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Low-carb vegetables are lower in starch than those with higher carbohydrate content and generally have a low sugar content. Vegetables with the least amount of carbohydrates belong to the sprout family. Sprouts, such as beans, lentils, and alfalfa, are excellent low-carb vegetables that also include plenty of fiber. As a general rule, all leafy greens, such as spinach, collards, kale, and romaine lettuce, are low-carb vegetables.
The glycemic index of foods is based on each item's net carbs. Net carbs are the total amount of carbohydrates found in foods, typically measured by grams. When measuring net carbs, the fiber content is excluded. Obviously, vegetables with the least amount of net carbs will be optimal for low-carb eating. As a rule, any vegetable that has fewer than 10 net carbs is appropriate for low-carb diets.
Individuals with diabetes or those wishing to lose weight often choose low-carb foods. For a diabetic on a low-sugar diet, a good vegetable choice would be endive. Endive is one of the best low-carb vegetables because it contains zero net carbs. Endive is sold at most produce stands and supermarkets, or may be home grown organically. This green leafy vegetable also provides fiber and vitamin A.
The antioxidants found in endive make this low-carb vegetable a healthy choice for weight loss. Many experts also believe this leafy vegetable may help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. In addition, studies have shown a reduction in cancer among people who regularly include endive in their diets.
Most greens used for salads are considered low-carb vegetables. This includes lettuce, arugula, cucumbers, and celery. Bell peppers, another popular choice for salads, provide antioxidants and vitamins and only four grams of carbohydrates. Radishes are also considered to be low-carb vegetables that are nutritious as well. While broccoli contains approximately five net carbs, broccoli rabe has even fewer.
A nutritious vegetable used for various recipes is eggplant. Eggplant is one of the low-carb vegetables that can be prepared fried, baked, or grilled. It should be noted, however, that breaded eggplant will have higher carbohydrate content.
Summer squash and zucchini may be prepared in a number of ways, and these are also low-carb vegetables. Vegetables in the squash family provide an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium. Winter squash, such as pumpkin, may be slightly higher in carbohydrates, although still considered to be a low-carb vegetable.