Diet & Nutrition : Vegetables High in Carbohydrates
Some vegetables that are high in carbohydrates are potatoes, corn, dry beans and peas, although each of these has a different effect on blood sugar. Find out how white potatoes cause blood sugar to spike quickly with help from a licensed dietitian/nutritionist in this free video on vegetables and carbohydrates.
Expert: Heidi Kaufman
Bio: Heidi Kaufman is a licensed dietitian and nutritionist, and she is a certified diabetes educator for Partners in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition in Wilmington, North Carolina.
List of Best Low-Carb Vegetables
Vegetables are low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. In addition, many are low in carbs and high in fiber, making them ideal for low-carb diets. 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 a list of the 21 best low-carb vegetables to include in your diet.
1. Bell Peppers
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. Green, orange and yellow bell peppers have similar nutrient profiles, although their antioxidant contents may vary.
Bell peppers are anti-inflammatory and high in vitamins A and C. They contain 6 grams of digestible (net) carbs per serving.
Broccoli is a true superfood.
It’s a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, Brussels sprouts, radishes and cabbage.
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. It also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins C and K.
Broccoli contains 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in vitamins C and K and may reduce insulin resistance and help prevent cancer.
Asparagus is a delicious spring vegetable.
Test-tube studies have found that asparagus may help stop the growth of several types of cancer, and studies in mice suggest it may help protect brain health and reduce anxiety.
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.
Mushrooms are extremely low in carbs. What’s more, they’ve been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Mushrooms contain 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. They can reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome.
Zucchini is a popular vegetable and the most common type of summer squash. Summer squash is long with soft skin that can be eaten.
In contrast, winter squash comes in a variety of shapes, has an inedible rind and is higher in carbs than summer varieties.
Yellow Italian squash and other types of summer squash have carb counts and nutrient profiles similar to zucchini.
Zucchini and other types of summer squash contain 3 grams of digestible carbs per serving and are high in vitamin C.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that provides major health benefits.
What’s more, it’s an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals.
Spinach is also low in carbs, but the carbs become more concentrated as the leaves are cooked down and lose their volume.
Cooked spinach contains 3 grams of digestible carbs per serving, is very high in vitamin K and helps protect heart and eye health.
Avocados are a unique and delicious food.
Although technically a fruit, avocados are typically consumed as vegetables. They’re also high in fat and contain very few digestible carbs.
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.
Avocados provide 3 grams of net carbs per serving. They promote feelings of fullness and are high in heart-healthy fat and fiber.
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.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, it’s associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
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.
9. Green Beans
Green beans are sometimes referred to as snap beans or string beans.
They are a member of the legume family, along with beans and lentils. However, they have significantly fewer carbs than most legumes.
In addition, they contain carotenoids, which are associated with improved brain function during aging.
Green beans contain 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving, as well as antioxidants that may help prevent cancer and protect the brain.
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.
They’re also high in folate. Folate helps decrease levels of homocysteine, a compound linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Lettuce contains 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in several vitamins, including folate, which may lower heart disease risk.
Garlic is known for its beneficial effects on immune function.
Although it’s a high-carb vegetable by weight, the amount typically consumed in one sitting is very low due to its strong taste and aroma.
Garlic contains 1 gram of digestible carbs per clove. It may reduce blood pressure and improve immune function.
Kale is a trendy vegetable that’s also extremely nutrient dense.
It’s loaded with antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol.
These have been shown to lower blood pressure and may also help protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
A high intake of vitamin C has been shown to improve immune function and increase the skin’s ability to fight damaging free radicals, which can speed up the aging process
Kale contains 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in antioxidants and has more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins A and C.
Cucumbers are low in carbs and very refreshing.
Although cucumbers aren’t very high in vitamins or minerals, they contain a compound called cucurbitacin E, which may have beneficial effects on health.
Results from test-tube and animal studies suggest it has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and may protect brain health .
Cucumbers contain just under 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. They may help protect against cancer and support brain health.
14. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are another tasty cruciferous vegetable.
What’s more, controlled human studies suggest that eating Brussels sprouts may reduce risk factors for cancer, including colon cancer.
Brussels sprouts contain 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. They’re high in vitamins C and K and may help reduce cancer risk.
Celery is extremely low in digestible carbs.
In addition, it contains luteolin, an antioxidant that shows potential for both preventing and helping treat cancer (54Trusted Source).
Celery provides 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. It also contains luteolin, which may have anti-cancer properties.
Tomatoes have a number of impressive health benefits.
Like avocados, they are technically fruits but usually consumed as vegetables.
They’re also low in digestible carbs. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C and K.
In addition, they’re high in potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure and decrease stroke risk (56Trusted Source).
They’ve also been shown to strengthen the endothelial cells that line your arteries, and their high lycopene content may help prevent prostate cancer
Tomatoes contain 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving and are high in vitamins and potassium. They may help protect heart health and reduce cancer risk.
Radishes are Brassica vegetables with a sharp, peppery taste.
Additionally, radishes may reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by modifying the way the body metabolizes estrogen
Radishes contain 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may help reduce the risk of breast cancer in older women.
Onions are a pungent, nutritious vegetable.
Although they are fairly high in carbs by weight, they’re usually consumed in small amounts because of their robust flavor.
Onions are high in the antioxidant quercetin, which may lower blood pressure.
Onions contain 5 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.
Eggplant is a common vegetable in many Italian and Asian dishes.
It’s not very high in most vitamins or minerals, but animal research suggests eggplant may help lower cholesterol and improve other markers of heart health
It also contains an antioxidant known as nasunin in the purple pigment of its skin. Researchers have reported that nasunin helps reduce free radicals and may protect brain health
Eggplant contains 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may help protect heart and brain health.
Cabbage has some impressive health benefits.
As a cruciferous vegetable, it may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including esophageal and stomach cancer.
Cabbage contains 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in vitamins C and K and may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Artichokes are delicious and nutritious.
However, 10 grams come from fiber, making it very low in digestible
A portion of the fiber is inulin, which acts as a prebiotic that feeds healthy gut bacteria.
What’s more, artichokes may protect heart health. In one study, when people with high cholesterol drank artichoke juice, they experienced a reduction in inflammatory markers and improvement in blood vessel function.
Artichokes contain 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may improve gut and heart health.
The Bottom Line
There are many tasty vegetables that can be included on a low-carb diet. In addition to being low in carbs and calories, they may reduce your risk of various diseases and improve your overall health and well-being.