The keto diet has become a popular choice for many, and not just for weight loss. Having your body in ketosis is thought to help control diabetes and epilepsy and even be beneficial for those living with cancer or the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
The keto diet involves eating high-fat, low-carb foods that encourage your body to burn fat for energy rather than the more normal and more easily converted sugars contained in carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet has helped thousands lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.
A concept that has made headlines in the past few years is that of “superfoods.” Though a term not often used by nutritionists, it is a way of grouping together those foods that offer much more than average in the way of micronutrients. Simply, they are really good for you!
But can you take advantage of superfoods on a keto diet? Which foods are the superfoods of the keto world? Let’s find out.
What are the Top 10 Keto Foods?
While there are a few variations, the standard keto diet is where most people start. The basis of this diet is a daily food intake consisting of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs.
The key is searching out the best ingredients that will help you achieve this balance of macronutrients while making sure you are getting all the micronutrients your body requires. Here is our guide to the top 10 keto-friendly foods:
- Fish and Seafood
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel could have been designed for the keto diet. They are perfect parcels of protein and fats with no carbs; they couldn’t be better. For instance, a 6oz (85g) cooked salmon steak has 22g of fat, 399g of protein and zero carbs.
They are also super healthy, crammed with vitamins and minerals, and contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. It is hard to think of a more super superfood.
In fact, a lot of seafood is suitable for the keto diet. Octopus, squid, crabs and oysters not only taste good but fit right in with your dietary requirements.
- Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry are the most popular way of getting your protein needs on a keto diet. The typical roasted chicken breast contains around 31g of protein and no carbs. A chicken thigh is even better with 26g of protein and a keto-healthy 11g of fat, not to mention that it has more flavor.
An 8-ounce rib-eye steak has over 40g of protein, nearly the same amount of fat, and almost no carbohydrates. Plus, like chicken and other meat, it is stuffed with vitamins and minerals and all those other good things.
The humble egg, cheap and available everywhere, is a keto go-to. With less than 1g of carbs in a large egg, but high in protein, including eggs in your diet is a no-brainer. Also to be considered is that they are simple to cook and in so many ways, too. Don’t know what else to have? Eat an omelet, or a boiled egg, or poached. You can’t go wrong. You also don’t need to worry about yolks versus whites unless you’re seriously counting calories.
- Low-Carb Veggies
Not all veggies are suitable for a keto diet but eating good vegetables are vital to a healthy body. You need the fiber and nutrients that only vegetables can supply if you are to remain fit and strong. Sure, you need to avoid the starchy ones – think potatoes, yams and beets – but there are many that should be consumed in quantity.
The stars of the vegetable world are the trio of cruciferous veg: cauliflower, broccoli and kale. You can’t imagine how many vitamins and minerals a serving of these contains. True, they don’t contain fat, but they don’t have many carbs either, and much of what they do contain is fiber anyway. You can get the fat from elsewhere, but the micronutrients are priceless. Plus, cauliflower, for instance, makes a great mashed potato substitute.
The avocado is another superfood and rightly so. It contains 20 different vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K, C, B5, B6, and E, plus lots of folate and potassium, and plenty of other nutrients. It has a little protein and a lot of healthy fats. Yes, it does contain carbs, but most are health-giving fiber. There’s no cholesterol or sodium. If you want a healthy vegetable, you can't go wrong with an avocado.
- Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are great snacks for anyone, but especially for those on keto. Healthy, low in carbs, but with lots of fiber, they tick a lot of boxes. They do vary in their appropriateness for keto, however. The ones to go for are almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, macadamias and pecan with chia and flax being top of the seeds. They make great snacks!
Olive oil, and the olives it is made from, are your keto diet’s friend: zero carbs, lots of healthy fats and plenty of flavor. The oil is particularly good for low-temperature cooking and dressings, and a pack of olives is the perfect snack.
Although milk is difficult to include in a keto diet, the same (thankfully!) cannot be said of cheese, particularly hard cheese. When you make cheese, you don’t use the whey. It’s the whey that has a lot of the carbs, so cheese generally ends up as high in fat, low in carb. Hooray. Cheese can add flavor to the blandest of dishes. It’s always a good idea to check the packaging before you try a new cheese, especially if it’s flavored or processed.
- Yogurt and Cream
Yogurt and cream are two more dairy products that can be a part of a keto diet. Yogurt does have a few carbs but can help you feel full for longer and contains protein and fat, too. If you’re not a fan of black coffee, then a dollop of whipping cream might make a great alternative to soya, oat or almond milk.
- Coffee and Tea
Okay, we are talking unsweetened beverages with no cow’s milk, but you can drink a lot of coffee and tea on a keto diet. In moderation, caffeine has been shown to be good for you, and coffee and tea definitely don’t contain carbohydrates. No sugar, of course, but something like stevia or sucralose can give you back that sweetness.
What Foods Can You Eat Unlimited On Keto?
Although you need to be conscious of balance on a keto diet, many of our top ten foods can be indulged in. No one on any diet can eat unlimited quantities of anything; the old saying of moderation in all things holds true. But all those food above are healthy, low in carbs and high either in fat, protein or a combination of the two. Very keto-friendly!
When you begin your keto journey, you need to be fairly strict with your choices. You won’t get into ketosis unless you plan your food intake. As you get used to the process, you can begin to experiment without losing the macronutrient balance you need.
But for example, grilled salmon is fantastic, but it won’t fill all your nutritional needs. You need variety in your diet, both for health and to keep food interesting and fun.
Keto vs. Superfoods, Which is Better?
If you look at the list above, you will find that most of the top 10 keto-friendly foods, if not all, are what are now termed superfoods. They rock! It is not a question of which is better; superfoods are mostly keto-friendly. In fact, the best foods to include on a ketogenic diet are superfoods.
The only ones you really need to be weary of are grains, fruits, and sweet vegetables. You can incorporate some of these into your keto diet if you’re mindful. Blueberries are definitely classed as a superfood, and you can carefully incorporate a handful into your breakfast or afternoon snack. Many fruits are off-limits to anyone on a keto diet – far too many carbs involved. But berries are the exception. No, you can’t eat as many as you like, but as a treat… Perfect.
Do Superfoods Help with Ketosis?
Not all of them, no. A keto diet does mean we can’t indulge ourselves without thinking about the macronutrient balance. Many of the best keto-friendly foods are superfoods. For ultimate results, anyone on a keto diet should understand that superfoods are a vital part of their diet but should be incorporated wisely. Make efforts always to include them in your daily diet. Fill your plate with broccoli and your heart will thank you!
Superfoods are what they say on the tin. No one should ignore their importance, but equally you need to be conscious of which new “superfood” is keto-appropriate, and which need to be incorporated carefully or left out of your diet for now. Integrate nutrition-rich foods and you’ll thrive on your keto diet!
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