Experts agree that too much intake of carbohydrates can lead to type-2 diabetes. And that is not the only disease that can hit you when the carbs in your diet are not well balanced. There’s also the risk of thickened arteries and brain fog.
What Are Low Carb Vegetables?
Low carb vegetables are vegetables that apart from having low-calorie content, also have low carbohydrates content.
But aren’t all vegetables low in carbohydrates?
Well, that is not the exact case. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots have larger amounts of carbohydrates.
A low carb diet usually consists of 50 (or less) grams of carbohydrates per day. Apart from the low carb count, these low carb vegetables are usually high in fiber, minerals and vitamin content.
For instance, an Avocado has 8g of carbohydrates in total. The net amount of carbs, however, is just 2g. This is because 6g of the carb content is fiber which is indigestible in the body but is still important in promoting digestion of other food.
In nutrition, the net carbohydrates count is the most important count. This is because this net amount is what is actually digested and used by the body.
Why Are Low Carb Vegetables Important?
According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey done in 2013 to 2014, more than 1 in 3 adults in America is overweight. This translates to about 33% of the population that is living above their recommended weight.
For this demographic, extreme weight loss measures such as limiting portion sizes, strict exercising routines and counting calories is the order of the day in tackling weight loss. However, a simpler option is available.
That is the use of low carb vegetables, a method also known as ketogenic diet. So what is it?
Ketosis is a term used to describe a state where your body no longer burns sugars to get energy but rather burns fats. This effect is achieved through ketogenic diet.
How Ketogenic Diet Really Works
For most people, the body is used to burning sugars in place of fats and proteins. When the blood sugar levels drop, the body switches from carbohydrates and instead it starts burning fats.
The ketogenic diet reduces the intake of carbohydrates while promoting the intake of other nutrients such as rich fats, vitamins, minerals, and fibers. This triggers the body to start burning fats to produce energy.
At this point, the body gets into a state known as ketosis. And what’s good about this state?
Since the main cause of being overweight is a large body-fat store, the huge chunks of fat stored within your body slowly get consumed as they get burnt to produce energy for your day to day activities. And with that, you lose weight through a very simple low carb vegetable diet plan.
Is It All About Weight Loss?
The answer to that is no.
Low carb vegetables are not only for those struggling with weight loss but also for the healthy adults who want to have a healthier dietary plan.
This is because the high amount of fibers and vitamins that are contained within these low carb vegetables are essential in promoting digestion and healthy cell growth.
For instance, the fibers present in these vegetables reduce chances of constipation. And by promoting better digestion, these fibers ensure that most of the food you have taken in gets fully digested for use by the body.
Which Low Carb Vegetables Are Best to Add to My Diet?
Spinach is almost a zero carb vegetable. This is because it only offers 1 gram of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fibers per cup. This makes it a very good inclusion in a low carb diet.
Apart from its intriguing low carbohydrate properties, this big leafy vegetable packs a lot of minerals and vitamins. Specifically, the spinach has very low fat and cholesterol levels, high amounts of niacin and zinc, and vitamins B6, A, C, E, and K.
The high number of flavonoids present in spinach also act as antioxidants that prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. This, in turn, protects the body from free radicals that affect the colon.
By including a 100g serving of broccoli in your diet plan, you are adding 2g of net carbohydrates and 3g of fiber to your body.
But that’s not all.
Broccoli also carries vitamins, mineral, and nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin E, phosphorus, pantothenic acid among others.
How useful are these nutrients and minerals?
Dietary fiber, for instance, helps with weight loss. The rest of the nutrients assist in better eyesight, decreasing risks of chronic diseases and cancer, plus maintaining healthy skin.
Kale is an affordable yet nutritious, low carb vegetable.
For a 100g serving of this veggie, you get 2g of fiber and 7g of net carbohydrates in your body. You also get vitamins A, K, C, and B6 in generous quantities. On the other hand, this vegetable also provides your body with the minerals manganese, potassium, copper, and calcium.
For what use?
