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Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

Written by Dr. Shaun Murphy

Hey everyone, Cutting carbs and weight loss go hand in hand. Trending diets like paleo and keto focus mainly on cutting down or swapping your regular carb sources with healthier alternatives.

There are many health benefits you can enjoy by following a diet low in carbs. These include increased levels of good cholesterol, better blood sugar and pressure management, and of course, quick weight loss.

When you start a low-carb diet, you realize that almost everything has carbs.  There are actually many nutrient-dense foods that are low in carbs.

Wondering what they are? Do olives have zero carbs? What about kale,  cauliflower, and greek yogurt? In today’s article, we will be covering all the foods low in carbohydrates.

Before talking about low-carb diet foods,  let us first learn the difference between simple and complex carbs.

What are low carb foods?

Simple vs complex carbs

  • Simple carbs are present naturally in foods like fruit, vegetables, and dairy products.  These can be broken down easily. They also include unhealthy foods like candy, syrup, and soft drinks. 
  • The only thing they provide is energy from the sugar, but other than that, they lack vitamins,  minerals, and fiber. Remember that refined sugar is empty calories with zero nutritional value.
  • What makes a carb complex? Found in healthy foods like beans, peas, whole grains, and fresh vegetables, the sugar molecules that make these foods are strung together in long chains, unlike simple carbs.
  • They are packed with all the essential vitamins,  minerals, and fiber that play a vital role in maintaining a healthy body. 
  •  Unlike refined or processed sugar, complex carbs come with natural sugars and are used as energy.OK, let’s move on to low-carb, nutrient-dense foods.

Foods for low carb diet

1.Salmon

  • Starting off our list is one of the most popular healthy foods. Salmon is extremely high in nutrients along with the brain and heart-friendly fats. It also contains low to zero carbs.
  • Being one of the easiest proteins to prepare, it’s a superstar in every ketogenic diet. Go ahead and bake or poach it in some aromatic herbs and spices for a delicious meal.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

2.Tomato

  • Tomatoes are low carb making them an ideal addition to any salad or sandwich. While rich in antioxidants,  vitamins, and minerals they should be eaten in moderation in a low carb diet.
  • Although botanically a fruit, they contain way fewer carbs than a conventional fruit of the same size.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

3.Broccoli

  • When it comes to low-carb high nutrient foods,  broccoli is an obvious choice. Just one cup of raw broccoli contains less than 5 grams of carbs and over 100% vitamin C and K.
  • The number of carbs is highly digestible. A good helping of assorted low carb veggies regularly reduces insulin resistance and helps prevent cancer.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

4.Onion

  • No cuisine is complete without the addition of onions. This delicious vegetable is nutritionally rich and when eaten in small amounts, adds a burst of flavor to any meal.
  • High in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory elements, and fiber, it contains less than 10 grams of carbs in every 100 grams. Its health benefits include boosting bone health, improving digestion, and increasing good cholesterol levels.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

5.Cauliflower

  • This rather simple yet versatile vegetable contains just 5 grams of carbs for every 100 grams and zero fat. Along with being extremely low in carbs, it’s high in folate and various vitamins like C and K.
  • With the introduction of ketogenic diets cauliflower has become a popular replacement for white rice and pizza crusts.  Easy to add to your diet, it’s a great aid for weight loss. The benefits are totally underrated.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

6.Kale

  • The list for low-carb foods remains incomplete without kale. This crinkly-leaved vegetable is one of the most vital ingredients for a power-packed green smoothie. 
  • Containing just 7 grams of carbs in one cup,  it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, potassium, copper, and even calcium! An essential addition to salads, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

7.Asparagus

  • High in fiber, vitamin C,  K, and folate, this spring vegetable is an ideal addition if you are looking to cut down on carbs.  When compared with other veggies they have more protein.
  • Containing less than 5 grams in one cup,  they improve digestion, lower blood pressure and help with faster weight loss.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

8.Eggplant

  • Did you know that eggplant is actually a fruit?  Normally eaten as a vegetable, it contains a maximum of 5 grams of carbs for every one cup.
  •   A great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, eggplant comes with a variety of health benefits.
  • From preventing anemia and cancer to increasing brain function and improving bone health, this often ignored veggie can be a great addition to your low-carb diet.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

9.Bell pepper

  • With less than  3 grams of carbs per 100 grams, bell peppers are easily the hero of a low carb or ketogenic diet.  Along with its amazing colors, this crunchy veggie is full of nutrients like folate,  iron, potassium, and vitamins.
  • Easily added to meals and ranking very low in glycemic index,  eating them regularly acts as an immunity booster while improving bone and skin health.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

