While I believe in biochemical individuality, I feel that everyone, regardless of their decision to follow a keto or plant-based or any other type of diet, should consume a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods and limit their intake of empty convenience foods. This helps us stay healthy and disease-free and maintain healthy body composition.
Additionally, most of us can benefit by choosing to eat more fiber-rich, low-sugar produce and good fats. Healthy low-carb living that includes salads and green smoothies with MCT oil may be the perfect powerful combo to stay healthy while managing body fat. Here are 7 reasons why:
Support for mood and microbiome
1. Eating clean & green—limiting sugars and including plenty of mineral- and fiber-rich vegetables—as it keeps the microbiome in tip-top shape.
I am a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy microbiome!
2. It provides the minerals required (but often missing on a “dirty” keto diet) that may help to keep the musculoskeletal and nervous systems running smoothly.
Regularly including foods like kale and avocado helps bump up your potassium, magnesium and calcium while staying low-carb. Green foods, when eaten on the daily, can be very supportive of mood, fat loss and overall health for another reason:
3. Leafy greens, avocado and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts are sources of readily-assimilable natural folate.
Many of us absolutely need to get natural folate for optimal methylation, because folate is the key to that process. Up to 60% of us are not methylating optimally.
What is methylation and why is it important?
Methylation initiates many biochemical reactions in the body, reactions that regulate our cardiovascular, neurological, and reproductive systems. Methylation can impact important processes:
- Overall detoxification, liver health, and estrogen metabolism
- Fat metabolism, cellular energy, and production of neurotransmitters
Hence why including plenty of leafy greens helps us get the most hormone-balancing & energy-boosting effect and look & feel our best.
Why a low-carb way of eating, featuring green foods and MCT oil, is a fat burner’s dream combo
Good methylation by itself, unfortunately, will not always equal fat metabolism—even paired with exercise. That’s because efficient fat loss can only happen when insulin is at a low concentration. It can take up to four hours post-meal for an insulin peak to fall, so exercise within that time will not produce much fat loss. By the time we are in a good zone to burn fat, our hunger might lead us to eat again!
Therefore, just including greens is not enough. This is where a low-carb, high-fat way of life comes in.
4. Allowing insulin levels to drop allows for fat burning.
Just eating salad on a low-carb diet is not the answer. This is the old idea of the starvation diet, and while it may trigger weight and fat loss in the short term, eventually hunger, strength, and even metabolism will suffer. Thoughtful use of intermittent fasting or the addition of healthy fats can help.
5. Including a high proportion of helpful fats, especially MCT oil, reduces feelings of hunger, giving us a chance to lengthen our fat-burning window. Consuming MCT oil helps us improve body composition and reduce body fat.
This means a green keto way of eating, or a higher fat vegetarian diet, can be great for fat loss: proper methylation, supported by green foods, supports fat metabolism, a keto/low-carb, high-fat lifestyle allows fat burning, and the use of MCT oil enhances fat loss.
Combining all three is powerful stuff. What’s even better, we call this a clean way of eating because it is naturally supportive of the body’s waste removal processes.
6. Eating a diet that is full of greens helps to optimize detoxification and metabolism of waste products and excess hormones, helping us to feel better and avoid imbalance as we lose weight or reduce body fat.
This is important to any weight loss regimen because some research suggests that the concentration of toxins like POPs in the body is higher after losing weight.
7. Finally, eating our veggies with fats helps us to maximize the nutrition we get from these foods as well.
This study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that a substantially greater absorption of carotenoids from salads occurs when eaten with full-fat salad dressing versus no absorption when the salad is eaten fat-free. I imagine this would apply to smoothies, too.
Back in this post on doing keto right, I suggested that a green keto lifestyle would be much safer and more healthful in the long run than a “dirty” keto approach and would provide even better metabolic improvements—meaning that greens make high-fat living better.
The truth is that fat can make high-green living better, too!
How can we get the benefits of the healthy fat loss trifecta?
Making sure to get your daily green veggies and fat combo is easy—simply adopt a green smoothie habit, a salad habit, or both! Here are two great ways to combine low carb lifestyle + folate-rich leafy greens + MCT oil:
Make MCT Oil Salad Dressings: Organic MCT oil tastes neutral, so it can easily be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Try using it in salad dressings for an easy way to sneak in more of these healthy fats and more of those healthy greens. Flora’s Organic MCT Oilis made through a gentle cold fractionation process that isolates the valuable fats your brain and body crave most.
This zesty dressing will ensure you never get bored with salad.
Mix MCT Oil into Green Smoothies: I love the effect healthy fats have in a smoothie, to help keep my blood sugar levels even and my hunger at bay. There are loads of great variations on the keto green smoothie out there, so find one you like. In the summertime, I like adding cucumber or mint to make it more refreshing. Just remember we want to keep the carb count down to maximize the benefits, so skip the bananas and mangos.
Here is a no-fail green smoothie recipe to try.
Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP, NNCP, is a Vancouver-based educator and coach. She is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog and can answer your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Product Information Specialist at Flora.