We have heard doctors say that vegetables are good for your health. It’s no wonder that our body needs vitamins and minerals which are found only in vegetables. But did you know that to lose weight on keto diet you will specifically need low carb vegetables?
Low carb vegetables forms the backbone of ketogenic diet. We get that you need to hit your ratio of macros in 75% fats, 20% proteins and 5% carbs. But not all vegetables are low carb in nature.
So experts have a rule of thumb to identify which ones are low carb vegetables and which are high in carbs. Remember, on strict ketogenic diet you need to maintain 20g carbs per day; neither more nor less than that.
One way to identify low carb vegetables is to determine whether that vegetable grows above or below the ground. The vegetables that grow above the ground have low carbs in it. And the ones that grow below the ground have high carbs. This is not always true but you can use that for a reference point.
Some examples of low carb vegetables are spinach, asparagus, lettuce, avocado, cabbage, cucumber and more. These also happen to grow above the ground
Examples of high carb vegetables include carrot, potato, onion, beetroot, parsnip etc.
In this blog we will focus on benefits of low carb vegetables that will make your body balance right. Excess of everything is bad and you will have to consume even keto-friendly food in moderation.
It’s not ironic that popeys’ super food is spinach. Spinach is the only low carb vegetable that fullfills 10 times your daily requirement for vitamin k. Vitamin k is known for facilitating healing wounds and blood clotting. However, the low carb nature of this vegetable makes it an excellent choice for ketodiet.
To make our claim straight, 1 cup of cooked spinach provides 7g of carbs. If you don’t want to go over your carb macros of 20g per day just eat 1 cup of raw spinach, as it contains just 1g of carbs.
The increase in carbs for cooked spinach is because leaves lose their volume and carb content gets concentrated.
Broccoli is the staple food for low carb vegetables. Every kitchen of ketonians should have stock piles of broccoli. It is not only easy to cook but comes jam packed with vitamin c and vitamin k. Just 1 cup of broccoli would satisfy 100% of your daily vitamin c and vitamin k needs.
Research has shown that eating broccolis prevent cancers like prostate cancer. It also reduce insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes.
1 cup of uncooked broccoli contains 6g of carbs. It is good for glowing skin and tissue repairs as well.
Avocado is technically a fruit but is used widely as a vegetable. These low carb vegetables are rich in vitamin c, potassium and folate. It’s also rich in fats so you can use it boost your fat macros as well.
1 cup of avocado has only 3g of carbs which is great to keep your 20g carbs intake in check.
There are numerous health benefits of avocados. It lowers triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels and have good effect on heart health.
Avocado is high calorie food as compared to other low carb vegetables but is equally satiate. This helps in management of weight. One study found out that obese people feel full for 5 hours when they eat half avocado for lunch. We can say it curbs hunger brilliantly.
Lettuce is one of the most low carb vegetables on earth. It has only 2g of carbs per cup. It is also an excellent source of folate vitamin c, vitamin a and vitamin k. Folate is known for lowering a compound linked to heart disease, called homosystiene
One study showed that people on high folate diet decreased homosystiene levels by 13%. You can eat raw lettuce in your salad or make a lettuce burger without buns. Either way you will find it keto-friendly.
Cauliflower belongs to the most popular low carb vegetables category. It comes under cruciferous vegetable family like cabbage, lettuce and broccoli. They are heart-friendly and equally nutritious.
1 cup of cauliflower contains only 5g of carbs. It is a good alternative to high carb vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Cauliflower has a very mild taste and rich in vitamin c and k as well. Consuming just 1 cup will fulfill your 77% of daily vitamin c needs.
There are very good recipes of cauliflowers in ketodiet. You can grind the cauliflower as flour and use it as pizza dough. In fact, most of keto dishes use cauliflower as a base for delicious recipes.
Eggplant is the most eccentric low carb vegetables because it is widely used in many Asian and Italian dishes. Even though, it is not a good source of vitamins and minerals but it contains anti-oxidant, nasunin. This compound helps fight free radicals in brain and lowers blood cholesterol levels.
1 cup of eggplant has only 8g of carbs. It is equally beneficial for heart and brain health.
Like avocado, tomatoes are also fruits but consumed commonly as low carb vegetables.
It is an excellent source of vitamin c, vitamin k and vitamin a. The high content of potassium in tomatoes reduces stroke risk and decreases high blood pressure.
There is only 6g of carbs in 1 cup of chopped tomatoes. The compound called lycopene, found in tomatoes, help prevent prostate cancer. This delicious food helps strengthen endothelial cells of your arteries as well.
If you want to further increase lycopene content, you can cook the tomatoes in olive oil.
Onions are your low carb vegetables with strong smell. They are consumed in small quantities as compared to other vegetables due to their strong tangy flavor.
1/2 cup of onions contains 6g of carbs.
They are also high in antioxidant called quercitin, which helps in lowering blood pressure.
