21 of the Best Low-Carb Vegetables
Vegetables are low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals , antioxidants and other important nutrients.
In addition, many are low in carbs and high in fibre, making them ideal for low-carb weight loss and health programs.
The definition of a low-carb program can vary widely. Most are under 150 grams of carbs per day, and some go as low as 20 grams per day.
Whether you're on a low-carb diet or not, eating more vegetables is always great for your health.
This is a list of 21 of the best low-carb vegetables to include as often as possible to achieve successful weight loss and vital health.
1. Bell Peppers
They are also known as sweet peppers or capsicums, and they are incredibly nutritious.
They contain antioxidants called carotenoids that may help to reduce inflammation, decrease your cancer risk and help prevent cholesterol and fats from oxidising and damaging organs and cells.
One cup (149 grams) chopped contains 9 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fibre..
It provides 93% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin A and a whopping 317% of the RDI for vitamin C, which is often lacking on very low-carb diets.
Green, orange and yellow bell peppers have similar nutrient profiles, although their antioxidant contents may vary.
This is a true superfood.
It's a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and radishes.
Studies show that broccoli may decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. And also protect against several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli contains 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre.
It also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins C and K.
This is a delicious spring vegetable.
One cup (180 grams) of cooked asparagus contains 8 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibre, It's also a good source of vitamins A, C and K.
Studies have found that asparagus may help stop the growth of several types of cancer, and studies in mice suggest it may help protect brain health and reduce anxiety.
They are extremely low in carbs.
One cup (70-gram) of raw, white mushrooms contains just 2 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre.
They've been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study in men with metabolic syndrome, eating 100 grams of white mushrooms for 16 weeks led to significant improvements in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory markers.
They are a popular vegetable and the most common type of summer squash. Summer squash is long with soft skin that can be eaten.
Winter squash comes in a variety of shapes, has an inedible rind and are higher in carbs than summer varieties.
One cup (124 grams) of raw zucchini contains 4 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre. It's a good source of vitamin c, providing 35% of the RDI per serving.
Yellow Italian squash and other types of summer squash have carb counts and nutrient profiles similar to zucchini.
This is a leafy green vegetable that provides major health benefits.
Researchers report that it can help reduce damage to DNA. It also protects heart health and may decrease the risk of common eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
It's an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals. One cup (180 grams) of cooked spinach provides more than 10 times the RDI for vitamin K.
Spinach is low in carbs, but the carbs become more concentrated as the leaves are cooked down and lose their volume.
For example, one cup of cooked spinach contains 7 grams of carbs with 4 grams of fibre, whereas one cup of raw spinach contains 1 gram of carbs with almost 1 gram of fibre.
These are a unique and delicious food.
Although technically a fruit, avocados are typically consumed as vegetables. They're also high in good fats and very few digestible carbs.
A one-cup (150-gram) serving of chopped avocados has 13 grams of carbs, 10 of which are fibre.
Avocados are also rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that has beneficial effects on health. Studies have found that avocados can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
They're also a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Even though avocados are a fairly high-calorie food, they may be beneficial for weight loss and management. In one study, overweight people who included half an avocado in their lunch reported feeling fuller and had less desire to eat over the next five hours and did not have the same desire for carbohydrates.
This is one of the most versatile and popular low-carb vegetables.
It has a very mild taste and can be used as a substitute for potatoes, rice and other higher-carb foods.
One cup (100 grams) of raw cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fibre. It's also high in vitamin K and provides 77% of the RDI for vitamin C.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, it's associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
9. Green Beans
They are sometimes referred to as snap beans or string beans.
They are a member of the legume family, along with beans and lentils but they have significantly fewer carbs than most legumes.
A one-cup (125-gram) serving of cooked green beans contains 10 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibre.
They're high in chlorophyll, which many studies suggest may help protect against cancer.
They also contain carotenoids, which are associated with improved brain function during aging.
This is one of the lowest-carb vegetables around.
One cup (47 grams) of lettuce contains 2 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre.
Depending on the type, it is also be a good source of certain vitamins.
Romaine and other dark-green varieties are rich in vitamins A, C and K.
They're also high in folate which helps decrease levels of homocysteine, a compound linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
One study in 37 women showed that consuming foods high in folate for five weeks reduced homocysteine levels by 13%, compared to a low-folate diet
It’s known for its beneficial effects on the immune function.
