For those dealing with diabetes, carbohydrates are a nutrient whose consumption must be monitored very closely on a daily basis. Carbohydrates can be found in most foods and drinks and are essential to fuel the processes in our bodies. Here, we will take a look at the best low carbohydrate vegetables to eat if you are a diabetic.
1. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are surprisingly healthy low carbohydrate vegetables that are also called sweet peppers or capsicums. They are bursting with antioxidants, which reduce molecules called free radicals in the body that are believed to cause serious diseases such as cancer, called carotenoids. Carotenoids is a molecule that can help support eye health, cardiovascular health, fertility, skin health, and can possibly aid in preventing tumors because carotenoids contain acetylenic lipids, which are a group of metabolites studied for combating tumor development.
This colorful and nutritious superfood sports a long list of nutrients in hefty doses. Thankfully, its carbohydrate count is low. One cup of chopped peppers contains nine grams of carbs and three of them are from fiber leaving a net amount of six digestible carbohydrates per cup.
Broccoli is a superfood from the cruciferous vegetable family which also includes kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and radishes. Broccoli not only provides a healthy daily dose of fiber and vitamins, it also contains Omega-3 fatty acids which provide cardiovascular and cellular health benefits. There are also studies that suggest broccoli may help to decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics as well as protect against different types of cancer.
This powerful cruciferous vegetable has an extensive list of vitamins, nutrients, and health benefits, but most importantly, it is low in carbohydrates. In a single cup of broccoli, you will find a total of six grams of carbohydrates, two of them are from fiber. That leaves a net total of four digestible carbohydrates as well as vitamins C and K which may help reduce insulin resistance.
Mushrooms are nutritious fungi with a robust meaty flavor which makes them perfect for preparing healthy dishes that can sometimes be lacking in flavor. Mushrooms are the only plant source of Vitamin D, they contain several B vitamins, they can help lower your cholesterol, and they give you fewer calories per portion size so they’re also great if you’re trying to lose weight by reducing your daily caloric intake. Along with many other vegetables on this list, mushrooms also have antioxidants and have been shown to contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Mushrooms are one of the vegetables on this list that contain the least amount of carbohydrates per serving. One serving of mushrooms, which equals out to one cup or 70 grams, only contains two grams of carbohydrates, one of which is fiber. This equals out to just one single gram of digestible carbohydrates per serving in addition to several B vitamins, vitamin D, and antioxidants.
Spinach is a potent leafy green vegetable with minerals and nutrients that provide amazing health benefits such as preventing damage to DNA. The nitrates in spinach are evidenced to provide support for cardiovascular health. The carotenoid lutein, which is abundant in spinach, may decrease the risk of common eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Along with being rich in vitamin K, spinach is also incredibly low in carbohydrates depending on the way it’s prepared. One cup of raw spinach leaves has a total of one carbohydrate with one gram of fiber. One cup of cooked spinach, however, totals at seven grams of carbohydrates with four grams of that being fiber.
Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable that is gaining traction as a recipe substitute for other foods that have a high carbohydrate and a high starch content such as potatoes, rice, and even bread. Cauliflower is another cruciferous vegetable that can be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. The nutrients present in the cauliflower for consumption will depend on if you cook it or how you cook it.
One serving of cauliflower, which equates to one cup or 100 grams, contains five grams of carbohydrates in total. Of these five grams of carbohydrates, three of those grams are fiber. This leaves a total of two grams of digestible carbohydrates along with a hefty dose of vitamins K and C.
6. Green Beans
Green beans are also known as snap beans or string beans and belong to the legume family, along with other beans and lentils. The great thing about green beans is that they contain significantly fewer carbohydrates than other legume vegetables do. Green beans are another superfood that contains carotenoids, as well as chlorophyll, which studies have suggested, could help protect against cancer.
Along with being rich in vitamin K and fiber, one cooked serving of green beans, which is one cup or 125 grams, contains 10 grams of carbohydrates. Of these 10 grams of carbohydrates, four grams are fiber, equating to a net total of six grams of digestible carbohydrates per serving.
Onions are a delicious and flavorful addition to most meals, whether they be raw or cooked. It would surprise you to know that recent studies have shown a correlation between blood fat levels and onion consumption. Onions have been shown to increase the amount of omega-3 oxylipins in the liver which helps to regulate blood fat levels and cholesterol levels.
Onions contain a high amount of carbohydrates per their weight; however, onions have such a powerful flavor that they are usually consumed in portions small enough to not tip the scales on daily carbohydrate consumption. One half-cup serving of onions, or 53 grams, contain six grams of carbohydrates and one of those carbohydrates is fiber. This equates to a net consumption of five grams of carbohydrates per half-cup serving of onions.
Cucumbers aren’t as nutrient-rich as the other low carbohydrate vegetables on this list, but it makes up for that fact by providing hydration to your body with its substantial water content and with a unique combination of nutrients which include cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids. Along with a high water content, cucumbers are also rich in a compound called cucurbitacin E which is shown to have a multitude of health benefits such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There has been some debate on whether to eat the skin and seeds of the cucumbers, and it is important to know that both the skin and the seeds are rich in vital nutrients when deciding this for yourself.
Cucumbers have a substantially low carbohydrate content with just a total of four grams of carbohydrates per one cup serving. Of those four grams of carbohydrates per serving, less than one gram of them is fiber. Cucumbers weigh in with a net of a little over three digestible carbohydrates total per serving.
Celery is an unsung vegetable hero in this list. Celery not only boasts a high water content similar to cucumbers, but it also has nutrients and minerals that help with a myriad of health conditions such as acne, stress, bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and even your sex drive. Because celery has a healthy insoluble fiber content, it will also help with your digestive system.
Celery is a powerful food in that it has such a low-calorie content that it takes a large portion of it to be considered one serving. One serving of celery is equal to 110 grams and contains four grams of carbohydrates, of which two are from fiber. This nets out to a total of two grams of digestible carbohydrates per 110 grams.
Tomatoes are an odd addition to this list because they are technically a fruit, but are consumed like a vegetable, and like vegetables, they contain high concentrations of vitamins A, C, and K and are also rich in potassium which studies have shown to help reduce the risk of stroke and also reduce blood pressure. In a healthy diet, tomatoes stand out for their beneficial effect of protecting the cells that line your blood vessels. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene, which has been suggested to have multiple health benefits, and cooking tomatoes in olive oil not only increases lycopene saturation but the fats in the olive oil increase the absorption of lycopene.
Tomatoes contain a total of six grams of carbohydrates, but two of those carbohydrates are from fiber. This nets a total of four grams of digestible carbohydrates per one-cup serving or 149 grams. Adding in the lycopene and potassium content makes tomatoes a super healthy low carbohydrate option.
There are many other low carbohydrate vegetables for you to discover. Be sure to prepare the vegetables properly to retain maximum nutrient content and watch your portions. Portion size will determine the net amount of carbohydrates you consume.
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