One study found that obese women with an ovarian syndrome reported lower cholesterol levels after consuming onions.
Cucumbers are cool and refreshing low carb vegetables. They are best to beat the heat of summers.
95% content of cucumber is made of water. It is not a good source of vitamins and minerals. However, it contains an antioxidant cucurbitacin that has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
1 cup of finely chopped cucumbers has only 4g of carbs.
Animal studies show that cucumbers may boost brain health as well.
Garlic is best known for its beneficial effects on immune system.
Studies have shown that it may reduce blood pressure and increase body’s resistance to common cold.
Just like onions, garlic cannot be consumed too much because of its strong flavor and smell. So we advise to consume 1 clove of garlic which contains only 1g of carbs including fiber.
11. Green Beans:
Green beans belong to legume family like lentils and red beans. These low carb vegetables are sometimes called string beans or snap beans.
They contain fewer amounts of carbs than other legumes. 1 cup of cooked green beans contain 10g of carbs, 4 of which are fiber. So it only contains 6g of net carbs
It also contains cholorphyll that are helpful in preventing certain cancers.
Further, it has carotenoids that improve brain function during old age.
There are a lot of types of zucchini ranging from summer squash, winter squash and yellow Italian squash. The nutrients of all these variants are almost similar in nature.
The one that is edible is summer squash which has soft skin and is long in structure. The winter squash has more carb content and has inedible skin.
There are only 4g of carbs in 1 cup of zucchini. 1 of which is fiber so only 3g of net carbs. It is also a good source of vitamin c that provides 35% of daily intake needs.
Studies show that zucchini improves digestion and aids in weight loss.
Mushrooms are cute umbrella shaped small vegetables. These low carb vegetables are good source of plant based proteins, hence great source of nutrients for vegetarians as well.
White mushrooms have very low carb content. 1 cup of mushrooms has only 2g of carbs, 1 g of fiber, and 1g of net carbs.
Studies have shown that mushrooms intake improve metabolic syndrome in men. After 16 weeks of mushroom diet patients reported improvement in anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant measures.
It is also a good source of B vitamins, potassium and selenium.
Asparagus is one of low carb vegetables that grows in spring season. It is a great source of vitamin a, vitamin k and vitamin c.
1 cup of cooked asparagus contains 8g of carbs, 4g of which are fiber, so there are only 4g net carbs that you need to count.
Studies on mice showed that it reduces anxiety levels and promotes good brain health. Test-tube experiment shows that it prevents the growth of many types of cancers
15. Bell Peppers:
Bell peppers are low carb vegetables that are very tasty and equally nutritious. It is also called capsicums, and found in colors like yellow, orange, red and green
All bell peppers have same nutrition but different antioxidant profiles.
1 cup of chopped red capsicum contains 9g of carbs, 6g of which are net carbs and 3g are fiber.
It fulfills 93% of your daily intake for vitamin a and massive 317% daily intake for vitamin c.
Numerous studies show that antioxidants like carotenoids are beneficial in reducing inflammation, cholesterol levels and cancer risk.
Cabbage is a humble vegetable of cruciferous family. Even though it has moderate vitamins and minerals its health benefits are unmatched.
It helps reduce risk of cancers like stomach and esophageal cancer. Its water content prevents constipation and promotes good digestion.
1 cup of chopped cabbage contains 5g of carbs, 2g of which is net carbs, and 3g are fiber.
It also provides with 85% your daily intake for vitamin k and 54% daily intake for vitamin c.
Kale is a cool vegetable that happens to be dense in nutrients as well.
It is jam-packed with anti-oxidants like kaempferol and quercetin
Studies have shown that consuming kale in moderate amounts help lowers blood pressure and fight against numerous heart diseases and even type 2 diabetes.
Consuming 1 cup of kale contains 7g of carbs, 6g of which are net carbs and only 1g of fiber. It provides a whopping 206% of your daily intake for vitamin a; along with 134% of vitamin c.
Vitamin c is known for improving skin glow, slowing down aging aging process and enhancing immune functions.
Artichokes are low carb vegetables that are equally delicious and nutritious.
One average size artichoke contains 14g of carbs; 10g of it comes from fiber and only 4g are digestible net carbs. There is also a prebiotic gut bacterium called inulin that aids in smooth digestion.
Studies confirm that artichokes lower high cholesterol, reduce inflammation and promote healthy heart function.
Celery belongs to marshland plant family but has been used as vegetable for recent past. It has very low net carbs content. That’s why it’s great to have it in your keto journey.
1 cup of finely chopped celery contains 3g of carbs, 1 of which is net carbs and 2g are fiber. It is a decent source of vitamin k, providing 37% of your daily intake.
Further, it has antioxidant luteolin that may help prevent and treat certain cancers.
Radishes are technically root vegetables that have low carbs content. It belongs to brassicaceae family and has a very strong tangy taste.