22 Jun The 21 Best Low-Carb Veggies, Part One
Vegetables are low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.
The definition of a low-carb diet varies 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 a great idea.
Here is Part One of Two in our mini-series about the 21 best low-carb vegetables to include in your diet.
|1 cup (149g)||6g||3g||Bell peppers are anti-inflammatory and high in vitamins A and C. They contain 6 grams of digestible (net) carbs per serving.|
Bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers or capsicums, are incredibly nutritious. They contain antioxidants called carotenoids that may reduce inflammation, decrease cancer risk and protect cholesterol and fats from oxidative damage. 1 2 3
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.
|1 cup (91g)||4g||2g||Broccoli contains 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It is high in vitamins C and K and may reduce insulin resistance and help prevent cancer.|
Studies show that broccoli may decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. It’s also thought to protect against several types of cancer, including prostate cancer, and also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins C and K. 5 6 7 8
|1 cup (180g)||4g||4g||Asparagus contains 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s a good source of several vitamins and may help protect against certain types of cancer.|
One cup (180 grams) of cooked asparagus contains 8 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins A, C and K. 9
|1 cup (70g)||1g||1g||Mushrooms contain 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. They can reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome.|
In a study in men with metabolic syndrome, eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of white mushrooms for 16 weeks led to significant improvements in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory markers. 17
|1 cup (124g)||3g||1g||Zucchini and other types of summer squash contain 3 grams of digestible carbs per serving and are high in vitamin C.|
Zucchini is a popular vegetable and the most common type of summer squash. Summer squash is long with soft skin that can be eaten, whereas winter squash comes in a variety of shapes, has an inedible rind and is higher in carbs than summer varieties.
Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C, providing 35% of the RDI per serving. 18
Yellow Italian squash and other types of summer squash have carb counts and nutrient profiles similar to zucchini.
|1 cup (180g)||3g (cooked)||4g (cooked)||Cooked spinach contains 3 grams of digestible carbs per serving, is very high in vitamin K and helps protect heart and eye health.|
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that provides major health benefits.
What’s more, 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. 22
Spinach is also low in carbs, but the carbs become more concentrated as the leaves are cooked down and lose their volume.
|1 cup (180g)||3g (cooked)||4g (cooked)||Avocados provide 3 grams of net carbs per serving. They promote feelings of fullness and are high in heart-healthy fat and fiber.|
Although technically a fruit, avocados are typically consumed as vegetables. They’re also high in fat and contain very few digestible carbs.
A one-cup (150-gram) serving of chopped avocados has 13 grams of carbs, 10 of which are fiber. 24
Avocados are also rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that has beneficial effects on health. Small studies have found that avocados can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. 25 26
They’re also a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Although avocados are a fairly high-calorie food, they may be beneficial for weight 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. 27
|1 cup (100g)||2g||3g||Cauliflower contains 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It is also high in vitamins K and C and may help prevent heart disease and cancer.|
Cauliflower 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. It’s also high in vitamin K and provides 77% of the RDI for vitamin C. 28
|1 cup (125g)||6g||4g||Green beans contain 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving, as well as antioxidants that may help prevent cancer and protect the brain.|
Green beans—sometimes referred to as snap beans or string beans—are a member of the legume family, along with beans and lentils. However, green beans have significantly fewer carbs than most legumes.
|1 cup (47g)||1g||1g||Lettuce contains 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in several vitamins, including folate, which may lower heart disease risk.|
Lettuce is one of the lowest-carb vegetables around. Depending on the type, it may also be a good source of certain vitamins. For instance, romaine and other dark-green varieties are rich in vitamins A, C and K.
Lettuce is also high in folate. Folate 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. 35