These foods improve immunity and nourish the body rather than merely filling the stomach and tickling the tastebuds. I call these foods Keto Power Foods. Also, keep in mind that when I’m speaking about the best keto foods I refer to them as being real food, locally produced and fresh.
The most nutrient-dense, ant-oxidant dense and high-quality natural food all fall part of the Keto Diet. In this post I will show you why you need to try and get at least one of these Powerfoods into you daily diet. In fact, the more the merrier … or shall I say healthier.
KETO POWER FOODS: FATS
BUTTER / GHEE
You have probably heard that butter clog your arteries and that something like margarine is much safer and better to use? Nothing could be further from the truth! Butter cannot clog your arteries as it emulsified and digested in the body and use them as fuel. There is no biological way for butter to migrate straight to your arteries. And by the way fat can not turn to fat, but sugar is turned to fat.
What about weight gain and heart disease? Margarine is more likely to do that than butter. Perhaps the problem is not the butter, but the jam and bread that goes with the butter.
Here are a few more reasons to be excited about butter:
- It is high in antioxidants such as Vitamin A vitamin E and selenium
- Butter contains the highest amount of CLA ( conjugated linolenic acid) of any foods. CLA boosts immunity and help keep cholesterol levels in check.
- Butter is a carrier of the vital vitamin K rich is heart and Bone protective
- It supports the thyroid and adrenal glands
- It gives protection against tooth decay
- It is an excellent source of iodine needed by the thyroid
- Butter contains an anti-carcinogenic short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid which has a positive impact on the immune system while inhibiting the growth of breast tumours as well as cancers of the lungs, skin and colon
- Special fatty acids in butter protect the intestines especially in infants and the elderly
The difference between ghee and butter is not just in the fact that ghee tastes much better when cooking, but also that these two dairy products are also quite different when it comes to its chemistry. Grass-fed cow ghee contains vitamins A, K, D and E and loads of antioxidants. In butter, only vitamin D and vitamin E is found with lower amounts of Vitamin A. In comparison to grass-fed butter with grass-fed ghee (*), ghee contains more fats and a slightly higher amount of calorie (ghee offers 13g of fat and 117 calories, whereas butter contains 11g fat and 100 calories in one tablespoon).Ghee contains even more good quality fatty acids, CLA, and butyrate that butter. From the aspect of food chemistry, ghee amplifies all the nice benefits that we get from butter. If you can afford the slightly higher price tag, I recommend using ghee. I buy mine from Woolies, and it is about double the price of butter. Truth is, butter and ghee is truely one of the best keto foods… especially with coffee…
KETO POWER FOODS: VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil has a host of benefits thast gives it a place on the best keto foods list, these include:
- Coconut oil contents lyric, capric, and caprylic acid that has antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
- It regulates your metabolism and helps with weight loss
- Coconut oil can boost your immunity and improve your skin quality
- It improves cholesterol levels and offers dental protection
- Coconut oil can increase bone strength
- Coconut oil has also shown to relieve high blood pressure and diabetes
- There are even studies showing how coconut oil helps with reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s
As with eggs never buy cheap coconut oil; ideally, you want organic coconut oil, it should be packaged in a glass container, and it should be Virgin or Extra Virgin.
KETO POWER FOODS: COCONUT MILK / CREAM
When buying coconut milk, forget about the low-fat kind and get the full-fat variety.
Coconut milk is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which is an excellent fuel source and can enhance athletic performance.
It also makes for an excellent substitute for anything diary, so instead of using cream or other dairies in your tea or coffee, you can go for coconut cream or milk.
KETO POWER FOODS: MEATS
FREE RANGE ANIMAL MEAT
When you think of meat as keto foods, eat free-range, pasture-fed proteins whenever possible, for the following reasons:
- Free-range meats are high in nutrient levels and they lack hormones and antibiotics
- Free-range meat has extra vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C
- It contains high levels of healthy fats like omega-3 and CLA. ( CLA can be one of the best defences we can use against cancer – studies show that women with high levels of CLA had a 60% lower risk of breast cancer)
Organ meat packs the most punch of all the meats within our Powerfood group. It is by far the best and most nutrition part of any animal. Organ meats include kidneys, liver, and the heart. All of these having high concentrations of Vitamin A, D, E and K. We also know that liver is very high in vitamin D. Organ meat is also packed with essential fatty acids and makes for an outstanding nutritional source for the brain. However, like with any other meat, make sure that you go for organic or pasture-fed organ meat.
Liver is probably the most nutrient-dense of all organ meats. Liver is packed with vitamin B12 and a great source of coenzyme Q10; both being important for your brain and heart health.
The best way to prepare and eat organ meat is to make sausages. When you ask your butcher to make you organ sausages make sure to tell him that he must avoid MSG, wheat, soy, maize, rusk and other nasty ingredients.
