Here are the best foods to follow the ketogenic diet, great for losing weight and preventing various diseases
The highest fiber vegetables
The ketogenic diet is a diet that involves the intake of foods low in carbohydrates and high in fat. It has become very popular in recent years, this diet seems to be very effective in helping us lose weight and in preventing some important diseases.
Research published in Nutrients has highlighted, for example, its role in fighting obesity and diabetes, while its antitumor and preventive action against Alzheimer's disease is still being studied, for which there is already some evidence to support. The ketogenic diet provides for a very limited intake of carbohydrates, in the order of 20-50 grams per day. So what are the best foods to introduce into our diet to take advantage of the benefits of this diet?
Fish and seafood
Fish and seafood are rich in many important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, while they are low in carbohydrates. The consumption of these foods is linked to many benefits for our health: fatty fish, for example, contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which play a fundamental role in increasing insulin sensitivity, as demonstrated by one study published in Nature.
As for seafood and crustaceans, some of them (such as crabs and shrimps) are practically free of carbohydrates, while others have a very small amount.
Vegetables are among the foods richest in fiber ever, but these are not considered as real carbohydrates in a ketogenic diet, because they are not absorbed by our body. The important distinction to be made on the vegetable front therefore concerns the presence or absence of starch, of which, for example, potatoes are rich. In order not to exceed the daily intake of carbohydrates, it is much better to focus on non-starchy vegetables.
Among these, we can mainly include green leafy vegetables, bulbs and cruciferous vegetables. Their content of important nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that are precious for our well-being, make them perfect foods to bring to the table, to lose weight and stay fit.
Particularly high in fat, cheeses are perfect for the ketogenic diet. Contrary to popular belief, some studies have shown how these foods can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Furthermore, their calcium content protects against loss of bone density and protects against the risk of osteoporosis.
Among the cheeses with a lower carbohydrate content, we list (by way of example only) mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, feta, cottage cheese and goat cheese.
There are many beneficial properties of avocado, a fruit rich in vitamins and minerals that can protect the heart and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Its carbohydrate intake is mainly due to its high fiber content, which, as we have seen, are not considered as such with regard to the ketogenic diet.
In addition, avocado has excellent amounts of potassium, which a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism has shown to facilitate the transition from a common diet to one that is low in carbohydrates.
White and red meats
The basis of a ketogenic diet is undoubtedly meat: rich in high quality proteins and other important nutrients, it does not provide carbohydrates. Whether it is white or red meats, they have great benefits on the musculoskeletal system – their proteins help to preserve muscle mass.
A study conducted on some women with menopausal weight problems has also shown that a diet rich in fatty meat contributes to increasing the levels of “good” cholesterol in the blood, an important substance for cardiovascular health.
Eggs are also an excellent choice for those who want to follow a ketogenic diet: in fact, they have significant amounts of protein and very few carbohydrates. In addition, they are particularly rich in nutrients that contribute to our health. For example, yolk is an important source of antioxidants, which protect against the risk of heart disease and are allies of sight.
Eggs can also help us lose weight: it has been shown that their active consumption of hormones can increase the sense of satiety, thus pushing us to consume fewer calories during the day.
For the purposes of a ketogenic diet, coconut oil has truly unique properties. It is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, fats absorbed by the liver and converted into ketones: this is why it is used in subjects suffering from Alzheimer's or other nervous system disorders.
Lauric acid also appears to promote ketosis, as evidenced by research published in the Journal of Oleo Science. Finally, coconut oil has proved useful for losing weight and reducing abdominal fat, even without making further changes to the diet.
Ideal as a mid-morning snack, Greek yogurt contains low carbohydrates and is an excellent source of protein. Since it helps to increase the sense of satiety and reduce appetite, it is an important ally in our diet to easily lose weight and get back in shape.
Consumed in combination with other ketogenic foods, such as nuts or some spices, it can also be transformed into a complete meal with a very low carbohydrate intake.
An important source of monounsaturated fats, olive oil is an excellent ally for our health. It is rich in oleic acid, which is highly effective in reducing risk factors for heart disease. While its antioxidants, such as phenols, have been found to be useful in fighting inflammation and increasing the elasticity of the arteries.
Since it does not contain carbohydrates, olive oil can be used as a condiment for those who follow a ketogenic diet, both raw and used for cooking at low temperatures.
Dried fruit provides a large amount of beneficial substances, and nuts in particular are high in fat and low in carbohydrates. These foods are a real panacea for the heart, but they also have a protective action against some chronic diseases and appear to have anticancer efficacy, in particular against certain types of cancer.
Walnuts are also rich in fiber, which increase the sense of satiety and therefore reduce the calorie intake. In addition, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play a very important role in the cardiovascular system.
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries: these delicious fruits are united by an important amount of antioxidants that they bring to the body, thus counteracting the formation of free radicals and oxidative stress, responsible for various chronic diseases.
The berries are also low in carbohydrates, with the exception of the very important fibers: these substances promote intestinal well-being and reduce the sense of hunger.
Butter and cream
Butter and cream contain very few carbohydrates, so they can fully fit into a ketogenic diet. But are they really recommended for our health? For a long time these foods have been demonized because they are rich in saturated fat. But several studies have shown that these substances are not related to an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Conversely, some research has shown that moderate consumption of high-fat dairy products can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. So green light for butter and cream, as long as you don't overdo the portions.
Have you ever heard about it? Shirataki noodles come from Japan and belong to a millenary culinary tradition: gluten-free and low in calories, they are very light and help you lose weight without having to give up on taste. Their secret is all in the presence of viscous fibers, especially glucomannan.
The viscous fibers, diluted in water, form a real gel that increases the sense of satiety, while helping to reduce blood sugar levels. For this reason, Shirataki noodles are an excellent ally in preventing ailments such as diabetes.
Like olive oil, olives also have important benefits for our body. For example, they are rich in antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties, such as oleuropein. However, they are still awaiting further scientific evidence of their ability to prevent bone loss and reduce blood pressure.
Depending on the variety, olives contain different amounts of carbohydrates. However, most of them are fibers, which play a fundamental role in helping us lose weight.
Coffee and tea (unsweetened) are carbohydrate-free drinks, which however have significant health-promoting properties. Caffeine stimulates metabolism and improves mood, as well as giving us the right sprint to start the day. Some studies have also shown that its consumption decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The ketogenic diet allows for some small treats such as dark chocolate. It is rich in antioxidants, such as flavanols, which have important effects on our body: they lower blood pressure, keep arteries in shape and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Also in this case, the key word is moderation: a square of dark chocolate – as long as it contains at least 70% cocoa, it can become a real panacea.