Food & Nutrition

Nutrition and Vitamins on Keto

Nutrition and Vitamins on Keto

What is Nutrition?

You can look at nutrition as the building blocks your body needs to repair itself, grow and provide energy. If you were building a house you’d need bricks, mortar, windows and other necessary supplies. Your body is no different, it needs a regular supply of vital ingredients. A lot of literature on keto focuses on the macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrate. You do need more of the macros, but, you also need micro-nutrition as well, especially your vitamins, on keto.
Imagine building a house. You have all the big pieces needed for the structure: bricks, concrete, plasterboard, windows and doors. But, you have no screws, nails or bolts. Without these smaller, but equally necessary components, that house won’t function very well. It might even fall down. Screws, nails and bolts are tiny in comparison to bricks, but they are vital nonetheless. Vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are also tiny, but essential for your health and wellbeing.

The Standard Western Diet

Alarmingly, the standard Western diet (SWD) doesn’t provide enough micro-nutrition. Epidemics of lifestyle disease are being attributed to this lack of quality nutrition and the excess of toxins found in the SWD. The body is pretty resilient and can cope with a lot before disease starts to surface. But eventually, cracks start to form and years of poor nutrition take their toll, resulting in disease, poor health, reduced quality of life and potentially even an early death.
Some people incorrectly think that keto deprives people of nutrition. In reality, you can easily experience better nutrition when on keto than when on a high carb diet! We’re going to share the key information you need in order to thrive nutritionally on keto.
Unfortunately, human nutritional needs have largely been ignored by the medical profession. Nutrition is a criminally minimal, and often disregarded, aspect of medical training, and instead doctors focus on sickness and pharmaceutical drugs rather than keeping people healthy. But, preventing disease with proper nutrition allows you to take responsibility for your own health. The human body has an amazing ability to heal, repair, regulate and keep you physically and mentally fit - if you support it by feeding it well!

Very Vital Vitamins

So, let’s look at exactly what you need to maintain peak physical health for years to come. The first type of essential micronutrients are Vitamins. Vitamins are compounds which perform specific actions in the body. Vitamins on keto are essential to your long term wellbeing and immediate health, they have hugely diverse and critical roles, and are essential for:
  • Absorbing other nutrients
  • Building muscle and bone
  • Converting food into energy
  • Creating new hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Creating new tissues and cells
  • Detoxification
  • Digestion and metabolism
  • Growing hair, skin and nails
  • Healing wounds
  • Healthy brain function
  • Healthy eyes and eyesight
  • Immune system and liver function
  • Maintaining nervous system function
  • Memory and recall
  • Mood stabilization
  • Protecting the heart and cardiovascular system
  • Regulating mood and focus
  • Repairing and copying DNA
  • They even have a role in slowing down cellular aging!
You can see from this extensive list how vital vitamins are. Since you’re doing the keto diet to improve your health you’ll want to ensure you get enough vitamins on keto.
We need to understand a little bit about the different types and sources of vitamins in your keto diet. What we call a ‘Vitamin’ is actually a group of chemical compounds, called vitamers. For example, there are five different types of Vitamin A, which are all classed as Vitamin A because they perform the same role in the body. However, they are actually different chemical compounds. The plant based sources of Vitamin A are actually less effective in the body than animal based sources. This is because the body has to process them before they can be used.
Unfortunately, most people are not getting enough vitamins, but they don’t notice. There are specific vitamin deficiencies, such as scurvy or rickets, resulting from acute vitamin deficiency, but these acute conditions are rare nowadays. Eating a standard Western diet won’t usually lead to an acute deficiency, but a lack of vitamins will reduce the efficiency of processes in the body, especially the immune system. This increases the risk of disease: as the body doesn’t have what it needs to maintain health.
A lack of vitamins will also make side effects, like low energy and headaches, more likely on keto. You won’t drop down dead if you don’t have enough vitamins today. But, after years of vitamin deficiency your body will gradually get tired out, your immune system, digestion and metabolism will become less effective. When your keto diet includes sufficient vitamins you will notice even more energy and a better mood. Let’s look at how you can get all of your vitamins on keto.

Vitamin A on Keto

Vitamin A deficiency is not usually a problem on keto.

Plant Based Sources

Kale and other leafy greens are good plant based sources of Vitamin A.