10.Green beans

  • Technically legumes,  green beans, or string beans, have less than 10 grams of carbs in every 100 grams of serving.  
  • Not only are they low in carbs, but they are also great sources for dietary fiber, folate, various vitamins, and natural silicon, which is responsible for keeping your hair, skin, and bones healthy.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

11.Mushrooms

  • Technically not plants,  edible mushrooms are often lumped into the same category as vegetables. Packed with a decent amount of potassium and essential B vitamins, they contain just 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
  • They are one of the best sources of selenium, which helps in mitigating the risks of developing serious conditions like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

12.Spinach

  • When it comes to eating healthy, spinach is often the first vegetable that comes to mind.  Prepared in a variety of ways, it contains less than 10 grams of carbs.
  • Packed with fiber,  and a star of the Keto diet, the health benefits of this superfood include everything from cancer prevention and diabetes management to asthma prevention and proper digestive health.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

13.Avocado

  • Ever since avocado was introduced in the healthy eating world, it has dominated the scene. This green, pear-shaped superfruit, contains less than  13 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
  • The fact that it is packed with healthy fats, potassium, and fiber,  has made it a regular in literally everything, from toast to salads and even dessert!
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

14.Olives

  • Olives contain not even 5 grams of carbs per 100 grams of serving. This delicious tiny fruit packs quite a punch!
  • High in powerful antioxidants and vitamin E, studies have shown that eating whole olives is good for the heart while also protecting against certain types of cancer and osteoporosis.
  •  A regular in the Mediterranean diet, olives should be eaten as much as possible.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

15.Apricot

  • Who doesn’t like a  good crunchy apricot? You will be happy to know that two contain less than 10 grams of carbs and a whole lot of health benefits. Remember to eat them in moderation to enjoy their benefits. 
  •  This ultimate heart-healthy food also helps improve blood circulation and supports brain health. It keeps you full for longer which will help you reach your weight loss goals.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

16.Almonds

  • Almonds are one of the healthiest and the most delicious nuts. Loaded with fiber, vitamin E, and protein, they are one of the best sources of magnesium. When it comes to carbs they contain less than 10 grams per ounce.  
  • Chopped-up almonds on oatmeal reduce hunger and promote weight loss.  They also help lower blood sugar levels, while reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Before we move forward, have you been dealing with high blood pressure?  Check out these blood pressure-lowering beverages to keep your heart healthy. Now let’s get back to low-carb diet foods.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

17.Walnut

  • Speaking of healthy nuts, walnuts are nutritionally rich as well as delicious.
  • With less than 5 grams of carbs in every ounce, they contain a variety of nutrients. Being particularly rich in alpha-linolenic acid or AHA which is a  specific type of omega 3 fatty acid, they are the best foods for the brain.
  • From supporting weight loss to promoting brain and heart health, walnuts should be made a regular part of your diet.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

18.Chia seeds

  • It goes without saying that chia seeds are one of the most popular healthy foods in the world right now.
  • Containing just over 10 grams of carbs per ounce, they are one of the richest sources of dietary fiber on earth.  Being extremely low in carbohydrates they have become a regular feature in most meals.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

19.Cheese

  • This may come as a surprise but cheese contains around 1 gram of carbs per slice.  This has to be the tastiest low-carb food and can easily be added to anything.
  • Cheese goes particularly well with meats or bunless burgers and is highly nutritious. Did you know that a  single thick slice of cheese contains somewhat similar nutrients as a full glass of milk?
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

20.Extra virgin olive oil

  • We have already spoken about the health benefits of whole olives. Extra virgin olive oil, which is extracted from olives, is loaded with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil has zero carbs making it one of the healthiest fats on the planet. A low-carb diet is much better than completely ditching carbs for weight loss.  
  • A low-carb diet tends to improve satiety, removes triggers for chronic inflammation, and initiates weight loss.
  • You should try cutting down on carbs if you are suffering from acne,  heartburn, migraines, and obesity. Not all low-carb diet foods are bland and tasteless.
Foods Low In Carbohydrates You Need To Eat

low carb meal vegetarian

Vegan low-carb snack ideas:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • vegetable sticks with avocado dip, hummus, or nut butter
  • a green smoothie or juice
  • berries
  • kale chips
  • low-carb granola bars
  • vegan yogurt
  • vegan cheese

Thank you.

About the author

Dr. Shaun Murphy