People who go into a ketogenic diet are only allowed a carbohydrate intake of 20 to 50 grams daily. Although this can limit the foods you can eat, there are still some healthy and nutritious foods available for people on a ketogenic diet.
Here’s 10 keto-friendly foods:
1. Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry are considered primary keto-friendly foods.
Fresh meat and poultry are rich in B complex vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, selenium, and potassium. They also do not contain any carbs [R].
It can even be good for your heart. One study found that older women who have a high-fat meat intake had 8% higher HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol levels than those who are on a high-carb, low-fat diet [R].
When choosing meat, it is best to go for the grass-fed animals rather than the grain-fed ones because they contain increased amounts of antioxidants, conjugated linoleic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids [R].
2. Shrimp, Crab, and Fish
Fish, such as salmon, are rich in B complex vitamins, selenium, and potassium. Fish, along with crabs and shrimps, contain little to no carbs [R].
Fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon, are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. In overweight and obese individuals, omega-3s are shown to reduce insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity [R].
Eggs are a great keto-friendly food because it only contains less than a gram of carbs and about 6 grams of protein [R].
Egg yolks are known to be rich in cholesterol, but for most people, consuming them does not result in increased blood cholesterol levels. Eggs are even shown to reshape LDL cholesterol to reduce cardiovascular disease risk [R].
An ounce or 28 grams of cheddar cheese contains 1 gram of carbohydrates, 7 grams of protein, and about 20% of the recommended daily intake for calcium [R].
In a study with older adults, it was found that daily consumption of 210 grams of ricotta cheese resulted in increased muscle strength and mass over 12 weeks [R].
5. Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are thin and gel-like noodles that consist mainly of water, fewer than 1 gram of carbs, and 5 calories per serving.
Its high water content is due to its glucomannan component, which is a dietary fiber that can soak up water up to 50 times its weight [R].
Shirataki noodles are great for losing weight and managing diabetes because it can help reduce hunger and sudden increases in blood sugar. This is attributed to the gel formed by the fiber, which reduces the movement of food through the digestive tract [R] [R] [R].
6. Nuts and Seeds
An ounce of nuts and seeds contain up to 8 grams of net carbohydrates. They have high fiber content, promote healthy aging, and are good for the heart.
7. Olive Oil and Coconut Oil
Coconut oil increases the body’s ketone levels and has been found useful for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and brain and nervous system illnesses [R].
Additionally, olive oil is rich in a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid that studies have shown to lower the risk for heart disease [R]. If you get the extra virgin olive oil, you will get extra antioxidants called phenols [R] [R]. Phenols are chemical compounds that reduce inflammation and enhance artery function and structure, thereby boosting heart health [R].
Half of a medium-sized avocado is roughly 100 grams, which contains 9 grams of carbohydrates, of which 7 grams is fiber. This leaves only 2 grams of net carbs [R].
Avocados are considered a superfood because of its high vitamins and minerals content. It is rich in potassium, which a lot of people lack. Consuming high amounts of potassium is also shown to be helpful in easily transitioning to a ketogenic diet [R] [R].
A study shows that high avocado consumption resulted in a reduction of LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides by 22% and an increase of good or HDL cholesterol by 11%. This is attributed to the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados [R].
9. Low-Carb Vegetables
The best keto-friendly and low-carb vegetables are artichokes, bell peppers, mushroom, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, green beans, lettuce, kale, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, brussels sprouts, radishes, eggplant, and cabbage [R].
10. Unsweetened Tea or Coffee
Since sugar is not keto-friendly, tea or coffee should be consumed unsweetened. Both beverages have been found to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. People who have the most coffee or tea consumption have the lowest diabetes risk [R] [R].