The word “keto superfood” gets thrown out a lot, but are they really worthy of being titled as superfoods? After extensive research we came up with this list of the absolute best superfoods that support the ketogenic diet.
Even if you are not on keto, these low carbohydrate, healthy superfoods will provide you the best nutrition known to bioscience.
Nutrient dense foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats, bioavailable complete protein, vitamins, minerals and important micronutrients.
The plant based keto superfoods contain a combination of probiotic bacteria, prebiotic fiber, phytonutrients, flavonoids, polyphenols and antioxidant compounds.
Superfoods have been shown to possibly reduce the risk of heart disease and other negative health and metabolic conditions in documented scientific studies.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”Hippocrates
When coming up with your first keto food grocery list, you have to consider these top keto Superfoods. These are not in any particular order. Now let’s discuss each one individually.
The Super Superfood Natto
This food is utterly amazing, it’s a rarely eaten healthy superfood. Natto blurs the distinction between food and medicine. Natto is a fermented soy product from Northeastern Japan. The bacteria used in the fermentation is called Bacillus subtilis var. natto.
Fermented foods should be a part of your Digestive health diet. They are also keto-friendly because the fermentation process lowers the total carbohydrates. Most of the downsides associated with the keto diet can be avoided by eating the healthiest keto superfoods.
Beef Liver is healthy superfood
It has abundant protein and is a nutrient-dense powerhouse with bioavailable B-complex vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat. If you can find it, look for organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised beef liver.
Liver also contains folic acid, iron, chromium, copper, zinc, and the powerful antioxidant Co-enzyme Q10
Organ meats like liver are particularly beneficial for their bioavailable iron and increasing hemoglobin levels in the blood.
Women especially can benefit from iron. The loose iron during their menstrual cycle.
Be sure to take the antioxidant vitamin C with any foods high in iron as the vitamin C improves iron bioavailability in the body.
Dr. Benjamin Bikman was once asked in an interview if he had to choose just one food to eat if he was stranded on a deserted island and he said beef liver. Dr. Bikman gave organ meats like liver a pretty strong keto superfood recommendations with that answer.
It has loads of fiber and prebiotics, potassium, and is a rich source of glutathione which is the master antioxidant. The average serving size is 6 spears or 1 cup, and it has only about 5 grams of carbohydrates.
Foods that do not have any carbohydrate in them, or are very low, cannot be tested and be given a glycemic index score, so asparagus has a glycemic index of 0. Asparagus also has 2.5 percent of the prebiotics Inulin and oligofructose and can prevent constipation on the Ketogenic Diet.
Asparagus is perfect for eating a low carbohydrate diet. Wrap 3 or 4 asparagus spears in bacon and put them in the oven or better yet, on your smoker, and you have a wonderful low carb meal.
High in healthy, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, and more potassium than a banana. I wrote an entire article on the keto-friendly avocado.
Benefits of Salmon
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Salmon is one of the best sources of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, Protein, B Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium, and contains the antioxidant Astaxanthin.
The best is the king or chinook salmon, it is prized for its high-fat content (omega-3s) and creamy rich flavor. Sockeye salmon is much easier to find. You know it’s sockeye when you see a deep-red flesh. That reddish-pink color is from the astaxanthin and what makes salmon a true keto superfood.
Salmon is a fantastic source of DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for brain development, which they get from eating phytoplankton. DHA is stored in salmon’s fat, and a 4-ounce serving of salmon provides 2,400 mg omega-3s.
Look for wild-caught salmon, many “farms raised” are grown in crowded pens where they are treated with antibiotics and can be infected with parasites.
I like to cook my keto-friendly salmon on low heat with cultured, pasture-raised butter, garlic, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream.
Salmon also contains Astaxanthin and other amazing antioxidants that prevent free radical damage
Kefir (grass-fed, organic, whole milk)
Grass-fed, whole milk Kefir might be the most nutritious superfood on planet earth! Here is a detailed video on how to make Keto Kefir!
Made (fermented) with grass-fed, whole milk. Kefir has 14 times more probiotics strains in it than yogurt and is loaded full of vitamin A and D, K2, CLA, calcium, protein and has acetic acid, which is the acid that makes apple cider vinegar so healthful. During fermentation, the culture eats most of the lactose, so it’s fairly low in carbohydrates.