Since it is high in fiber content, kale significantly contributes to weight loss. Its rich supply of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities also helps decrease the coronary artery disease.
4. Bell Peppers
Also known as sweet peppers or capsicum, bell peppers are one of the most nutritious, low carb vegetables you can buy.
A 149 gram serving of this veggie contributes 9 grams of carbohydrates, 6 of which are net grams while 3 are fibers.
Bell peppers have been proven to provide anti-inflammatory qualities, prevent fats and cholesterol from oxidative damage, and decrease the risk of cancer.
In this range, the red pepper is the most nutritious of them all, compared to orange, yellow, and green bell peppers.
For those of you who were concerned that low carb vegetables are all about weight loss, then this is one vegetable that should prove you wrong.
Asparagus is a very nutritious spring vegetable that according to studies, is one of the healthiest selections you can ever make for your diet.
First, a single cup serving of this veggie provides 8 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fibers. The asparagus has been tested on mice, and several results have shown that the veggie promotes good mental health.
Additionally, this vegetable reduces anxiety and suppresses multiple forms of cancer in the body.
Cabbage is high in sulfur, which is important in treating acne and making your nails, hair, and skin look healthy. Cabbages also reduce the risk of multiple forms of cancer.
A single cup serving of this veggie contributes 3g of fiber and 3g of net carbs into your body.
The radish is one of the few low carb vegetables that reduce the risk of breast cancer and high blood pressure.
Radish’s contain anthocyanin and phytochemicals that help to regulate high blood pressure, while also possessing anti-cancer properties.
In particular, its benefit in preventing breast cancer is largely seen in post-menopause women. How radish achieves this feat is that it changes how estrogen is metabolized, in the process reducing the chances of breast cancer forming.
A 100g serving of this veggie contains 2g of net carbs and 2g of fiber.
Though most of the time eating lettuce is much like eating air, this veggie is packed with a large number of useful nutrients.
In particular, lettuce is packed with potassium, zinc, vitamins A and K, folate and good amounts of fiber.
A single cup serving of shredded lettuce provides 1g of carbohydrates. If you are seeking the highest nutritional content, then you should go for dark green and red lettuce.
From 100g of eggplant, you get 3g of net carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. On top of that, the eggplant is rich in chlorogenic acid that reduces inflammation and enhances the skin tone.
The high fiber content in this veggie makes it suitable for preventing constipation since the fibers help in digestion.
Cauliflower is yet another veggie that is highly recommended on a low carb diet.
The cauliflower is classified as a cruciferous vegetable. This means that the plant has very good cancer prevention qualities.
These qualities may be attributed to the abundance of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins in the vegetable. Some of these include vitamins A, C and K, folate and iron.
Out of 100g, cauliflower offers your body 2.5g of fiber and 2.5g of net carbs.
This may not be the most nutritious vegetable in the list in terms of nutrient content, but recent studies have shown that this may be the most promising in the lot.
According to numerous studies that have been done to date, cucumber has shown strong anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer qualities.
But what really sets this vegetable apart from the rest is that more studies have shown that eating cucumber regularly cannot only reduce metabolic dysfunction but also obesity.
How does it achieve this?
Cucumber has a unique nutrient, called the Cucurbitacin E. This compound is responsible for most of the plant’s wonders. Additionally, further studies have shown that the Cucurbitacin E works in conjunction with the high silica content to promote better joint health.
From 100g of this plant, you get 1g of fiber and 2g of carbs.
Mushrooms are among the low carb vegetables with the lowest amount of carbs per 100g. To be precise, a 70g serving of this veggie only provides 1 gram of net carbs, out of 2 grams.
Despite this low carbohydrate count, the mushroom has been found to possess excellent anti-inflammatory qualities.
Matter of fact, a study was done on a set of men who were suffering from a metabolic syndrome, where each was given 100 grams of mushrooms to eat per day, for 16 weeks. After the 16-week period, there were tremendous improvements in their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant markers.
Let us know in the comments if there are any other veggies that should be included!