Adapting to a ketogenic lifestyle can take some re-working of your habits and a new perspective on how you approach meals and snacks. But, no matter how you were eating before, most of the foods that are the pillars of a ketogenic diet are things you’re already familiar with — we’re just helping you learn to use them in slightly different ways to promote ketosis in your body.
Though there are hundreds of foods that fit into a ketogenic diet, there are some that are the true rock stars of the bunch.
Here are our top 10 most versatile and healthful foods for the ketogenic diet:
1) Eggs: High in protein and low in carbs, eating eggs has been shown to help promote a feeling of fullness, and egg yolks contain thirteen essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants.
While eggs were once demonized for their relatively high levels of cholesterol, we now know that consuming them doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels in most people, and can actually reduce the risk of heart disease.
To incorporate some eggs into your morning routine, try our Chorizo Baked Eggs recipe and save the rest for a super quick and easy to take breakfast.
2) Olives and olive oil: These heart-healthy little fruits are bursting with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. A one-ounce serving contains two grams of total carbs. Stock your pantry with extra-virgin olive oil, which is one of the healthiest oils for baking, cooking and deep-frying at high temperatures.
3) Meat, poultry and seafood: In addition to being low in carbs, and high in fat and protein, meat contains nutrients, like vitamin B12, creatine and taurine, that aren’t found in plants.
Shellfish and fish contain anti-inflammatory omega 3s that are associated with improved mental health and decreased risk of disease. If you want a fun and simple dinner that the whole family can enjoy, try our Baked Italian Meatballs using ground beef.
Choose 100% grass-fed pasture-raised red meat, pasture-raised poultry and sustainably farmed or caught seafood. Not only is this better for the animals and the environment, meat from humanely raised animals is typically more nutrient-dense.
4) High-fat dairy: High-fat dairy contains quality protein, vitamins and minerals, and something called “conjugated linoleic acid,” which is one of the few fatty acids that promotes fat loss.
Some studies suggest that a moderate amount of high-fat dairy helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. High fat and very little carbs make high-fat dairy a keto winner! Try full-fat cream and sour cream, butter and ghee, soft cheeses like mascarpone and cream cheese and hard cheeses like jack and cheddar.
5) Dark chocolate: Scientifically speaking, real chocolate (not the processed stuff with tons of sugar) isn’t the “sinful” treat it’s often made out to be.
In fact, dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and flavanols that can decrease blood pressure, heart disease risk and insulin resistance.
Just be sure that there are no sugars and a minimal amount of carbs per serving, and enjoy sparingly.
6) Berries: Berries are some of the healthiest and most keto-friendly fruits. Blueberries have been shown to improve memory and brain function, while raspberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Remember to eat berries in moderation, as they do contain carbs. Make a sweet treat to include some berries into your diet by freezing up some Berry Bomb Pops using raspberries and blueberries.
7) Alliums: Garlic, onions, leeks and other alliums are prized in most cuisines for their aromatic flavors. They also contain allicin, a potent plant compound that protects the body from brain damage and disease. These veggies tend to be rather high in net carbs, but, used in small quantities, they are great for enhancing the flavor and nutrition of your keto cooking.
8) Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies contain high levels of vitamins K and A, as well as a special compound called sulforaphane.
Once digested, sulforaphane can help detoxify the body and protect cells from oxidative stress. We also love cruciferous vegetables for their low carb counts and amazing versatility. Craving an old favorite at dinner? Whip up a batch of Easy Creamy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. You won’t even miss the real thing!
9) Coconut oil: Though very high in saturated fat, coconut oil has been found to help lower cholesterol and promote the loss of belly fat, thanks to medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs are absorbed directly by the liver and converted into ketones, which can help decrease calorie consumption, increase energy levels, and even improve brain function.
10) Nuts and seeds: Rich in fiber and minerals, nuts and seeds are also associated with reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression and obesity. We suggest avoiding nut and seeds oils, which contain high levels of inflammatory omega 6s, and choose whole or freshly ground nuts and seeds instead.
Some of the best seeds and nuts for the ketogenic diet are macadamia and brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts and almonds, and pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds.
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