An international Nobel prize-winning researcher, Elie Metchnikoff (1908) found that kefir activates the flow of saliva, probably due to its lactic acid content and its slight carbonation.
Kefir stimulates peristalsis (pushing food through the colon) and digestive juices in the intestinal tract. It is also highly effective in restoring the intestinal flora of people who have recently used antibiotics.
Kefir is predigested due to the fermentation process which makes itself tolerable to those people with lactose intolerances.
Probiotics like Kefir can have a therapeutic effect on your entire digestive and immune system.
How to make keto kefir (video)
The story of kefir is based on a 2,000-year history and mentioned by Marco Polo. The history of Kefir revolves around the Caucasus mountain region. Any food or drink that has provided health benefits for over 2000 years is a superfood in my book.
The people from the Caucasus Mountains are famed for their extraordinary longevity and many accredit this to their regular consumption of kefir.
Hospitals in the former USSR used kefir to treat conditions ranging from atherosclerosis, allergic disease, metabolic and digestive disorders, tuberculosis, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders.
You can buy them on Amazon here
Be advised there are two different kinds. There are cultures and grains. The cultures only last for a limited time, but the grains can last forever.
I highly advise fermenting your own milk and using the grains over and over again.
The grains grow and expand and after a few weeks, you can give some excess grains to friends and family to ferment their own milk.
Kefir is a highly recommended addition to a healthy pregnancy diet because of the probiotics and whey protein content.
Greens, in general, are amazingly healthy, especially dandelion greens. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae.
Dandelion (T.officinale) contains flavonoids such as luteolin and it was demonstrated that flavonoids could have pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity. Data from this study on obesity suggest that dandelion has the potential to be used as an anti-obesity agent.
The greens of the dandelion provide:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
Dandelion greens contain only 5 grams of carbohydrates per cup, but 2 of those carbs are from the fiber in the form of inulin which is a powerful prebiotic.
Dandelion greens and other prebiotics might be the secret to eliminating keto constipation.
Organic Pasture Raised Eggs
Eggs are keto-friendly and super healthy, but pasture-raised eggs are a true keto superfood. Eggs are almost perfect for the keto diet because the macronutrient ratio is ideal. They have almost zero carbohydrates and can help you quickly become keto-adapted.
One pasture-raised egg contains 6 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fat. Egg protein is extremely bio-available and helps to build and preserve muscle in the body.
An Egg Fast is a great way to lose weight on the Keto Diet. Read all about the stall busting Keto Egg Fast here.
Pasture-raised eggs are more healthy than cage-free or regular eggs because the chickens walk around outside in the sun and eat bugs and worms. This is closer to the chicken’s ancestral diet.
They also contain 38% more vitamin A than regular eggs, 6 times more vitamin D and 3 times more vitamin E. They also contain choline which has been shown to detoxify the liver and improve liver function
Pasture-raised eggs also contain vitamin K2, zinc, folate, riboflavin, and magnesium. They also contain 3 times more omega 3 fatty acids and up to 70% more vitamin B12 than regular eggs.
Organic olives are a historic superfood
Olive oil is widely considered one of the healthiest foods in the world, but eating the entire olive is even healthier. A study that just came out opened my eyes and inspired me to include olives on this keto superfood list. Olive oil has been shown to prevent the toxic accumulation of the protein tau, which is an indicator of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Scientists at Temple’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine performed the groundbreaking research. You can read the study here.
We all know that olives contain healthy fats that raise good cholesterol but olives also contain fiber. A cup of olives contains about 16% of the daily allowance of fiber. Olives also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin A and E, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and polyphenols.
Here is the nutritional content of 1 cup of olives:
- Total Fat 14 grams
- Saturated Fat 1.9 grams
- Trans Fat 0 grams
- Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 grams
- Monounsaturated Fat 11 grams
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 992 mg
- Potassium 11 milligrams
- Total Carbohydrates 8.5 grams
- Dietary Fiber 4.3 grams
- Sugars 0 grams
- Protein 1.1 grams
Fermented purple cabbage
Any probiotic-rich fermented vegetable is an amazing keto superfood, but purple cabbage has some special health qualities. It’s sometimes called red cabbage, and in Germany where it’s a food staple, they call it blue kraut. It turns completely ruby red during the fermentation process because it contains a water-soluble pigment called anthocyanin which reacts to the lactobacillus acid during fermenting.