Animal Based Sources

Butter, cheese, eggs and various meats are good animal based sources. Liver is the best source of vitamin A and it is also packed with iron. Just 1 oz of beef liver provides 100% of your daily vitamin A requirements. If you’re lacking in energy, try boosting your diet with some nutrient rich liver.

Vitamin B on Keto

A huge group of many different vitamins, most of which are linked to energy production and regulating mood. Some specific B vitamins can be lacking in low carb diets (especially vegan ones), so taking a vitamin B supplements if you’re lacking energy and your mood is low can be a good option. Consider supplementing with a B-vitamin complex.

Plant Based Sources

Again, leafy green plants, like kale and spinach, are excellent plant-based sources. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and avocado also provide a variety of B vitamins.

Animal Based Sources

Animal based proteins like fish, chicken, eggs and liver deliver a lot of your B vitamin needs.

Vitamin C on Keto

Usually, we associate this with vitamin with fruit, like oranges, which are too high-carb for the keto diet. This makes some people worry about a vitamin C deficiency on keto. However, you actually need less vitamin C when you’re restrict carbs, this is because glucose competes with the vitamin in the body. If you find you are getting frequent colds and have slow healing wounds consider taking a vitamin C supplement or eating more green vegetables. You could be lacking the vitamin C essential for immune functions. Mega doses of Vitamin C have also been shown to improve healing and even help to treat cancer.

Plant Based Sources

There is plenty of vitamin C to be had in peppers, broccoli and, yet again, kale. Half a cup of green peppers is 100% of your daily Vitamin C requirements.

Animal Based Sources

Most animals actually make their own vitamin C internally from glucose, but humans don’t. This means that organ meats and milk also contain Vitamin C, but not as much as plant-based sources.

Vitamin D on Keto

A.k.a. as the sunshine vitamin, our body produces Vitamin D when we’re in the sun. However, our indoor lives and use of sunscreen means many people don’t make enough. Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body and is needed for the absorption of many other minerals. Unfortunately, nearly 25% of Americans are deficient in this crucial vitamin. So you may wish to supplement it if you feel tired or are experiencing muscle pain or hair loss. However, you’ll be pleased to know that keto dieters usually consume more Vitamin D than those eating a standard diet!

Plant Based Sources

Some types of mushrooms, tofu, some milk alternatives fortified with vitamin D

Animal Based Sources

Oily fish, beef liver, eggs, and some milks.

Vitamin E on Keto

This vitamin helps us detox and even slows down the signs of aging, which is why it’s added to skin creams.

Plant Based Sources

Most nuts and seeds, specifically in almonds and hazelnuts, and green veg like spinach, broccoli and kale.

Animal Based Sources

Oily fish, crayfish and snails.

Vitamin K on Keto

Essential for blood clotting and mineral absorption.

Plant Based Sources

You can get 100% of your vitamin K needs in just a single cup of leafy green veg. Pine nuts and chicken breast are also good sources but you only get 20% of your needs per cupful.

Animal Based Sources

There is some vitamin K in beef and olive oil, but you really do need to eat your greens to get enough of this vital keto vitamin.

To Summarize

As a quick recap, let’s summarize your keto vitamin requirements:
  • Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of many essential keto vitamins
  • Since they have evolved to create new plant life they are well equipped nutritionally
  • For the same reason eggs are also an excellent sources of vitamins on keto
  • Eggs are very keto friendly and can even be fortified with more nutrition like essential fatty acids (by feeding them to the chickens!)
  • Organ meats, specifically liver, are abundant for your vitamins on keto
  • Oily fish also contain a variety of essential vitamins and some brilliant fatty acids too
  • But, you specifically need to consume green leafy vegetables to get enough vitamin C and K for your keto diet
  • If you don’t like green veg, supplementing with specific vitamins may seem like an easier option
  • But then you miss out on the healthy fiber and other plant-based benefits
  • Fresh green juices or green-powders are another good option for getting your vitamins on keto
Vitamins are just one aspect of your essential micro-nutrition. In the next article, we’ll cover the minerals your body needs to maintain optimum health.
Unlike many people mindlessly eating what they fancy, you’ll find the keto diet makes you think much more about what you eat, and as long as you eat a variety of foods, including green vegetables, you won’t be lacking vitamins on keto.
Remember to kiss your keto and eat your greens every day!

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