Are you new to keto and wondering which foods you should be eating? The foods I highlight in this blog post are some of my top keto-friendly foods. They are known to improve immunity and be super nutrient-dense. I call it Keto Power Foods.
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 block your arteries as it emulsified and digested in the body and use 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 turns into 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.
The old saying is so true: “Don’t blame the butter for what the bread did.”
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 food. CLA boosts immunity and helps keep cholesterol levels in check.
- Butter is a carrier of the vital vitamin K rich in heart and Bone protection.
- 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 and cancers of the lungs, skin and colon.
- Unique fatty acids in butter protect the intestines, especially in infants and the elderly.
The difference between ghee and butter is that ghee tastes much better when cooking, but also that these two dairy products are also quite different when it comes to their chemistry. Grass-fed cow ghee contains vitamins A, K, D and E and loads of antioxidants. Butter only contains some Vitamin D, E and lower amounts of Vitamin A. Ghee is like butter amplified. Grass-fed butter and grass-fed ghee contain more fats and slightly more calories. Ghee has 13g of fat and 117 calories. Butter, on the other hand, has 11g fat and 100 calories. *Per one tablespoon. Ghee contains even more good quality fatty acids, such as CLA and butyrate. From the aspect of food chemistry, ghee amplifies all the excellent benefits that we get from butter. I love to cook with ghee and buy mine at Woolworths.
KETO POWER FOODS: VIRGIN COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil has a host of benefits that gives it a place on the best keto foods list; these include:
- Coconut oil contains different types of fats called lyric, capric, and caprylic acid. Coconut oil is antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial.
- 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
Never buy cheap coconut oil; ideally, you want organic coconut oil. It should be 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), an excellent fuel source, and studies show it can enhance athletic performance.
Coconut milk is an excellent substitute for anything diary. Instead of using cream, you can simply use coconut cream or milk.
Organ meat packs the most punch of all the meats within our Powerfood group. It is by far the best and most nutritious part of any animal. Organ meats include kidneys, liver, and the heart. All of these have 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 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. The 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 cannot produce these vital essential fats; they can also not be converted from other forms of omega-3 found in plants. This 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 rich in potassium, selenium and vitamin B12, which is known for its protection against high blood pressure. Research shows essential fats are protective against 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
An egg a day keeps the doctor away! Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They are 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 biotin and choline:
Biotin is found in egg whites and essential for energy production.
Choline has two main functions; 1) to transport cholesterol through the bloodstream and 2) building healthy brain cells. Choline helps build healthy cell membranes and plays a vital role in producing signalling molecules in the brain.
Sadly, many people are undernourished when it comes to choline, especially kids. Choline is vital for a young child’s developing brain.
Bonus Tip: Don’t go cheap on your eggs. If you can afford it, buy free-range, pasture-raised eggs. Free-range eggs have 19 times higher essential fatty acids than ordinary supermarket eggs.
Avocado is a superfood. Avos are high in folate, magnesium, potassium, lutein, and fibre. Avocados are also rich in vitamin A, C, E, K, and vitamin B groups.
Tip: If you are pressed for time or don’t know what to eat – grab an avo! Pair your avo with a boiled egg, and you’re good to go.
Garlic is well-known for its medicinal properties. Garlic is excellent for flavouring food, but it also boasts high amounts of vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, vitamin C and fibre. You probably did not know about garlic’s 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, which 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. 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 powerful anti-carcinogenic properties. Phytochemicals interact with oestrogen in a way to prevent hormone-driven cancers.
- Cauliflower is high in fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Cauliflower is the superhero of low-carb diets. This is one of the most popular recipes on my website.
There is a perfect reason why Popeye preferred spinach. Spinach can help with constipation and flush toxins from the colon while protecting the stomach’s mucous lining. Baby leaves are the tastiest. But keep in mind that spinach needs to be cooked as the body cannot break down the nutrients in raw spinach fully.
KETO POWER FOODS: KALE AND SWISS CHARD
Not many people like kale, but these leafy greens are an excellent low-calorie source of folate, vitamin C and calcium. An interesting fact is 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.
Here are some of the benefits of drinking bone broth:
- Can reduce inflammatory conditions,
- Can reduce infections,
- Can boost immunity,
- Can improve bone health, and
- Help to heal your gut.
Due to the high collagen levels, 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 is a spice from the turmeric plant. It has been used in India for hundreds of years for its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties.
The primary active component of turmeric is CurcuminCurcumin. It is known to reduce the accumulation of toxins and pathogens in the gut. Research shows it can significantly reduce the risk of bowel cancer. It can also lower cholesterol and joint inflammation as well as treating arthritis.
Simply drinking turmeric doesn’t cut it. It is better to supplement with a good, quality supplement like this highly bioactive Curcumin.
THE BEST POWER FOODS TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Most overweight people suffer from increased inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of several diseases. If you can reduce inflammation, it will help you lose weight.
These foods can help to lower inflammation:
- Avocados – Rich in phytosterols and other inflammatory nutrients.
- Salmon and other oily fish – rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. A powerful inhibitor against inflammation. Unless you eat salmon regularly, it is best to supplement with high-quality Omega-3 fish oil like this. (Side note: Flaxseed oil is inferior to the fats found in fish).
- Blueberries – packed with phytonutrients that can prevent and reduce inflammation.
- Turmeric – blocks the enzymatic activity that triggers inflammation.
- Ginger – related to turmeric and contains compounds called gingerols which have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
- Fermented foods – promote gut bacteria and improve digestive health.