Vegetables are low in calories but are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. In addition, many carbohydrates are low in fiber and high in fiber, which makes them ideal for a low-carb diet. The definition of a low-carb diet varies widely most of them contain less than 150 grams of carbohydrates per day, and some up to 20 grams per day. Whether you are on a low-carb diet or not, eating more vegetables is always a good idea.
Here is a list of the best 21 low-carb vegetables.
Bell peppers, also called sweet peppers or capsicums, are highly nutritious. They contain antioxidants called carotenoids that can help lower inflammation, risks of cancer and protect cholesterol and fats from oxidative damage.
One 3.5 ounces (100g) of chopped red pepper contains 6 grams of carbohydrates. It offers 93% reference daily intake (RDI) for Vitamin A and 317% RDI for Vitamin C, which is hardly found in a very low-carb diet. Green, orange, and yellow bell peppers also contain the same nutritional profiles however their antioxidant content can vary.
Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable. It belongs to the Cruciferous vegetable family, which includes Brussels sprouts, kale, radishes, and cabbage. Studies show that broccoli can also lower insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. It is also thought to protect against many types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
One cup (100 grams) of raw broccoli contains 6.64 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2 are fiber. Broccoli also offers more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins C and K.
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable that provides significant health benefits. Researchers report that this may help reduce the damage to DNA. It also protects heart health and helps to reduce the risk of common eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
In addition, it is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. One 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw spinach contain 3.6 gram of carbs.
One cup (180 grams) of cooked spinach contains more than 10 times the RDI for vitamin K.
Spinach also contains fewer carbohydrates, but carbohydrates become more concentrated as the leaves ripen and lose their volume. For instance, a cup of cooked spinach provides 7 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber, while a cup of raw spinach offers about 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Cabbage is one of the most popular low-carb vegetables. It has a mild flavor and can be used as a substitute for potatoes, rice, and other high-carbohydrate foods. One cup (100 grams) of raw cabbage contains 5 grams of carbohydrates, of which 3 are fiber. It is also high in vitamin K and provides 77% of the RDI for vitamin C. Like other crushed vegetables, it is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
Kale is a trendy vegetable that is highly nutritious. It is packed with antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and can also help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.
One cup (100 grams) of raw kale provides 5.6 grams of carbohydrates. It also provides 206% of RDI for Vitamin A and 134% of RDI for Vitamin C. Excessive use of vitamin C has been shown to improve immune function and increase the skin’s ability to fight harmful free radicals, which can accelerate the aging process.
Brussels sprouts are another delicious cruciferous vegetable. One 100 grams serving of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 7.1 grams of carbohydrates, 2.6g of which are fiber.
It also provides 80% of RDI for Vitamin C and 137% of RDI for Vitamin K. Moreover, controlled human studies show that eating Brussels sprouts can reduce the risk of cancer, including colon cancer.
Tomatoes have many health benefits. Like avocados, these are technically fruits but are commonly used as vegetables. They are also low in digestible carbohydrates. A small (100-gram) raw tomato contains 3.9 grams of carbohydrates, of which1.2g, is fibers. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. In addition, they are high in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
They have also helped to enhance endothelial cells that line your arteries, and the greater content of lycopene in them can help prevent prostate cancer. Cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene, and adding fat like olive oil during cooking increases their absorption.
Eggplant is a common vegetable used in many Italian and Asian dishes. One cup (100 grams) of chopped, cooked eggplant contains 8.7 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2.5g is fiber.
It does not contain enough vitamins or minerals, but animal research shows that eggplant can help lower cholesterol and improve other heart health markers. It also contains an antioxidant called nasunin in the purple oil of her skin. Researchers have reported that nasunin helps reduce free radicals and can protect mental health.
Asparagus is a delicious spring vegetable. One 100 grams serving of cooked asparagus contains 4.1 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2 are fiber. It is also an amazing source of vitamins A, C, and K.
Test tube studies have shown that asparagus can help stem the growth of many types of cancer, and studies in mice have shown that it can help protect mental health and reduce anxiety.
Artichokes are delicious and nutritious. A medium-sized globe artichoke (100 grams) contains 12 grams of carbohydrates. However, 10 grams come from fiber, which makes it very low in digestible (pure) carbohydrates.
Part of the fiber is inulin, which acts as a prebiotic to feed healthy intestinal bacteria. In addition, artichokes can protect heart health. In one study, when people with high cholesterol drank artichoke juice, they experienced a reduction in signs of inflammation and an improvement in blood vessel function.
Zucchini is a famous vegetable and is the most common type of summer squash. Summer squash grows long with soft skin that can be eaten. In contrast, winter squash comes in a variety of forms, is not edible, and contains more carbohydrates than summer squash.
