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The Best Foods for Keto

The keto flu is a group of symptoms that affects a person when they first start the keto diet.

Symptoms of the keto flu are similar to the flu. They result from the body’s attempt to adapt to this new diet with minimal carbs.

When you reduce your carb intake, you force your body to switch to ketones for energy rather than glucose.

Ketones are formed from the breakdown of fats and serve as the main fuel source when you switch to a ketogenic diet.

Normally, fat serves as a secondary source of fuel and is used only in the absence of glucose.

The process by which fat is burnt for energy is called ketosis. Ketosis happens during specific conditions, such as fasting and starvation.

The drastic reduction in carb intake (which is the hallmark of the ketogenic diet) “shocks” the body and may trigger withdrawal-like symptoms, similar to what you may experience when you are weaning off caffeine or any other addictive substance.

Symptoms of the keto flu include:

· Sugar cravings

· Nausea

· Vomiting

· Irritability

· Diarrhea

· Headache

· Dizziness

· Poor concentration

· Muscle cramps

· Stomach pain

· Difficulty sleeping

· Muscle soreness

Now, let’s consider some healthy foods that you can include on your ketogenic diet plan.



1. Seafood

Shellfish and fish are great keto foods. Fish like salmon contains plenty of B vitamins, selenium, and potassium. Surprisingly, they’re carb-free.

It is important to note that the carbs in shellfish vary. You know there are different types of shellfish. For example, there are almost no carbs in most crabs and shrimp, but other kinds of shellfish contain it (4, 5).

Although these shellfish can be included on a keto diet, accounting for these carbs is necessary, especially when trying to maintain a narrow range.

Fatty fish like mackerel, sardines, and salmon are rich in omega-3 fats. Studies have shown that Omega-3 fats lower insulin levels and boost insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people (6).

Fish intake also decreases the risk of ill health and improves cognitive health (6, 7).

According to the American Heart Association, humans should eat at least 1 to 2 seafood meals every week (8).



2. Low-carb vegetables

Low-carb vegetables are veggies that are low in carbs and calories. They are usually non-starchy but contain lots of other nutrients, like vitamin C.

Vegetables contain fiber. The human body does not digest fiber nor absorb them. It is therefore important that you consider the digestible carb count of these vegetables. The digestible carb count is the total carb content minus the fiber.

Vegetables contain antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the body from the damaging effect of free radicals. Free radicals are volatile molecules that can cause damage to your body cells (9, 10).

Also, studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer (11, 12).


Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

Examples of vegetables that fit into a keto diet meal plan include:

· Broccoli

· Asparagus

· Avocado

· Cabbage

· Eggplant

· Cucumber

· Cauliflower

· Zucchini

· Lettuce

· Kale

· Tomatoes

· Spinach

· Green pepper

· Olives



3. Avocados

Avocados are a healthy source of the nutrient. For example, 100 grams of avocado (approximately 3.5 ounces) contain no less than 9g of carbs.

Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

However, of the 9g of carbs, about 7 are fiber, so the net carb count for avocado is just 2 grams.

Avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain a lot of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that many people are deficient in. It is important to note that a higher potassium intake makes it easier to transition to a ketogenic diet (13).

What’s more, avocados also improve triglyceride and cholesterol levels. A particular study found that people who ate one avocado per day experienced improvements in their cardiometabolic risk factors, including decreased LDL cholesterol levels (14).


4. Meat and poultry

Poultry and meat are staple keto foods.

Fresh poultry and meat do not contain any carbs. Also, they are rich in B vitamins and other minerals (15).

They are also rich in high-quality protein, and protein preserves muscle mass when you’re on a low-carb diet (16, 17).

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a fatty meat diet improved HDL cholesterol levels by 5% compared with those on a low-fat, high-carb diet (18).

Your best choice would be grass-fed meat. Pasture-raised animals produce meat rich in omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and conjugated linoleic acid than meat from grain-fed animals (19).



5. Eggs

Eggs are very healthy and versatile. One egg contains less than one gram of carbs and up to 6 grams of protein. This makes it great and ideal for the keto diet.

Also, studies have shown that eggs trigger satiety hormones (20, 21).

When eating an egg, do well to eat the whole egg. Most of its nutrients are contained in the yolk, including lutein and zeaxanthin (22).

Let me mention this, while eggs may contain a lot of cholesterol, eating them doesn’t raise your blood’s cholesterol level. On the contrary, eggs are known to modify LDL cholesterol particles, thus reducing your risk of heart disease (23).


6. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has many properties that make it suitable for a keto diet.

It is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Your liver can take up MCTs directly, unlike long-chain fats. It is also capable of converting these MCTs into ketones.

Studies have shown that coconut oil helps increase ketone levels in Alzheimer patients and people with other nervous and brain diseases (24).

The primary fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid. Studies suggest that the lauric acid and MCTs combo in coconut oil promote sustains ketosis in the body (25, 26).

It is also worth mentioning that coconut oil promotes weight loss and loss of belly fat in obese adults.


7. Olive oil

Olive oil is great for the heart.

It contains a lot of oleic acids. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat that decreases the risk of heart disease (27, 28).

It is also worth knowing that extra-virgin olive oil contains phenols. Phenols are a group of antioxidants that protects the heart by decreasing inflammation. They also improve artery function (29, 30).

Olive oil is a source of pure fat; as such, it doesn’t contain any carbs. Therefore, it is excellent when used as a base for salad dressings.

However, olive oil is not stable at high temperatures. As such, it should be used for low-heat cooking or added to already cooked food.

Other foods that can be included on the ketogenic diet meal plan include:

· Nuts and seeds

· Berries

· Cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt


Summary

A ketogenic diet helps a person to achieve efficient blood sugar management, weight loss goals, and other goals that are related to health.

The ketogenic diet contains a wide range of tasty, nutritious, and versatile foods that helps you maintain your carb range.

Regular consumption of ketogenic foods is recommended.


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