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The growing popularity of the ketogenic or “Keto” diet is due in large part to its possible benefits for weight loss and blood sugar control. It is a dietary guideline that focuses on strong carbohydrate restriction and high fat intake, which has also been linked to benefits for treating certain types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions. However, according to experts, higher quality research is still needed to determine its long-term safety and efficacy. The ketogenic diet generally limits carbohydrates to 20 to 50 grams per day. And there are different ways to handle it: While some people count total carbohydrate intake, others focus on counting net carbs, which is total carbs minus fiber. This is because fiber is indigestible, so your body cannot break it down or absorb it. The truth is that although it is one of the most fashionable diets, the reality is that it can seem like a challenge. The good news? Believe it or not, it allows the consumption of many nutritious foods.
Taking into account that today the National Keto Diet Day, we set out to compile the top 10 of the fundamental foods that will ease the way. They are also satisfying, healthy, and associated with other health benefits.
1. Fish and shellfish
In general, animal proteins are a Essential dietary supplement in the keto diet, as they are a generous and satiating macronutrient. The consumption of fish and shellfish is specifically recommended, in fact salmon and other fish not only contain almost no carbohydrates, but are also rich in B vitamins, potassium and selenium. However, the carbohydrate count in shellfish varies by type: while shrimp and most crabs contain no carbohydrates, oysters and octopus do. Also, salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish are very high in omega-3 fats, which have been associated with lower insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivitya in overweight and obese people. To make matters worse, frequent fish intake is linked to better brain health and a lower risk of disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating 1 to 2 seafood meals per week.
2. Meat and poultry
Another of the most important animal-based proteins on the keto diet and which are in fact considered staples of this plan, are meat and poultry. The main reason is that they do not contain carbohydrates and are rich in B vitamins and several important minerals. They are also a great source of high-quality protein, which can help preserve muscle mass during a very low-carb diet. Going on grass-fed meats is recommended, if possible, as it has more omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed meat.
Eggs are simply one of the healthiest and most essential foods in any balanced diet, in particular they are an exceptional source of protein. Because each large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrates and about 6 grams of protein, they are ideal to integrate into any ketogenic diet. Additionally, eggs have been shown to have the ability to activate hormones that increase feelings of fullness. It is important to eat whole eggs rather than egg whites, as most of the nutrients in an egg are found in the yolk. Among the main ones are antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the health of the eyes.
4. Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are healthy and high-protein foods. While they do contain some carbohydrates, They are a good supplement to cautiously integrate into the Keto diet and give it versatility. Both yogurt and cottage cheese have been shown to help decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness. In addition, they are a delicious snack and snack on their own, you can also combine them with chopped nuts, cinnamon or other spices to make a quick, healthy and delicious keto snack.
5. Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are extremely low in carbohydrates, which makes them great for the ketogenic diet. They are also rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.. And they are very filling and low in calories, therefore they are perfect for hunger attacks. In particular, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and kale are packed with vitamin K and iron. Greens add bulk to meals without dramatically increasing your carb count. Plus, herbs like oregano and rosemary add ample carb-free flavor. Among the most recommended are the following variants: Salad leaves; lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, escarole and frisee – Vegetables for cooking; Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, spinach, chard, and cabbage – Herbs; thyme, sage, mint, oregano, dill, parsley, coriander, basil, rosemary, and lemongrass.
There are numerous varieties of bell peppers and the good news is that they are all suitable for the ketogenic diet. Although they are technically fruits, they are treated like vegetables when cooked. Hot peppers can be added as spices in recipes, and jalapenos are great for making appetizers, sauces, and main dishes. Larger, milder peppers, such as bell peppers and poblano peppers, are recommended in all types of dishes or stuffed to make tasty low-carb entrees. Peppers are also a rich source of vitamin C: one bell pepper provides 107% of the daily value for vitamin C.
7. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are healthy, high in fat, and low in carbohydrates. Frequent intake of walnuts is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression, and other chronic diseases. Plus, they’re filling because they’re high in fiber, which can help you feel full and naturally reduce your calorie intake. Although most nuts and seeds are low in net carbs, the amount varies greatly depending on the type. The lowest in carbohydrates, and therefore the best for the keto diet, are variants such as: almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
Most fruits are too high in carbohydrates to eat on the ketogenic diet and this can be a handicap for many people who cannot live without the freshness and sweet taste of fruits. The good news is that berries are an exception. Berries, particularly raspberries and strawberries, are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. While blackberries and blueberries are lower in carbohydrates than some other fruits, they may not fit into strict ketogenic diet schemes in some cases. Additionally, these little fruits are loaded with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and help protect against disease.
9. Olive oil
Olive oil is one of the best sources of healthy fats in any diet, but especially in ketogenic plans. And specifically, it provides impressive benefits for the heart.as it is high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been found to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidant polyphenols, plant compounds that further protect heart health by reducing inflammation and improving the function of the arteries. As a pure fat source, olive oil does not contain carbohydrates. It is an ideal base for salad dressings and healthy mayonnaise. Because olive oil is not as stable at high temperatures as saturated fats, it is best to use olive oil for simmering or to add it to dishes after they have been cooked. Other great vegetable oils to try on the keto diet are coconut oil and avocado oil.
10. Coffee and tea without sugar
Coffee and tea are healthy drinks without carbohydrates. They contain caffeine, which increases metabolism and is associated with benefits to improve physical performance, alertness and mood. Furthermore, it has been shown that coffee and tea drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of diabetes. On the keto diet, it is allowed to add heavy cream to coffee or tea, but it is essential to avoid coffee with milk and “light” tea, as they are generally made with skim milk and high carbohydrate flavorings.
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