One 100 grams of raw zucchini contains 2.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1 of which is fiber. It is a good source of vitamin C, which provides 35% of RDI per serving. Yellow Italian squash and other types of summer squash offer the same amount of carbohydrates and nutrients as zucchini.
Onions are spicy, nutritious vegetables. Although they are high in carbohydrates by weight, they usually eat small amounts because of their strong taste. One 3.5 ounces (100g) of chopped raw onions contains 9.3 grams of carbohydrates, of which 1.7 grams are fiber.
Onions are abundant in the antioxidant quercetin, which can help reduce blood pressure. A study in overweight and obese women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) found that eating red onions lowers LDL cholesterol levels.
Green beans belong to the legume family with beans and lentils. However, they contain significantly fewer carbohydrates than most legumes.
One cup (100 grams) of cooked green beans contains 7.9 grams of carbohydrates, of which 3.2g is fiber. They are high in chlorophyll, which animal studies show may help prevent cancer. In addition, they contain carotenoids, which are linked to better brain function as we age.
Lettuce is one of the lowest-carb vegetables. One cup (100 grams) of lettuce contains 3 grams of carbohydrates, 1.2 g of which are fiber. Depending on the type, it can be a good source of some vitamins. For example, romaine and other dark green varieties are packed with vitamins A, C, and K.
They are also high in folate which helps lower homocysteine levels, a compound linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A study of 37 women found that eating folate for five weeks reduced homocysteine levels by 13% compared to a low-folate diet.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its pungent odor and delicious taste. Garlic is very famous due to its beneficial effects on immune function. Studies have shown that it can increase resistance to the common cold, lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels which may lower the risks of heart diseases. Although it is a high-carb vegetable in terms of weight, due to its strong taste and aroma, the amount usually eaten in one sitting is very low.
One clove of garlic (3 grams) contains 1 gram of carbohydrates, part of which is fiber.
Cucumbers are low in carbohydrates and very refreshing. One cup (100 grams) of chopped cucumber contains 3.6 grams of carbohydrates, of which less than 0.5 gram is fiber.
Although cucumbers are not high in vitamins or minerals, they contain a compound called cucurbitacin E, which offers many health effects.Test tube and animal study results show that it has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and can protect mental health.
Celery is very low in digestible carbohydrates. One cup (100 grams) of chopped celery contains 3 grams of carbohydrates, of which 1.2gram are fiber. It is a good source of Vitamin K, which provides 37% RDI.
In addition, it contains luteolin, an antioxidant that demonstrates its ability to help prevent and treat cancer.
Radishes are brassica vegetables with a sharp, black pepper flavor. One cup (116 grams) of raw chopped radishes contains 4 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2 are fiber. They are high in vitamin C, which provides 29% of RDI per serving. In addition, radishes can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by altering the way the body metabolizes estrogen.
Radishes are also rich in antioxidants and minerals such as calcium and potassium. Together, these nutrients help reduce high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Radish is also an excellent source of natural nitrates which improves blood flow.
Swiss chard is another nutrient-rich low-carb leafy vegetable. One 100 grams serving of Swiss chard contains 4.1grams of carbs, of which 2.1g is fiber. Swiss chard is also a great source of vitamin A and vitamin K, and a good source of vitamin C and magnesium. Swiss chard also contains the antioxidants beta-carotene, lutein, and xanthine. Vitamin A plays a vital role in the normal formation and maintenance of organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates. One cup (100 grams) of raw white mushrooms contains only 5.3 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2.2g is fiber. In addition, they show strong anti-inflammatory properties. A study of men with metabolic syndrome showed that men who eat 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of white mushrooms for 16 weeks significantly improved antioxidant and anti-inflammatory markers.
Mushrooms are also a good source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They can also reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Avocados are a unique and delicious food. Although avocado is technically a fruit, but commonly used as a vegetable. They are also high in fat and low in digestible carbohydrates. One cup (100 grams) of chopped avocado contains 8.5 grams of carbohydrates, of which 6.7g is fiber.
Avocados are also rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that has beneficial health effects. Some studies showed that avocados can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
Although avocados are a high-calorie diet, they can be beneficial for weight management. In one study, overweight people who included half an avocado in their lunch reported feeling fuller and less likely to eat for the next five hours.
All of these are delicious vegetables that can be added to a low-carb diet. In addition to being low in carbohydrates and calories, they can reduce your risk of various diseases and improve your overall health and well-being.
About the Author
Lori Bogedin is a health and wellness writer and editor of TwigsCafe.com. She is in the restaurant business since 1999. In 2016 she was named one of the "Top Women in Business" by Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal.