Keto is a pretty strict diet – no carbs, whatsoever, not even the healthy whole grain ones; limited, if any, fruit (depending what plan you are on) and probably not as many vegetables as you’re used to – which makes it challenging when it comes to getting all your vitamins (aka micronutrients) on keto.
Which is why I was excited when fellow blogger (and keto fan) Kalee – from mum and daughter health blog – Kim and Kalee – said she’d love to write a post on here talking about getting all the nutrients you need on keto. So, here goes…
Over to Kalee
We all know tracking our macro–nutrients (carbs, fat and protein) is key to following a ketogenic diet, but are you overlooking your micro-nutrients? These are the vitamins and minerals that help us feel our best. Below we’ll look at how to get micronutrients on keto and what to know about supplements before you buy anything.
Before we get into all of the details though, I should mention I’m not a doctor or registered dietician. I’m someone just like you that got fed up with not feeling my best and started researching what has worked for so many others. My mom and I run a healthy lifestyle blog, KimandKalee.com that can help you become your most confident self.
If you want to dig into micronutrients deeper, I recommend talking to a nutritionist, dietitian or qualified integrative healthcare professional who can help you.
What are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are considered to be the essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes that our body needs to function at its optimal level. These little powerhouses have been linked to helping our immune system, gut health, and overall wellness.
These micronutrients are found within our macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Why We Need Micronutrients?
If the above benefits didn’t get you excited, keep in mind that “eating the rainbow” – colorful fruits and vegetables – can help you feel your best!
With that said – most of us aren’t getting in all of our micronutrients on keto or any diet for that matter.
A recent survey by the USDA reported that 37% of people are deficient in vitamin C, 40% are low on iron, 70% are deficient in vitamin E, and get this, 75% of us are deficient in zinc.
When we have these deficiencies, we can’t live at our best state. You may have trouble losing weight, hormone imbalances, and bloating among other symptoms.
Getting Micronutrients From Food
You may find you can get in your micronutrients in your diet by focusing on healthy, lean proteins, colorful fruits, and vegetables.
It’s important that we choose only the highest quality proteins and organic produce to get the best benefits.
Finding a good list of keto-friendly vegetables (which include watercress, olives, kale, rocket and spinach) has really helped me maximise my vitamins on keto, as well as, finding simple recipes that incorporate vegetables in them like these bacon and veggie egg cups.
Adding in Micronutrients on Keto Through Food
Keep in mind I’m providing a few examples of ways to get in your micronutrients, but everyone’s body is different. So you will need to tweak and test what works best for you.
With that said, I feel like it’s better for me to get these nutrition powerhouses from my diet versus supplements. I only take a supplement if I’m still falling short on a micronutrient.
Here are a few of my favorite foods to incorporate!
Below you’ll find a list of a few micronutrients and the keto-friendly foods you’ll find them in.
- Vitamin D – most people are low on Vitamin D because they don’t get enough sunlight! But you’ll also find it in oily fish and some treated mushrooms.
- Vitamin E – nuts, legumes, seeds, spinach and broccoli
- Vitamin K – cruciferous vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, etc)
- Zinc – some seafood, dairy, legumes, and nuts
- Vitamin B – red meats, seafood, dairy, nuts, and seeds
- Magnesium – specific nuts like almonds and cashews, as well as, spinach, and black beans
- Vitamin C – green peppers contain a lot of Vitamin C. Some vegetables like broccoli and spinach are also rich in Vitamin C.
- Calcium – salmon, kale and broccoli
- Probiotics – kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods (just check they don’t contain any sugar).
- Himalayan Pink Salt – I also like this pink salt because of the trace minerals it offers!
Getting in micronutrients on keto can be easier than you think since several foods contain multiple micronutrients. For example, broccoli, spinach and almonds pack several benefits all in one package!
This article gives a more detailed explanation of exactly which nutrients might be lacking in the ketogenic diet – and a reassuring list of ones you’re likely to be reaching assuming your plan is pretty well balanced.
Should I Take Supplements on a Keto Diet?
As I mentioned above, I personally prefer to get in my micronutrients on keto from food. With that said, you can always supplement your diet after talking it over with your doctor.
It’s important to choose good quality supplements though. I tend to avoid anything containing dyes, waxes and sugars. Also, check the ingredient label for other fillers and also check the expiration date – you want to buy a product with a long date.
There are a few independent companies that test for standard qualities which is important in my opinion since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. These labs and certification programs can be helpful in finding a higher quality supplement. Check out your favourite brands on Labdoor or in the US, you can also look for the USP Verified Mark or the NSF Sports mark.
So, there you have it – Kalee’s advice on getting your micronutrients on keto. And definitely take that tip about avoiding sugars in your supplements- I took ibuprofen doing The High Fat Diet once and the sweet coating was enough to stall my weight loss (my body really does not like sugar!).
Who Is Kalee?
That’s her and her mum Kim below.
Kim and Kalee are a mother-daughter team living in Nashville, TN. Since starting their first business, they’ve helped over 4000 women start their health and fitness journey. They now have expanded to help women improve their mindset and achieve their goals on KimandKalee.com.
Check them out for some great exercise tips and also, amazing looking keto recipes – I was very keen on their super yum-looking favourite fat bomb recipes.
What to Read Next
If you’re about to start keto, you might also want to check out our guide to how to beat keto flu – which is common when you’re adapting to ketosis. We’ve highlighted the main symptoms – and, got some keto-friendly ways to beat them
When I’m doing keto, I find the hardest time of the day is in the evening – and, if that sounds familiar, you might want to have a look at our guide on how to stick to your diet at night which makes it easier to stay on plan after a hard day.
Lastly, check out our suggestions of some brilliant ways to celebrate your diet success, with some non-foodie weight loss rewards.
Main Image: Deposit photos
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.