You’ve likely heard about the keto diet — you may even know someone who has tried it and swears by it. The meal plan is simple enough to follow. Most people eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day, loading up instead on high-fat foods. Without carbs to burn for energy, the body begins using fat — thus helping you lose weight.
There are pros and cons to every one of today’s popular diets, so you should consult with a doctor before deciding to follow keto. However, if you are happily and healthily on a keto plan, read up on the following must-have foods and why you should incorporate them into your daily diet.
Yes, you read that right — cheese does the keto-following body good. Most varieties have the low-carb, high-fat content you need. Plus, cheese has conjugated linoleic acid, a fat that helps balance your body composition and burn fat. To that end, cheese can prevent muscle loss, especially in those who have begun aging.
Fish contains a wealth of feel-good vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and potassium. On top of that, it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce insulin levels. Fish has a known ability to ward off disease and even boost a person’s mental health. Most fish also have zero carbs, although some shellfish do have a handful per serving.
3. Low-Carb Veggies
One mistake people make when it comes to keto is that they forget to incorporate vegetables. Indeed, some believe keto should be a plant-based meal plan so it’s as clean and healthy as possible. As such, low-carb veggies should be a staple of your diet.
Vegetables contain fiber, which negates some of their carb counts — simply subtract the former from the latter to calculate the food’s net carbs. It’s worth a few of your day’s tally to reap the benefits of eating fresh veggies. For starters, they contain antioxidants, which ward off cell damage caused by free radicals in the body. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, can also keep cancer and heart disease at bay.
In just about any eating plan, you will be advised to add eggs to your diet. There are plenty of reasons why — eggs pack a wealth of nutritious elements into a mere 70-calorie food. Regarding keto, eggs have a single carb per serving, but they provide you with 6 grams of protein at the same time. As such, eating an egg makes you feel fuller for longer and keeps blood sugar levels more stable. This makes you feel full for an extended period.
Be sure to eat the entire egg, as the yolk contains most of the nutrients. Zinc, calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, and iron all naturally occur within an egg.
5. Coconut Oil
There’s more to coconut oil than just its tropical scent and slightly sweet flavor. For one thing, it contains medium-chain triglycerides, which the liver uses either to keep the body in ketosis or to burn quickly for energy. In fact, coconut oil has proven fat-fighting power — although it is a source of fat itself. One study showed that people who ate 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day lost an inch from their waistlines on average. They didn’t change anything else about their diets.
6. Nuts and Seeds
Another low-carb, high-fat staple in your keto diet should be nuts. Nuts, like low-carb veggies, contain fiber, which aids in digestion and helps you feel fuller longer. Plus, research has shown nuts to be an effective agent in fighting everything from depression to cancer to heart disease. Be sure to calculate the net carbs before eating nuts or seeds — flaxseeds have zero net carbs, while chia seeds, walnuts, and pecans have one.
7. Butter and Cream
Once upon a time, people avoided high-fat dairy products because they thought their saturated-fat content contributed to heart disease. As it turns out, saturated fat isn’t a factor in this condition — and moderate dairy consumption can reduce a person’s risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Like cheese, these products also contain linoleic acid, which boosts fat loss.
When you need a keto-friendly snack, look no further than olives. They contain oleuropein, an antioxidant that wards off cell damage. Plus, olives can reduce blood pressure and stall bone loss, too. They do contain carbs, but the net carbs will be nominal, since they provide plenty of fiber.
Keep It Keto
With the above eight foods in your arsenal, you’re prepared for a keto diet. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned low-carb, high-fat eater, make sure you’ve got plenty of these bites on hand — they’ll satisfy your cravings and serve you and your body well.