10 Healthy Keto Fats
Not all fats are created equal. When you’re following the keto diet, the benefits of ketosis come from its focus on getting the majority of your calories from high-quality fats. Here is a keto fats list of ten favorite fats that keep us healthy, full, and loving the keto lifestyle.
The mighty avocado is a keto dieter’s dream food. Filled with hearth healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium to help you get through the keto flu. What’s more, these keto-friendly fruits are also good sources of fiber and antioxidants, which help contribute to keto’s overall anti-inflammatory mode of operation. Avocados have a great, creamy texture that’s perfect in smoothies and desserts, as well as in salads and soups. With the avocado, the options are endless!
Ghee, a type of butter that has been heated to remove milk fats and water, is a denser, healthier version of butter. It has fat-soluble vitamins and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda (a form of traditional Indian healing) to help decrease inflammation and promote health. Research shows that Ayurvedic doctors had it right: The short- and medium-chain fatty acids in ghee are associated with fat loss and heart health, as well as improved digestion and gut health.
When choosing ghee, and any other dairy product, make sure it comes from grass-fed cows. Ghee is excellent for sautéing veggies and grilling proteins. It adds a nutty flavor to your food.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, but unlike animal-based saturated fats, it’s about 50 percent medium-chain fats that our bodies tend to turn into fat-burning fuel quickly. Studies show that coconut oil improves high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels and helps fight bacteria that cause infections. Like ghee, coconut oil is great for grilling and frying and adds flavor to your foods.
The powerhouse of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is known for its heart-healthy MUFAs. Olive oil helps to decrease blood pressure and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke, while helping you maintain a healthy weight. Plus, it contains a whopping 75 percent of your daily value of both vitamins E and K. Olive oil is chock-full of antioxidants that may help decrease your risk of inflammatory disease like Alzheimer’s.
Choose extra virgin oil, which retains more of its antioxidants and isn’t made with harmful chemicals like refined versions of olive oil. Like coconut oil and ghee, olive oil is excellent for cooking, but it’s also great to use at room temperature (for example, as a base for your salad dressing).
Nuts are an excellent multifunctional keto food, whether eaten raw, roasted, or lightly salted. In addition to consisting of 65 percent MUFAs, almonds are high in magnesium and manganese, as well as being a good source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants like vitamin E. Almonds are great as snacks, added to salads and soups, or pulverized to make a keto-friendly flour. Plus, almonds are a low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat food (exactly like keto overall) and will keep you satisfied while you’re on the run. There’s no reason not to reach for a handful of almonds!
Like almonds, meat is an excellent source of fat and protein that’s very satisfying. However, not all beef is the same. Cows who roam freely and eat grass, rather than processed corn (which is the typical feed for factory-made beef), produce more omega-3s, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and MUFAs, significantly improving the quality of their meat. Besides, grass-fed beef is usually organic, meaning the cows aren’t fed harmful antibiotics or hormones to increase their yield.
Grass-fed beef may be more expensive and harder to find, but it’s worth the cost and effort. Find a local farmer’s market if grocery stores near you don’t carry grass-fed beef.
Medium-chain triglyceride oils
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils are the basis for most of coconut oil’s many benefits. Medium-chain fats are easier to digest than other types of saturated fat and are burned more quickly as fuel. MCT oils help improve your cholesterol levels and may help block the rise of ghrelin (the appetite-stimulating hormone that typically rises in people who go on diets). Also, MCT oils help combat constipation and are a great way to kick-start ketosis.
MCT oil is a useful supplement to help get back in ketosis for those who choose the cyclical ketogenic diet. Remember, however, that your digestive system needs to adapt to significant dietary changes, and overloading your system with MCTs may cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. Gradually incorporate more healthy oils into your diet, and you’ll be fine.
Fatty fish includes great options like mackerel, salmon, trout, and canned varieties like sardines and anchovies. Oily fish are known for heart health benefits because of their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also excellent sources of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D, and studies show that people who eat higher amounts of fish tend to have a lower rate of age-related memory problems. Some people are concerned about eating fish because of high mercury levels, but fatty fish are generally low in that toxin.
Although fish is tremendously healthy, there are some health risks that come with consuming too much. Many saltwater fish contain traces of mercury, which is fine in minute amounts because your body can flush it out of its system. Over a long time, however, eating large amounts of fish can cause mercury to slowly build up in your system until it reaches toxic levels. Experts recommend that you limit your weekly fish consumption to 8 to 12 ounces to avoid any potential complications.
Hemp seeds are a great addition to a keto-friendly diet. These nuts from the hemp plant — with little to none of the active substance in marijuana — have a higher protein content than either chia seeds or flaxseeds. In addition to the fat, they’re also rich in many minerals, such as zinc and magnesium, that are important to the keto lifestyle. Like ghee in India, hemp seeds have also been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, and for good reason. Studies show that nutrients found in them help decrease heart disease. Hemp seeds can be added to salads or keto-friendly desserts or just eaten as an on-the-go snack.
Like nuts, nut butters are a great addition to the keto diet. They’re an excellent dip for your low-carb veggies, and they can be used to make a high-fat, moderate-protein marinade or as an alternate ingredient for keto desserts. When you’re shopping, pay attention to the labels, and only purchase options that have peanuts and salt as ingredients; many common brands include partially hydrogenated oils and copious amounts of sugar, although plenty of all-natural options exist.
Make sure to choose options like almond butter, tahini, or peanut butter due to their low carb content. Some nut butters (and nuts) are higher in carbs than others — for example, both almond butter and peanut butter have fewer carbs per serving than cashew butter.