketones by the liver and the body burns it as a source of energy.

Coconut oil is also beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. Lauric acid is the main fatty acid in coconut oil. Therefore, many professionals recommend coconut oil to get into ketosis (37, 38, 39).

In addition, coconut oil can help you lose weight in obese adults. Men who ate 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil daily lost one inch of their waist circumference (40, 41).

Coconut oil is rich in MCTs that can boost ketones production. It can also improve metabolic rates and encourage the loss of belly fat.

8. Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil gives your heart impressive advantages. It is high in oleic acid, a fat that reduces the risk of heart disease. Extra-virgin olive oil, also known as phenols, has top levels of antioxidants. These compounds protect the heart’s health by reducing inflammation and improving the artery (42, 43, 44, 45).

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.

Extra-virgin olive is high in monounsaturated fats, and it is the best antioxidant that promotes heart health.

9. Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese

Greek yogurt is a healthy high-protein cuisine with cottage cheese. You can include them in your ketogenic diet while containing certain carbs.

5 ounces of plain Greek yogurt (150 grams) contains 5 grams of carbs and 11 grams of protein. 5 ounces (150) grams of cottage cheese contains 5 grams of carbs and 18 grams of protein (46, 47).

The study shows yogurt and cottage cheese help reduce appetite and facilitate feelings of fullness. However, both are also suitable for a quick and easy meal with chopped nuts and some cinnamon (48, 49).

Greek yogurt and cottage cheese contain 5 grams of carbs per serving. Studies have shown that they contribute to reducing appetite and encouraging fullness.

10. Butter and Cream

Butter and cream are excellent foods for a ketogenic diet. Each portion contains only trace quantities of carbs. They told us that the saturated fat content in butter and cream may cause or contribute to heart disease for many years.

However, several major studies have shown that saturated fat doesn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease for most people. Some studies show that moderately fat milk consumption could reduce the risk of heart attacks (50, 51, 52).

Like other fatty products, butter and cream are rich in linoleic acid, which may lead to fat loss (53).

Butter and cream are almost carb-free. They have significant effects on heart health if consumed in moderate quantity.

11. Black coffee and Tea

Tea and coffee are healthy, carbs-free beverages. Coffee contains caffeine which improves your metabolism, alertness, and mood (5456).

Coffee drinkers have less risk of diabetes (57, 58).

Unsweetened coffee and tea may boost your metabolic rate, physical and mental performance. It can also lower your type 2 diabetes risk.

The Bottom Line

People use the ketogenic diet for weight loss to control blood sugar or other health purposes. You can add a wide range of nutritious, delicious and versatile foods to your ketogenic diet, which will enable you to stay energetic throughout the day. Consume these 11 foods to collect all the health benefits of a keto diet.

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Naeem Durrani BSc
Naeem Durrani is a freelance journalist who specializes in health and wellness innovation. His interests include medical research, nutrition, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to positively transform their lives.
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