Studies have found that it may improve your resistance to the common cold and decrease blood pressure.
Although it's a high-carb vegetable by weight, the amount typically consumed in one sitting is very low due to its strong taste and aroma.
One clove (3 grams) of garlic contains 1 gram of carbs, part of which is fibre.
This is a trendy vegetable that's extremely nutrient dense.
It's loaded with antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol.
These have been shown to lower blood pressure and may also help protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
One cup (67 grams) of raw kale contains 7 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre It also provides an impressive 206% of the RDI for vitamin A and 134% of the RDI for vitamin C.
A high intake of vitamin C has been shown to improve immune function and increase the skin's ability to fight damaging free radicals, which can speed up the ageing process.
These are low in carbs and very refreshing.
One cup (104 grams) of chopped cucumber contains 4 grams of carbs, less than 1 gram of which is fibre.
Although cucumbers aren't very high in vitamins or minerals, they contain a compound called cucurbitacin E, which may have beneficial effects on health.
Results from studies suggest it has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and may also support brain health.
14. Brussels Sprouts
These are another tasty cruciferous vegetable.
A half-cup (78-gram) serving of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre.
It also provides 80% of the RDI for vitamin C and 137% of the RDI for vitamin K.
Human studies suggest that eating brussel sprouts may reduce risk factors for cancer, including colon cancer.
It’s extremely low in digestible carbs.
A one-cup (101-gram) serving of chopped celery contains 3 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre. It's a good source of vitamin K, providing 37% of the RDI.
In addition, it contains luteolin, an antioxidant that shows potential for preventing and helping treat cancer.
They have a number of impressive health benefits.
Like avocados, they are technically a fruit but usually consumed as vegetables.
They're also low in digestible carbs. One cup (149 grams) of cherry tomatoes contains 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C and K. they're high in potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure and decrease stroke risk.
They've also been shown to strengthen the endothelial cells that line your arteries, and their high lycopene content may help prevent prostate cancer.
Cooking tomatoes increases lycopene content, and adding fats such as olive oil during cooking has been shown to boost its absorption.
They are Brassica vegetables with a sharp, peppery taste.
One cup (116 grams) of raw sliced radishes contains 4 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre.
They're fairly high in vitamin C, providing 29% of the RDI per serving.
Additionally, radishes may reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by modifying the way the body metabolises oestrogen.
They are a poignant, nutritious vegetable.
Although they are fairly high in carbs by weight, they're usually consumed in small amounts because of their robust flavour.
A half cup (58 grams) of sliced raw onions contains 6 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fibre. Onions are high in the antioxidant quercetin, which may lower blood pressure.
One study in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) found that eating red onions reduced LDL cholesterol levels.
They are a common vegetable in many Italian and Asian dishes.
A one-cup (99-gram) serving of chopped, cooked eggplant contains 8 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fibre.
It's not very high in most vitamins or minerals, but research suggests eggplant may help lower cholesterol and improve other markers of heart health.
They also contain an antioxidant known as nasunin in the purple pigment of its skin. Researchers have reported that nasunin helps reduce free radicals and may protect brain health.
It has some impressive health benefits
As a cruciferous vegetable, it may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including oesophageal and stomach cancer.
One cup (89 grams) of chopped raw cabbage contains 5 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fibre.
It also provides 54% of the RDI for vitamin C and 85% of the RDI for vitamin K.
They are delicious and nutritious.
One medium-sized globe artichoke (120 grams) contains 14 grams of carbs.
However, 10 grams come from fibre, making it very low in digestible (net) carbs.
A portion of the fibre is inulin, which acts as a prebiotic that feeds healthy gut bacteria.
What's more, artichokes may protect heart health. In one study, when people with high cholesterol drank artichoke juice, they experienced a reduction in inflammatory markers and improvement in blood vessel function.
The Bottom Line
There are many tasty vegetables that can be included on a low carb diet.
Besides being low in carbs and calories, research shows they may reduce your risk of various diseases and improve your overall health and well-being.
Get munching. It is impossible to overdose on these vegetables. Chop them up into delicious salads, steam them, blend them in smoothies, blitz them in your vita-miser and drink them, add them to soups, casseroles and stir fries, and most of all enjoy their many flavours and incredible health and weight benefits.
The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 5 cups of vegetables every day to prevent diseases and stay healthy.
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