Carbohydrates are the main fuel for the body and are essential for good health. Studies have shown that individuals who consume a diet rich in complex carbs such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, have a lower risk of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease (Liu S, 2013). However, diets do eliminate foods or groups, inherently nutrients go alongside that. So how can you follow a low carb diet and still get all of the nutrients you need for good health?
Here are five nutrient-dense sources of carbs to include in your low-carb diet.
Blueberries are packed with nutrients. In fact, they are considered one of the most nutrient-dense berries. One cup provides 4 grams of fiber and only 15 grams of carbs. They are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and manganese. Blueberries also contain one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit and vegetables (Prior R et al, 2000).
Green peas, often thought of as a starchy vegetable, are actually a type of legume. They are considered a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. A ½ cup of green peas is only 11 grams of carbs and contains heart-healthy minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Greek yogurt is a fermented dairy product that is strained to make it much thicker than regular yogurt. One cup contains only 10 grams of carbs which is about half the carbs of regular yogurt. It’s also a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and magnesium. Additionally, Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics which can aid in digestive health (Fernandez and Marette, 2017).
Avocados are a healthy, versatile food that can be eaten alone, as a dip or spread, in soups, and the list goes on. Luckily this healthy fat only has about 12 grams of carbs per cup. Avocados are also a good source of immune-supporting vitamins including Vitamin K, Folate, and Vitamin C.
Just like avocados, asparagus are also a versatile food that can be served up in a number of delicious ways. You can sauté asparagus for a creamier texture, bake with sea salt and balsamic for a crunchier side dish or even cut them up raw and eat on a salad. Asparagus are packed with all kinds of nutrients including some of our favorite immune-boosting nutrients like zinc and vitamin C.
Erin McNamara, RDN, LDN, CLT
Liu S. Intake of refined carbohydrates and whole grain foods in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes Mellitus and coronary heart disease. Taylor & Francis. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2002.10719227. Published June 26, 2013. Accessed August 9, 2021.
Fernandez MA, Marette A. Potential Health Benefits of Combining Yogurt and Fruits Based on Their Probiotic and Prebiotic Properties. Adv Nutr. 2017;8(1):155S-164S. Published 2017 Jan 17. doi:10.3945/an.115.011114
Prior RL, Cao G, Prior RL, Cao G. Analysis of botanicals and dietary supplements for antioxidant capacity: a review. J AOAC Int. 2000;83(4):950-956.