What makes salmon a Powerfood is that it is packed with protective Omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. These fatty acids are vital for healthy brain function and also assists in protecting the heart while being a potent anti-inflammatory. These essential fatty acids occur naturally in fatty fish but are the highest in salmon. Unfortunately, the human body is unable to produce these vital essential fats, it can also not be converted from other forms of omega-3 found in plants. Which means you either need to eat a lot of salmon or supplement with a quality omega-3 supplement high in EPA and DHA. Salmon is also packed with minerals such as potassium, selenium and vitamin B12, which is known for its protection against high blood pressure. Science now proposes that these essential fats are protective against the variety of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, asthma, depression, diabetes, hypertension, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
KETO POWER FOODS: EGGS
KETO POWER FOODS: EGGS
Eggs are probably one of the best and most nutritious keto foods on the planet being packed with vitamin A, B, D3, E & K, folate, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and selenium. Eggs are also a fantastic and inexpensive source of animal protein.
The two most essential nutrients in eggs are called biotin and choline:
Biotin is found in the egg whites and is used to turn what you eat into energy. Choline, on the other hand, has two main functions; one is to transport cholesterol through the bloodstream, and the second is that it is instrumental in building healthy brain cells. It does this by building healthy cell membranes, and it plays a vital role in producing signalling molecules in the brain. It is also essential in treating and preventing fatty liver disease while assisting in keeping our eyes, brain and liver healthy. Sadly most people are undernourished when it comes to choline, especially kids, where choline can be vital for their brain development.
KETO POWER FOODS: VEGGIES
Avocados are high in folate, magnesium, potassium, lutein, and fibre. Avocados are also rich in vitamin A, C, E, K and all the vitamin B groups. If you are ever pressed for time, grab an avo and a boiled egg, and you’re good to go.
Garlic is well-known for its medicinal properties. Garlic is great for flavouring food, but it also boasts high amounts of vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, vitamin C and fibre. What you probably did not know about garlic is its powerful ability to remove heavy metals from the body, thereby protecting the body against organ damage from metal toxicity.
Broccoli needs no introduction as the king of the cruciferous veggies. It’s well known for its high levels of sulforaphane, that is also found in all green leafy vegetables. Broccoli sprouts have the highest levels of sulforaphane. Broccoli contains an essential antioxidant called indole-3-carbinol, which help prevent cancers of the cervix, breasts and prostate while also boosting liver function. Sulforaphane also reduces the production of damaging enzymes that destroyed cartilage that causes arthritis and joint pain. Most green leafy vegetables like broccoli also contain kaempferol, which reduces allergies and inflammation. Broccoli has the ability to detoxify the liver as it holds special detoxifying nutrients. Unfortunately, most of these beneficial nutrients get destroyed if it’s cooked too long. To derive the maximum benefit from broccoli steam it for only 90 seconds.
Cauliflower contains phytochemicals with power anti-carcinogenic properties. It is also suggested that is phytochemicals interact with oestrogen in a way to prevent hormone-driven cancers. Cauliflower is high in fibre and is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is an all-time staple of any low-carb diet.
There is a perfect reason why Popeye preferred spinach. Spinach can help with constipation and flush toxins from the colon while protecting the mucous lining of the stomach. Baby leaves are the tastiest. But keep in mind that spinach needs to be cooked as the body is unable to break down the nutrients in raw spinach fully.
KETO POWER FOODS: KALE AND SWISS CHARD
Kale is one of the few leafy greens you can eat raw. Kyle provides an excellent low-calorie alternative that is high in folate vitamin C and calcium and contains many different flavonoids and carotenoids. An interesting fact is that swiss chard has double the nutrients as kale.
KETO POWER FOODS: OTHER
Bone broth is made from boiling animal bones for an extended time while adding vegetables and herbs, and after that straining out the solids. Bone broth is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids and was often used in the old days as medical therapy for various diseases. Bone broth can reduce inflammatory conditions infections, it can boost your immunity, it will improve bone health, and it will heal your gut. Due to the high levels of collagen, bone broth can strengthen your skin, your hair, your nails, and your bones. It is really a very cost-effective, anti-ageing, magic potion. I usually buy a bag full of animal bones (usually beef) from my preferred butcher over the weekend and let it simmer overnight in my slow cooker. This gives us enough bone broth for two servings a day for the whole family. Check out my bone broth recipe by clicking here.
Turmeric not only taste good but it is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and it has anti-ageing properties. By reducing the accumulation of toxins and pathogens in the gut, one can significantly reduce the risk of bowel cancer. Turmeric is also known to reduce cholesterol joint inflammation and treat arthritis. Unfortunately, the turmeric we buy on the shelf might not be the same potency as what it was years ago. Fortunately one can supplement with Curcumin. High bioactive Curcumin has shown to be very effective in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases like allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, coeliac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.
POWER FOODS THAT REDUCES INFLAMMATION
Most overweight people suffer from increased inflammation Inflammation is a root cause of several diseases. To reduce inflammation will also help a lot with reducing your weight. The following foods are the best in keeping inflammation at bay:
- Avocados have a number of phytosterols and other inflammatory nutrients
- As mentioned, salmon and other oily fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful inhibitor against inflammation. You should regularly eat fatty fish like salmon. However, if you don’t, you can supplement using high-quality omega-3 fish oil supplements. Please do not use flaxseed oil as it is nothing like the fats found in fish.
- Blueberries are packed with phytonutrients that can prevent and reduce inflammation.
- Turmeric’s active ingredient is called curcumin, which blocks the enzymatic activity that triggers inflammation.
- Ginger is related to turmeric and contains compounds called gingerols which has potent anti-inflammatory properties
- Fermented foods use beneficial bacteria that is excellent at improving digestive health.