The keto diet happens to be one of the most popular weight loss diet plans. It is one of the most effective diet plans in helping you lose weight quickly and efficiently. Besides weight loss, this diet has also been linked to several health benefits. Even so, most happen to be in the dark about the foods to have when following a ketogenic diet. So, in this read, we will be discussing the most popular keto foods. Check out our top 10 keto foods.
What Is The Keto Diet?
Before we go further, let us remind ourselves of the keto diet. This is a diet that focuses on consuming a lot of healthy fats, moderate proteins, and very few carbs (12). It is one of the most effective weight loss diet plans.
The science behind it is that it makes you get more calories from fat than from carbs. As a result, it depletes the body of its carbohydrate reserves, making it break down stored fat for energy. The process leads to the production of molecules called ketones (12).
The body uses these ketones for fuel. This fat-burning process has been linked to weight loss for some people (12). You must note that there are two types of the keto diet; the Standard and the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. It would help if you talked to your nutritionist before settling on either for more insight on their insight on weight loss.
Top 10 Best Foods For Keto
When choosing the foods to consume when on keto, you must remember that they have to be high in fat and low in carbs. It’s important to choose healthy fats, since a diet high in certain types of fats can increase risk of heart disease. You also must consider foods that meet your dietary requirements.
Here are the top ten keto foods as listed by experts:
Let us start with one of the most nutritious and keto-friendly foods, eggs. We could go on for hours listing the many different ways we cook eggs. As a result of their versatility, they have become a staple in most households.
On top of that, they are loved for their nutritional benefit. According to Medical News Today, one medium boiled or poached egg weighing around 44 grams has the following nutrients (5):
- Calories- 62.5
- Protein- 5.5 g
- Fat- 4.2 g
Eggs are also excellent sources of choline, selenium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, and vitamins A, K, E, and B (5).
- Reduced Heart Disease Risk. Eggs contain choline that helps break down homocysteine, which increases cardiovascular disease risk.
- A Healthy Pregnancy. Eggs have folate that prevents congenital disabilities like spina bifida.
- A Stronger Immune System. Eggs have vitamins B-12 and A plus selenium, which helps in keeping your immune system healthy.
- Increased Energy. Eggs have many nutrients required for energy production.
Salmon is the next food in our list of the top ten keto diet foods. It is one of the most popular fish choices for most people, which is good because it is linked to numerous health benefits.
Some of these include (7):
- Weight Loss. Salmon has zero carbs, which makes it a perfect fish choice for a keto diet. It also has a good amount of protein and healthy fat.
- Reduced Stroke And Heart Disease Risk. Salmon is rich in omega- 3 fatty acids that have been linked to a healthy heart.
- Reduced Cancer, Dementia, And Alzheimer’s Disease Risk. Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon may also help in reducing the risk of these chronic diseases.
Salmon recipes are endless, meaning you have numerous choices on how you can prepare this healthy fish. However, although fried salmon ranks among the top ten fried keto foods, food experts acknowledge that fried foods are not the best choice for your health (7).
So, try as much as possible to use other cooking methods. If you must, food experts suggest using olive oil to pan fry your salmon (7). Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat.
And with that, olive oil happens to be the next food in our list of the top ten keto foods. Most food experts recommend using olive oil due to its wealth of antioxidants. Antioxidants have numerous benefits, including reducing your risk of a chain of diseases.
One tablespoon or roughly 13.5 grams of olive oil has 119 calories and 13.5 grams of fat. It also contains other vital nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamins E and K (8).
These nutrients contribute to the many benefits of olive oil, such as (8):
- Reduced Cancer Risk. Extra virgin oil, which happens to be the best quality of olive oil, has a ton of antioxidants. These help prevent cell damage from free radicals, which can lead to cancer if out of balance.
- Better Heart Health. Extra virgin olive oil has polyphenols that help protect you against heart disease. They may also help prevent atherosclerosis, cognitive decline, and stroke.
- Reduced Metabolic Syndrome Risk. Regular consumption of olive oil may help reduce the risk of obesity, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure, all of which characterize metabolic syndrome.
- Reduced Risk Of Liver Damage. Olive oil contains oleic acid and phenolic compounds which may help prevent oxidative stress, inflammation, insulin resistance, and other conditions that could damage the liver.
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We all know that some foods taste better when you add some cheese to them. But, of course, we are talking about pizza, sandwiches, or salads. If you love cheese, you will be happy to know that it is a keto-friendly food.
There are so many varieties that you can try. American cheese happens to be one of the most popular varieties. A 28-g serving of American cheese has 104 calories, 5 g of protein, 1 g of carbs, and 9 g of fat (3).
It is also rich in calcium, zinc, and vitamins A, B-12, D, and K.
These nutrients contribute to its health benefits, some of which include (3):
- Blood Coagulation. Cheese has omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K-2 that help in blood coagulation. Blood coagulation is also known as blood clotting.
- Reduced Inflammation. Cheese contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which may help in easing inflammation.
- Reduced Blood Pressure. The high calcium levels in cheese can help in lowering blood pressure.
- Better Bone and Muscle Health. Cheese contains calcium and protein, two of the most vital nutrients in building muscle and stronger bones.
