They might be the veggies with the fewest carbohydrates, but they are nutrient-dense.
Consume some vegetables. Most people have been told to do it since they could handle a fork, and if you’re a parent, you probably tell your children to do it all the time. Even though we are aware of how vital it is to eat veggies, most of us struggle to do so. Only 10% of individuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.
All veggies include healthy nutrients, but low-carb vegetables in particular are a fantastic way to increase the satiety of a meal without significantly increasing the calorie count. “Vegetables are a great source of fiber, health-promoting vitamins, and minerals. According to registered dietitian Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, author of The Small Change Diet and host of the podcast The Keri Report, they are the ideal addition to help assemble a balanced plate without adding many more calories.
Starchy and non-starchy veggies are typically divided into two categories, according to Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian and the deputy director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab. According to Sassos, starchy vegetables often have less fiber and more carbohydrates than their non-starchy counterparts. She also emphasizes how starchy veggies have a greater tendency to alter blood sugar levels.
All veggies are nutrient-dense, which needs to be emphasized. From heart disease to specific types of cancer, “we know that a diet rich in produce can help lower risk for a lot of chronic diseases,” Sassos says. “Vegetables, in general, are a vital component of a healthy diet because they are packed with a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and more.” There are several options available if you want to increase your diet of low-carb vegetables in particular. Need inspiration?
According to Gans, leafy greens like spinach, romaine, kale, and collard greens are good sources of antioxidants that aid in the body’s defense against free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that harm cells and cannot be destroyed; they are found in chemicals, air pollution, and even the sun’s UV radiation. Free radical exposure over time can harm the body’s cells, which can be harmful to health. Think of meals high in antioxidants, such as leafy greens, as a shield. The two other health advantages of this low-carb diet are that “dark leafy greens especially deliver bone-promoting calcium and heart-healthy folate,” adds Gans.
Because a medium zucchini only has six grams of carbohydrates, spiralized zucchini has become a well-liked substitute for regular pasta as a means of reducing carbohydrate intake. In many recipes, zucchini noodles are a wonderful substitute for spaghetti and lasagna since they lower blood sugar levels, according to Sassos. In addition, squash has vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system, and is an excellent source of fiber, which helps with digestion.
Broccoli is another low-carb veggie that helps the immune system. According to Sassos, “a cup of broccoli contains even more vitamin C than an orange.” Really impressive, no? She further claims that lutein and zeaxanthin, which are essential for eye health, are found in broccoli. And that’s not all. Gans continues by pointing out that broccoli contains the vitamins E and K, both of which aid in preventing chronic disease and illness.
Similar in some ways to broccoli, cauliflower offers many of the same health advantages without significantly increasing the number of carbohydrates in your diet. Cauliflower, according to Gans, contains the vitamins C, E, and K. In actuality, one serving of cauliflower has the full quantity of vitamin C required daily.
A simple side of glazed green beans isn’t just delicious; scientific studies have shown that this veg is good for heart health. This is because they’re full of soluble fiber, which has been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind). They also have vitamin K, which Gans says is important to the body because it helps with blood clotting, regulates blood calcium levels, and may play a role in wound healing.
Mushrooms are magic — even if they’re just of the shiitake, button, and portobello variety. “Many mushrooms contain vitamin D, which sets it apart from other veggies,” Gans says, adding that vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption.
Because bell peppers are so high in vitamin C, whether you eat them stuffed, marinated, or combined into a dip, you’ll be doing your immune system a huge favor. Bell peppers may also help lower the risk for heart disease and several malignancies since they are high in carotenoids, another antioxidant with anti-inflammatory characteristics, according to Gans.
Another low-carb vegetable that is particularly beneficial for cardiovascular health and has been linked to decreasing LDL cholesterol is asparagus. Sassos gives the following expert advice to keep your asparagus fresh: The stalks’ edges should be wrapped in a moist paper towel before being put in a plastic bag and then put in the refrigerator. They will endure even longer as a result of this. By doing this, you’ll have more time to prepare great vegetable dishes like roasted asparagus with creamy feta.
Celery is a very low-carb and low-calorie strategy to increase your fiber content; it’s not just for dipping in peanut butter or using it as a Bloody Mary garnish. Celery also includes apigenin, a flavonoid that, according to studies, can prevent breast cancer cells from blocking their demise by transforming them into healthy cells that pass away when they should, says Sassos.
Cucumbers are one of the produce section’s most hydrating veggies, with a water content of roughly 96%. They are a true beauty food that is wonderful for your skin because of the moisture advantages and antioxidant content. Look for heavy-sized, firm cucumbers that are a deep green tint, advises Sassos. This shows that the vegetable is ripe and nutrient-rich at this point.
According to Sassos, specific elements present in cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables may help prevent some malignancies. To date, one scientific study has discovered a decreased rate of breast cancer in Americans from Poland who regularly ate cabbage and sauerkraut as children compared to Americans who did not routinely consume these foods as children.
Despite being filling, avocados are low in carbohydrates; half of an avocado comprises roughly 8.5 grams. According to Sassos, avocados don’t contain any cholesterol, but the unsaturated fats they do have may help keep “bad” cholesterol in check. The Hass Avocado Board claims that avocados are also the fruit that contains the highest concentration of phytosterols, essential substances that decrease cholesterol. That means you may add it to your list of heart-healthy foods as another low-carb vegetable (actually a fruit).
Adding Brussels sprouts to your dinner can be a terrific way to obtain a big serving of fibre before your dish even arrives. They have become a staple menu item at hip eateries. Only eight grammes of carbs are in one serving, and regular consumption helps to maintain cardiac, immunological, and digestive health. Look for Brussels sprouts that are firm, compact, and brilliant green when purchasing them to prepare at home. Remember that the leaves cook more quickly than the core, so split them in half or quarters before roasting or, if you’re blanching them whole, cut an ‘X’ at the bottom of the stem.
Another low-carb vegetable that Sassos recommends including in your meals is beets. Particularly good sources of potassium, which is important for the health of the heart and nervous system, are beets. Additionally, it has a lot of folates, which are vital for cellular health. Uncertain about how to use your beets? Try adding them to a fettuccine meal with goat cheese and walnuts.