For people looking to improve their overall health, low-carb fruits and vegetables are a great way to cut down on overall carbohydrate intake. They are also known to offer a variety of health benefits. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy required by the body and are considered one of the 3 key areas of our diet, in addition to protein and fat. In fact, most nutrition experts recommend that people consume between 35-65% of your daily calories from carbohydrates.
However, not all carbohydrates are created equal; some are more complex and take more time for the body to digest. Whereas others are simple carbs, which you might get from white bread, fruit and dairy products. When you consume an excess of simple carbohydrates (sugars), the body will begin to store those extra carbs as fat.
There are other side effects of consuming too many carbohydrates, including digestive issues, particularly if the carbohydrates are all fiber-rich. Furthermore, simple carbohydrates lead to spikes in blood sugar, as the body quickly processes them into usable glucose but it can be difficult for the pancreas to create enough insulin in response.
A low-carb diet is also known as a ketogenic diet and has become quite popular in recent years, and low-carb fruits and vegetables are a great way to succeed in this dietary effort. Consuming fewer carbs can also help to curb your hunger pangs, boost cognition, lower your risk of certain cancers and improve your overall cardiovascular health.
15 Low-carb Fruits and Vegetables
14 grams of carbs per cup
Benefits: Not only is cantaloupe relatively low in carbs but also offers 1.5 grams of dietary fiber in every cup, which accounts for some of those carbs. Furthermore, this low-carb fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A, as well as magnesium, potassium and vitamin K, making it ideal for treating blood pressure issues, sleep problems, blood-clotting disorders and failing vision.
2 grams of carbs per large stalk
Benefits: Although celery is composed mainly of water, it also boasts some dietary fiber in every stalk, along with a number of B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium. This food is known to keep you feeling full, without contributing many calories, and also providing a boost to the immune system.
3 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Benefits: Lettuce may seem simple but it is packed with many different nutrients, including sugars, proteins, fats, dietary fiber, vitamin K, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamin E, and sodium, among others. It can help optimize water balance in the body and provide a clean, low-calorie source of energy.
5 grams of carbs per medium tomato
Benefits: Famed for its content of beta-carotene, tomatoes are excellent for boosting vision and preventing oxidative stress throughout the body. It also has high levels of B-family vitamins, copper, potassium, fiber, manganese and vitamin C. This makes this popular fruit an excellent choice for optimizing the metabolism, boosting bone mineral density and protecting the immune system.
12 grams of carbs per medium-sized avocado
Benefits: That may seem like a high carbohydrate in total but the other benefits of avocado make this fruit more than worthwhile if added to your diet. Packed with antioxidants and healthy fats, this fruit is also extremely high in dietary fiber, which makes up roughly 75% of the total carbs you get from eating one of these. They are also great for improving cognition and reducing appetite to aid in weight loss.
14 grams of carbs per medium-sized peach
Benefits: With a moderate amount of fiber and an impressive amount of polyphenolic compounds and antioxidants, this low-carb fruit has been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing high cholesterol and blood pressure, preventing inflammatory conditions, and supporting good digestive health.
14 grams of carbs per 1 cup
Benefits: Roughly half of the carbohydrates found in blackberries come in the form of fiber, making these berries best for your digestive health. Furthermore, as with many berries, blackberries are overflowing with antioxidants, which can help you avoid chronic diseases, such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
3.5 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Benefits: Cucumbers are often overlooked because of their high water content, but in reality, these vegetables offer a range of nutrients, including potassium, biotin, copper, vitamin C, manganese, and a number of B vitamins. The low-carb nature doesn’t keep these vegetables from filling you up and improving digestion, both of which will aid in your weight loss efforts.
3.3 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Benefits: With a variety of sulfuric compounds and antioxidants, as well as antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, mushrooms offer a wide variety of health benefits. In addition to being savory, this low-carb snack is also packed with fiber. Mushrooms have been linked to preventing everything from cancer to allergic reactions, making it a must-have in your dietary regimen.
8 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Benefits: About 25% of the carbohydrates found in strawberries come from dietary fiber but the truly impressive thing about this low-carb fruit is its polyphenolic content. Research has linked these antioxidants to decreased rates of inflammation in the body, as well as the inhibition of fat formation, which can lead to more energy and less weight gain!
8 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Benefits: Watermelon may be low in dietary fiber, but it is a great way to stay hydrated and can provide a healthy burst of energy. More importantly, perhaps, this low-carb fruit is high in various antioxidants, such as lycopene, which can aid the appearance of your skin, prevent oxidative stress throughout the body, and stimulate the repair and strength of cardiac blood vessels, lowering your risk for heart attack and stroke.
1 gram of carbs per cup
Benefits: This leafy green is not only low in cholesterol and fat, but it is high in protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium, and copper, among others. It comes as no surprise that spinach is considered one of the healthiest low-carb foods, as well as an excellent food for weight loss, heart health, and bone mineral density.
6 grams of carbs in 1 medium-sized zucchini
Benefits: Thanks to the moderate levels of omega-3 fatty acids and the diverse range of minerals and vitamins, zucchini has become a staple food in some parts of the world. It provides a good amount of fiber and is known to give an energetic boost, while also regulating hormone and enzymatic activity in the body, thanks to B vitamins and key minerals in this vegetable.
4 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Benefits: With significant concentrations of selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, this is an antioxidant-rich vegetable and can help to reduce inflammation and the occurrence of chronic disease. This is in addition to asparagus’ positive impact on blood sugar levels, blood-clotting, bone mineral density, blood pressure and the appearance of your skin.
9 grams of carbs per 100 grams
Benefits: This low-carb fruit is often eaten in conjunction with cantaloupe, another low-carb fruit, and thanks to its high potassium content, it is commonly recommended for people with high blood pressure. This fruit is also rich in vitamin C, making it a good immune system-booster, along with its ability to seek out and neutralize free radicals.