Top 8 Low-Carb Vegetables as suggested by nutrition experts

The Top 8 Low-Carb Vegetables Suggested by Nutritionists

Enjoy them in delectable ways too!

You may be wondering if you should avoid carbs or if they’re healthy for you after reading about the popularity of low-carb diets like Atkins and keto. The body uses carbohydrates as its main energy source and as a necessary nutrient. Reducing your intake of carbs can lower your energy levels and raise your chance of experiencing other symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and constipation.

However, those with specific medical disorders, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and insulin resistance, must be careful with how many carbohydrates they eat. To be clear, people with these disorders shouldn’t completely avoid carbohydrates (unless their doctors advise otherwise). Instead, the American Diabetes Association suggests that people with these conditions pay attention to the kind, quantity, and combinations of carbohydrates they eat. By doing this, they can better control their blood sugar levels and avoid spikes.

Grains are not the only dietary group that contains carbohydrates. In varying quantities, this vitamin can also be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products. In this piece, a number of dietitians assist us in determining which vegetables have the fewest carbohydrates and explain how they can be beneficial for those with long-term health conditions.

1. Spinach

Not only is spinach a versatile food, but it is also nutrient-dense. “Spinach is high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and a number of vitamins. In addition, it’s a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, and folate, according to nutritionist Crystal Scott, M.S., RDN, of Top Nutrition Coaching. According to a 2023 research that was published in Molecules, alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant present in spinach, helps to lessen the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and illnesses linked to the metabolism.

Scott suggests sautéing spinach with garlic and olive oil until it becomes a light sauté, or adding it to soups, salads, and omelets. According to her, “The fiber content helps slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.” As per the USDA, one cup of raw spinach has only one gram of carbohydrates.

2. Kale

Kale is a superfood that is high in vitamins, minerals, and selenium, which is necessary for the production of antioxidant enzymes in the body. Antioxidant enzymes assist in preventing cell damage, claims MedlinePlus. For anyone with diabetes, leafy greens like kale are a great supplement. Leafy greens are an excellent mainstay in a diabetic-friendly diet because they are low in carbohydrates and have little effect on blood sugar, according to Dietitian Meets Mom owner Josten Fish, RD. One cup of kale has fewer than one gram of carbohydrates, according to the USDA. Fish suggests that you try these crunchy and delicious Kale Chips.

3. Cauliflower

Recipes for cauliflower steak have made this vegetable more well-known. Nutrient-dense cauliflower is full of fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamins C and K. Cauliflower is a rich source of protocatechuic acid (PCA), a bioavailable antioxidant that reduces inflammation in diabetes, according to a 2023 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition. The authors of the study came to the conclusion that eating foods high in PCA, such cauliflower, on a regular basis will help heart health in patients with diabetes. Chopped cauliflower includes slightly more than 5 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Are you looking for more recipes with cauliflower? Consider dipping it in this Ranch Style Chipotle Dressing.

4. Zucchini

Zucchini is another vegetable that Scott suggests adding to your diet. “Kefir, folate, and vitamin C are all present in spinach. Additionally, it has fiber, which can help with digestion, and is low in calories,” the speaker claims. It also won’t cause a blood sugar increase because it has fewer carbohydrates. A cup of cooked zucchini contains fewer than 5 grams of carbohydrates, according to the USDA. Zucchini has the lowest possible glycemic load of any food—1, according to the American Diabetes Association. According to Scott, “Glycemic load (GL) is a measurement that accounts for a food’s GI as well as the quantity of carbohydrates it contains in a typical meal. It gives a more realistic impression of how a particular diet may impact blood sugar levels.” Try our tasty and nourishing Shrimp Scampi Zoodles for dinner.

5. Artichokes

The owner of Nourished with Emily, registered dietitian Emily Tills, RD, suggests selecting veggies that are high in fiber in addition to counting the number of carbohydrates. As the USDA states, artichokes offer more fiber than most other vegetables on this list—more than 8 grams per cup of hearts—that she brings up. It has a higher fiber content, which lowers the influence on blood sugar. Fiber slows down the digestive process and increases bloodstream energy levels,” the speaker says. Enjoying these Smashed Artichokes with Lemon-Dill Aioli is a great way to get all the health benefits of artichokes.

6. Broccoli

According to the USDA, this vegetable has 6 grams of carbohydrates per cup (raw and diced), but it’s also full of fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamins C and K. Not only that, but broccoli belongs to the brassica family, which is well-known for its many health advantages. According to a 2023 paper in Frontiers in Nutrition, brassicas have anti-diabetic properties by reducing inflammation in the body and are high in selenium. After combining broccoli with garlic, olive oil, and a dash of red pepper flakes, Scott suggests roasting it in the oven.

7. Asparagus

Another vegetable with a low glycemic load score of 1 is asparagus, which Tills points out is one of the lowest-carb and highest-fiber veggies. “Vegetables that have a low net-carb count will have a lesser impact on blood sugar levels,” she claims. Asparagus meets the requirement because its fiber accounts for over half of its carbohydrates. Four asparagus spears have less than three grams of carbohydrates, of which 1.2 grams are fiber, according to the USDA. If asparagus doesn’t appeal to you, you might only need to top it with a flavorful cheese. Try our recipe for Cheesy Asparagus.

8. Brussels Sprouts

In addition to many other health advantages, fiber helps control blood sugar levels. This powerful ingredient can also lower the risk of cancer, maintain good cholesterol levels, and encourage a healthy weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You guessed it: it happened! Though they have less carbohydrates, Brussels sprouts are high in fiber. Less than 8 grams of carbohydrates and nearly 4 grams of fiber are included in one cup of raw Brussels sprouts, according to the USDA. Try roasting or steaming them if you’re unsure about the correct way to prepare this cruciferous vegetable.

In summary

Part of a nutritious and well-balanced diet, carbohydrates are an essential component. Still, those with certain diseases, such as diabetes, might need to be especially mindful of how much and what kind of food they eat during the day. With less carbohydrates, these vegetables can provide you energy all day long. You’ll never grow tired of them either because there are so many delectable ways to prepare them.

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