For those just beginning—or even further along—the journey into the ketogenic diet, finding the right foods can feel challenging. The keto diet, when done properly, has incredible health benefits. The diet can help you lose weight and maintain weight loss, and studies show how it can help fight certain diseases, such as epilepsy, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Regardless of your reason for choosing keto, getting the most out of your diet requires knowing the best keto foods and where to find them.
What is the Keto Diet?
The goal for the keto diet is to help your body achieve ketosis, a metabolic state that allows your body to more efficiently burn fat and turn fat stores into energy. By limiting carb intake (both naturally occurring and processed carbohydrates), our bodies are more likely to achieve ketosis and begin creating ketones, which supply energy. While there are many different ways to approach keto—varying percentages of fat, protein, and carb intake—finding the best keto foods is the first step to establishing a healthy diet.
The Top Keto Foods
One of the biggest struggles in any diet is avoiding processed or prepackaged foods. The same is true of keto. Following a basic food list, but continuing to choose overly processed options from those lists, can inhibit your keto experience. Instead, choosing natural and organic options from the following food groups will significantly improve the benefits that keto has to offer.
This low carb, high-fat food is a great option for keto dieters. Rather than stick to the familiar blocks of sandwich cheese, however, use this opportunity to try new cheeses. Many of the most beneficial cheeses are made with raw milk from grass-fed cows or goats. The raw cheeses have higher levels of healthy bacteria (great for your gut) and cheese from grass-fed animals is higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA has many beneficial antioxidants and may protect against diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Seafood, Poultry, and Meat
While some types of shellfish contain carbs, fish such as salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats, which are most beneficial when found in wild-caught fish, can prevent heart disease and stroke, and help control certain autoimmune diseases. Meat and poultry, especially eggs, make up the foundation of the keto diet. These low carb (or no carb) foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein, an especially important ingredient. Much like cheese and fish, opting for organic or grass-fed options ensures that you are getting the most benefit from your keto diet.
Vegetables are a great way to get your daily vitamins, fiber, and minerals. While starchy vegetables are high in carbs, most leafy greens are very low in net carbs (total carbs minus fiber), with spinach coming in as the best low carb veggie. Other great options for the keto diet include avocados, asparagus, lettuce, cauliflower, tomato, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and bell peppers.
Seeds and Nuts
Nuts serve as a great snack or addition to your keto meal. As one of the best keto foods, it is important to note that not all nuts and have the same low carb count. Chia seeds, flaxseed, Brazil nuts, and pecans have the lowest net carb count. As with any food you add to your keto diet, it is important to note the net carbs and manage your quantities accordingly.
Get the most out of Keto
Choosing the top keto foods will help you get the most out of keto. These high-fat and low carb foods have even more impact on your health when found organic, locally sourced, or at the very least, minimally processed. Keto is a great way to explore whole foods and see how minimizing carbs and increasing healthy fats can positively impact your health. What top keto foods do you love?