Eat your veggies. It’s a command most have heard since they were old enough to hold a fork, and if you’re a parent you probably tell your own kids about it all the time. Even if we knows Eating vegetables is important, but most of us are not good at it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 10 percent of adults meet the recommended daily allowance for fruits and vegetables.
While all vegetables are packed with beneficial nutrients, particularly low-carb vegetables are a great way to make a meal more filling without significantly adding calories. “Vegetables are packed with health-promoting vitamins and minerals, as well as filling fiber. They’re the perfect addition to building a healthy plate without adding a lot of extra calories,” says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, a Registered Dietitian, author of The pocket change diet and host of The Keri Report podcast.
“Vegetables are generally divided into two groups, starchy and non-starchy,” says Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian and associate director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab. Sassos explains that starchy vegetables are typically higher in carbohydrates and lower in fiber than their non-starchy counterparts. She also points out that starchy vegetables tend to affect blood sugar levels more.
It must be repeated that all vegetables are nutritious. “We know that a product-rich diet can help reduce the risk of a range of chronic diseases, from heart disease to certain types of cancer,” says Sassos. “Vegetables in general are packed with a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and more, making them an essential part of a healthy diet.” If you’re looking to eat particularly low-carb vegetables, there’s no shortage of choice. Need ideas? how about 15
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“Leaf greens like spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, and kale are good sources of antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radicals,” says Gans. Free radicals are atoms that damage cells and cannot be escaped; They’re in air pollution, chemicals, and even the sun’s UV rays. Over time, exposure to free radicals can damage the body’s cells, which can have a negative impact on health. Consider foods rich in antioxidants, like leafy greens, as a shield. “Dark leafy greens primarily provide bone-boosting calcium and heart-healthy folate,” adds Gans, listing two other health benefits of this low-carb food.
There’s a reason spiralized zucchini has become a popular way to reduce carbs instead of traditional pasta; a medium zucchini has only six grams of carbohydrates. “Zucchini noodles are a great substitute for spaghetti and lasagna in many recipes and help keep blood sugar levels in check,” says Sassos. Goose adds that the squash is a good source of fiber, which promotes digestive health, and also contains vitamin C, which supports the immune system.
Another low-carb vegetable that supports the immune system is broccoli. “A cup of broccoli contains even more vitamin C than an orange,” says Sassos. Pretty impressive, right? She also says broccoli contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are vital for eye health. That is not all. Goose adds that broccoli contains vitamins E and K, both of which help protect against chronic illness and disease.
A kind of cousin to broccoli, cauliflower offers just as many nutritional benefits without significantly increasing the carbohydrate content of your meal. Like broccoli, goose says cauliflower contains vitamins C, E, and K. In fact, one serving of cauliflower contains the entire recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
Mushrooms really are magical—even if they’re just shiitake, button, and portobello varieties. “Many mushrooms contain vitamin D, which sets them apart from other vegetables,” says Gans, adding that vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption.
Whether you enjoy peppers stuffed, marinated, or mixed into a dip, you’re doing your immune system a huge favor — they’re packed with vitamin C. “They’re also high in carotenoids, another antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, so peppers can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer,” says Gans.
Asparagus is another low-carb vegetable that is particularly good for cardiovascular health and has also been linked to lowering LDL cholesterol. Sassos shares a pro tip for keeping your asparagus fresh: wrap the edges of the spears in a damp paper towel, then place them in a plastic bag before refrigerating. This will help them last even longer. That way you have more time to prepare roasted asparagus with creamy feta or enjoy the vegetables in other delicious ways.
Celery isn’t just a vehicle for peanut butter or a Bloody Mary side dish; It’s a super low-carb, low-calorie way to increase your fiber levels. “Celery also contains apigenin, a flavonoid that research shows may play a role in preventing breast cancer cells from inhibiting their own death by turning them into normal cells that die on a scheduled basis,” says Sassos.
With a water content of around 96 percent, cucumbers are one of the most hydrating vegetables you’ll find in the produce department. The moisturizing benefits combined with the antioxidant content make them a real beauty food that is good for your skin. “Look for firm cucumbers that are dark green in color and heavy,” says Sassos. This indicates that the vegetable is at its ripest and most nutritious.
“Certain nutrients found in cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables may help prevent certain types of cancer,” says Sassos. To this point, a scientific study found a lower rate of breast cancer in US people from Poland who regularly ate cabbage and sauerkraut growing up compared to Americans who did not eat these foods regularly when they were younger.
Although avocados are filling, they’re not high in carbohydrates; half an avocado has about 8.5 grams. “Avocados themselves contain no cholesterol and the unsaturated fats they contain do can help keep “bad” cholesterol in check,” says Sassos. “According to the Hass Avocado Board, avocados are also the richest known fruit source of phytosterols, important cholesterol-lowering compounds.” That means it’s another low-carb vegetable (well, technically a fruit) to add to your heart-healthy food list be able.
Brussels sprouts have become a staple on menus at trendy restaurants, and adding them to your meal can be a great way to get a good dose of fiber before your main course even arrives. One serving has only eight grams of carbohydrates and regular consumption supports the digestive system, immune system health and heart health. If you’re buying Brussels sprouts to cook at home, look for firm, compact, and light green ones. “Remember, the leaves cook faster than the core, so cut them in halves or quarters if you’re frying them, or cut an ‘X’ in the stem if you’re blanching them whole,” says Sassos.
Beets are another low-carb vegetable that Sassos says is worth including in your meals. Beets, in particular, are a good source of potassium, an important nutrient for heart and nervous system health. It’s also a good source of folate, which is important for cellular health. Don’t know what to do with your turnips? Try including them in a hazelnut and goat cheese fettuccine dish.
“All vegetables, regardless of the amount of carbohydrates, should be part of a healthy eating plan,” says Gans. If you don’t like steamed vegetables, encourage them to experiment with cooking them in different ways, such as: B. grilling, roasting or light searing. Then incorporate them into foods you like, like pasta sauces, stews, soups, or omelettes.
Bookmark the highlighted list of 15 Low Carb Vegetables here and make it your goal to cook with a new selection each week. Not only will your meals become tastier, but you’ll also increase your intake of fiber and other nutrients at the same time.
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Emily Laurence is a freelance writer and certified health coach. She specializes in writing on mental health, fitness, healthy eating and social justice issues. Emily spent six years as an editor and writer at Well+Good, covering everything from food trends to serious issues like America’s opioid crisis, gun violence and female sexual abuse in hospitals. She has also worked for Seventeen, Elle and Twist magazines. Her work is regularly featured online for publications such as Forbes, Parade, Shape and The Huffington Post. Emily lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her cat Evie.
As a certified nutritionist, Stefani Sassos is dedicated to evidence-based nutrition reporting. She takes the pulse of the latest nutrition research and trends, and translates for readers which principles are scientifically backed and worth incorporating into a healthy lifestyle (and which fads are worth avoiding). She believes in the power of a plant-based diet and is passionate about finding ways to incorporate nutritious products into everyday meals and recipes.
Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, is a Board Certified Dietitian and Registered Dietitian. She is the author of The One Small Change Diet and the host of The Keri Report podcast. As an expert in healthy nutrition, Gans regularly contributes to US News & World Report, shape and Forbes Health.
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