A keto diet isn’t all about bacon and butter – it’s important to choose healthy keto foods packed with nutrients that can support immune health. Add these low-carb, immune health supporting foods to your next grocery list.
Avocados are the only fruit that contains a large amount of healthy fat. Like their other fruit friends, avocados contain loads of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium and immune enhancing vitamins C and E. Avocados are a great source of glutathione – a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off invaders. While avocados do contain some carbs – most are in the form of fiber which can be subtracted from the total carbs to find the net carb amount.
The vegetables in this family include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale. Not only are these veggies loaded with fiber, but they also contain sulforaphane which is a sulfur rich compound that may help to reduce body inflammation (Bai et al, 2015). Try and eat one serving of these yummy veggies raw or steamed daily for optimal sulforaphane intake.
Coconut oil is the only naturally occurring source of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs (Deen et al, 2020). MCTs are fats that are easier for our bodies to metabolize and can provide a quick boost of energy! In addition, coconut oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties (Dee et al, 2020).
A keto staple and so versatile. Be sure to eat the whole egg (yolk and white) because yolks provide the oh-so important fat on a keto diet. Eggyolk is also a great bioavailable source of lutein, a dietary carotenoid that the body will convert into vitamin A, in turn positively impacting eye health.
Fish and Seafood
Fatty fish is an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids not found in other protein rich foods such as chicken or beef. Omega-3 fatty acids have a power-packed resume for health improvement including lowering blood pressure, reducing triglyceride levels, being cardio protective and improving cognitive function.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great keto snack that is low in carbs, high in fiber, and packed with micronutrients such as selenium. Selenium supports our immune system by providing protection against oxidative damage and infection (NIH, 2021). The best choices for keto are almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, macadamia, chia seeds, and flax seeds. (Did you know you can meet over 100% of your daily recommended intake for selenium with just one Brazil nut?!)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Olives
Olives are a perfect keto food. Zero carbs and packed with lots of healthy fats and flavor. The primary fat in olives is oleic acid and in combination with a powerful antioxidant called oleocanthal, olive products may help in reducing inflammation (Lucas et al, 2011).
Laura Dority, MS, RDN, LDN
- Bai Y, Wang X, Zhao S, Ma C, Cui J, Zheng Y. Sulforaphane protects AGAINST cardiovascular disease Via Nrf2 Activation. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2015;2015:1-13.
- Deen A, Visvanathan R, Wickramarachchi D, et al. Chemical composition and health benefits of coconut oil: An overview. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2020;101(6):2182-2193.
- Shahidi F, Ambigaipalan P. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Their Health Benefits. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2018;25(9):345-381.
- Office of dietary supplements - selenium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/. Published March 26, 2021. Accessed August 9, 2021.
- Lucas L, Russell A, Keast R. Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2011;17(8):754-768.