- Better Gut Health. Fermented cheese has probiotic bacteria that help in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
Avocado is one of the top high-fat keto foods. Luckily, there are many creative ways you can add this fruit to your keto diet. For example, you can have them pureed, in guacamole, salads, smoothies, soups, scrambled eggs, on toast, or as a substitute for condiments like mayonnaise.
Avocado has 73% water, 2% protein, 15% fat, 8.5% carbs, and a good amount of fiber (4). A 100 g serving of this fruit has 160 calories (4). It also has high potassium levels, making it one of the top ten potassium-rich foods in a keto diet. These nutrients contribute to its health benefits, which include (4):
- Weight Loss. Because of the fiber content, avocado promotes weight loss by reducing your appetite and helping to decrease your cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Reduced Disease Risk. The fiber in avocado helps feed friendly bacteria in the gut and may help reduce the risk of conditions like obesity, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
- Reduced Inflammation. The healthy fats and oleic acid in this fruit protect against inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts are an excellent source of fiber, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients (9). On the other hand, Seeds are also rich in numerous nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and fiber (1). Therefore, each seed and nut has varying nutrients and nutritional benefits.
However, food experts recommend them for weight loss due to their amazing appetite-control power. However, remember that it is very easy to overindulge in them, leading to a calorie surplus. A calorie surplus is associated with weight gain. So just be aware of your portion sizes.
Meat is a staple in a keto diet. You can choose to have either red meat or poultry as your main protein source in the keto diet. However, red meat can contain more unhealthy saturated fat, which is why you have to be very careful when buying meat.
Here are some tips that experts recommend (6):
- Looking For Lean Cuts. Go for lean red meat cuts of beef, pork, and lamb. Lean beef cut examples include sirloin, tenderloin, round, and chunk. Lean lamb and pork examples include loin chop, leg, and tenderloin.
- Cooking Skinless Poultry. The leanest poultry cuts happen to be breasts with no skin.
- Watching the Ground. Ground poultry can have fat equivalent or more than ground beef since it contains dark meat and skin. So, look for ground breast meat or 90% lean ground turkey or chicken.
Vegetables are a staple in any healthy diet, and the keto diet is no exception. They are weight loss friendly due to their low calories and high fiber content that reduce appetite and increase satiety.
Some of the healthiest vegetables to consider include (10):
- Spinach. Spinach is rich in calcium, iron, antioxidants, and vitamins. One cup has only seven calories.
- Kale. Kale provides vitamins C, K, and A. One cup also has seven calories.
- Broccoli. This cruciferous vegetable is highly recommended for weight loss. One cup of chopped broccoli has 31 calories and plenty of iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, calcium, and Vitamins C and K.
- Cauliflower. Cauliflower is rich in fiber, Vitamins C and K, and many more nutrients.
Berries are some of the healthiest and versatile small foods. They are considered superfoods and for a good reason. They are packed with nutrients, making them a nutritional powerhouse. There are several types of berries, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, acai berries, cranberries, goji berries, Aronia berries, and many more (2).
All these berries are rich in nutrients like fiber, potassium, vitamins C, K, and so forth.
These nutrients yield several health benefits, including (2):
- Reduced Cancer Risk. Berries have antioxidants that help reduce cell damage from free radicals that can cause chronic disease.
- Improved Eye Health. The antioxidants in berries also help in reducing the risk of eye problems like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
- Reduced Blood Sugar. Research shows that eating berries can help reduce blood sugar and prevent it from spiking, which has severe health effects. It also helps your body respond better to insulin, which helps your body control blood sugar.
- Better Heart Health. The fiber in berries helps reduce harmful cholesterol (LDL) levels that increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Weight Loss. Berries are added to weight loss diet plans due to their high fiber content that helps slow down digestion and increase satiety.
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We are closing our list of the top ten keto foods with coconut oil, one of the most popular healthy oils. While high in saturated fat, it is thought to be healthier than the type of saturated fat found in animal fats.
It is obtained from the nut of the coconut palm and has numerous benefits, some of which include (11):
- Weight Loss. Some believe that coconut oil can help with weight loss because it has a high content of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are processed differently by the body than other types of fat.
- Reduced Stress. Virgin coconut oil has been found to have antioxidant properties that help reduce stress and depression.
- Healthy Hair and Skin. Applying the oil to your skin may enhance its protective barrier and benefit it from its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps your hair by increasing shine and protecting it from damage.
The Bottom Line
A keto diet is rich in healthy fats, low in carbs, and moderate in proteins. Some of the top ten keto foods that you can have are vegetables, meat, cheese, avocado, eggs, salmon, berries, nuts and seeds, olive and coconut oil. There are so many recipes for these foods. But please talk to your nutritionist before you consider them or make any dietary changes.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 9 Seeds You Should Be Eating (2021, webmd.com)
- Berries and Their Benefits (2020, webmd.com)
- Cheese: Are There Health Benefits? (2020, webmd.com)
- Everything you need to know about avocado (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Everything you need to know about eggs (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- How meat and poultry fit in your healthy diet (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- The Health Benefits of Salmon (2021, webmd.com)
- What are the health benefits of olive oil? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the most healthful nuts you can eat? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the most healthful vegetables? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about coconut oil (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why is the keto diet good for you? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)