When I explain the keto diet to people I always tell them to choose their side dish very carefully.
It’s easy to find meat to eat since all meat is low carb. Your side dish will make or break your keto success and fermented purple cabbage is the perfect side dish.
Not only does purple cabbage have more vitamin C than an orange, but it also contains the polyphenols betacyanin and anthocyanins. Betacyanins is what gives the purple cabbage their red color and what also makes grapes, blueberries, beets, and purple sweet potatoes so nutritious.
“Anthocyanins possess antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects.”Journal
Food & Nutrition Research
Volume 61, 2017
Purple cabbage is keto-friendly because it only contains about 5 grams of total carbohydrates per cup and 2 grams of fiber. This keto superfood contains a massive 30 milligrams of anthocyanins in each half cup. It also contains sulforaphane and other glucosinolates, which detoxify the liver.
Macadamia nuts are a keto superfood staple
To say that macadamia nuts are a healthy superfood is kind of an understatement. They contain the same type of (monounsaturated) fats that are credited with making olive oil so healthy. Mac nuts are extremely high in fat. One ounce of macadamia nuts contains about 21 grams of fat with 4 grams of total carbs, but 2.5 grams of those carbs are locked up in the fiber so it only contains about 1.5 net carbs.
Resource this article for the only 3 nuts that are keto friendly.
But it’s not just about fat quantity. There is good fat and bad fat and Macadamia nuts contain monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acids, which is the best type of “good fat.”
Macadamia nuts are high in an omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid. Oleic acid stimulates the complete oxidation of fatty acids. Which means your body burns fat more efficiently.
Macadamia nuts also contain palmitoleic acid which has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. This Pubmed study shows that even though they are high in fat they actually lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
Gouda Cheese is an extremely healthy low carb superfood
Most people on the keto diet need calcium and phosphorus to maintain strong bones. Gouda cheese provides 198 milligrams of calcium and 55 milligrams of phosphorus per ounce. It also has 7 grams of complete protein and zero carbohydrates.
What really makes Gouda cheese special is the massive amount of vitamin K2 it contains. This paper on Dutch cheese states that Gouda Cheese aged for 13 weeks has a total vitamin K2 (menaquinones) of 656 (ng/g) per 100 mL.
The only foods higher in vitamin K2 than hard, aged cheese is Natto and goose liver pate.
You can read more about it in this study titled: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health. Basically, it takes the calcium out of your blood and puts it in your bones and teeth.
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) contributes more to atherosclerosis than cholesterol. Atherosclerosis is a disease of hardening of the arteries. This study shows Vitamin K2 significantly changes the levels of calcification promoters and inhibitors.
Wild-caught sardines in Olive oil
I didn’t want to add too much protein to this superfood list, but sardines just couldn’t be left out. Excessive protein is one of the negatives of the keto diet. Too much protein can have a negative affect on health-span and longevity as well as put stress on your kidneys.
None the less, protein is an essential nutrient and there are groups of people that could benefit from extra protein such as:
- Weight lifters/bodybuilders
- Competitive athletes
Not only are sardines one of the best protein sources available, they are one of the most nutritious low-carb superfoods you could eat.
Why are sardines such a nutritious low-carb superfood?
They are a small fish and don’t live very long, so they don’t have as much mercury build up as other fish. Also, If they are wild-caught they aren’t contaminated with antibiotics or hormones.
Since you are eating the entire fish you get the added benefit from the collagen in the skin. Additionally, the soft bones are still in the sardine so the calcium level is increased. As little as 2 ounces of sardines contain a whopping 217 mg of calcium.
The other benefit of this nutritious superfood is the omega 3 fatty acids. This study available on PubMed shows Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Additionally, one 3.2 ounce can of sardines contain:
|omega-3 fats||1.52 g|
|vitamin B12||8.12 mcg|
|vitamin D||175 IU|
|vitamin B3||4.76 mg|
|vitamin B2||21 mcg|
If you are interested in healthy eating, read this article on the most powerful antioxidants.