Low carb diets have been linked to several impressive health benefits. Research has shown that they’re particularly effective at reducing hunger and aiding weight loss. They’ve also been associated with decreased blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as well as increased HDL (good) cholesterol. What’s more, low carb diets have been found to improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.
However, some very low carb diets can be low in fiber, a nutrient that’s important for digestive, heart, and gut health. Fortunately, if you follow a low carb diet and are worried about your fiber intake, several tasty foods are both low in carbs and high in fiber. Here are 14 healthy high fiber, low carb foods.
1. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are small oil seeds that are packed with nutrients.
In particular, they’re good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re also low in digestible net carbs — the total grams of carbs minus the grams of fiber. Notably, flax seeds have a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 than most other oil seeds. This is important, as a lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratio has been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases. Flax seeds are easily incorporated into your diet and should be ground to reap all their potential health benefits. Two tablespoons (14 grams) of ground flax seeds, provides 4 grams of fiber and 0 grams of net carbs.
2. Chia Seeds
Though small in size, chia seeds are rich in several nutrients. In addition to being high in fiber, protein, and several vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are one of the best-known plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can be sprinkled atop salads and yogurt or added to smoothies. They also absorb liquids well, turning into a gel that can be used as a vegan egg replacement or thickener for sauces and jellies. Two tablespoons (30 grams) of chia seeds provide 11 grams of fiber and 2 grams of net carbs.
High in healthy fats, avocados have a unique buttery texture. Technically a fruit, avocados are typically consumed as a vegetable and can be added to a variety of dishes. In addition to being rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins K and C. One small (136 grams) avocado provides 9 grams of fiber and 3 grams of net carbs.
Almonds are among the world’s most popular tree nuts. Great for snacking, they’re highly nutritious and rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. As they’re also a good source of fiber and protein, almonds may help increase feelings of fullness and aid weight loss. One ounce (28 grams) of raw almonds provides 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of net carbs.
5. Unsweetened Coconut Meat
Coconut meat is the white flesh inside a coconut. It’s often sold shredded and can be added to desserts, granola bars, and breakfast foods for added texture. Coconut meat is high in healthy fats and fiber while being moderate in carbs and protein. It’s also rich in several important minerals, particularly copper and manganese. Copper aids bone formation and heart health, while manganese is essential for fat metabolism and enzyme function. One ounce (28 grams) of shredded, unsweetened coconut meat provides 5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of net carbs.
Sweet and tart, blackberries are a delicious summer fruit. They’re also incredibly nutritious, with just 1 cup (140 grams) boasting more than 30% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C. Berries are among the most antioxidant-rich fruits. Regular intake has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic inflammation, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. One cup (140 grams) of blackberries provides 7 grams of fiber and 6 grams of net carbs.
Another sweet yet tart summer fruit, raspberries are best enjoyed shortly after purchasing. Low in calories, they’re also surprisingly high in several essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, just 1 cup (140 grams) provides more than 50% of the DV for vitamin C and 41% of the DV for manganese. Similarly to blackberries, raspberries are rich in disease-protecting antioxidants. They can be eaten as a snack, baked into desserts, and added to yogurt parfaits or overnight oats. One cup (140 grams) of raspberries provides 9 grams of fiber and 8 grams of net carbs.
Humans have been eating pistachios since 6000 BC. While technically a fruit, pistachios are culinarily used as a nut. With their vibrant green color and distinctive flavor, pistachios are popular in many dishes, including desserts, such as ice creams and cakes. Nutritionally, they’re high in healthy fats and vitamin B6, an essential vitamin that aids blood sugar regulation and the formation of hemoglobin. One ounce (28 grams) of shelled pistachios provides 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of net carbs.
9. Wheat Bran
Wheat bran is the hard outer coating of the wheat kernel. While it’s found naturally in whole grains, it can also be purchased on its own to add texture and a nutty flavor to foods like baked goods, smoothies, yogurt, soups, and casseroles. Although, perhaps what it’s best known for is its impressive amount of insoluble fiber, a nutrient that can help treat constipation and promote regular bowel movements. A 1/4-cup (15-gram) serving of wheat bran provides 6 grams of fiber and 4 grams of net carbs.
Cauliflower is a popular item on low carb diets, as it can be riced for a grain substitute or even made into a low carb pizza crust. It’s also a good source of choline, which is important for brain and liver health, as well as metabolism and DNA synthesis. One cup (85 grams) of chopped cauliflower provides 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of net carbs.
Broccoli is a popular cruciferous vegetable that’s high in several important nutrients. In addition to being low in calories, it’s high in fiber and several essential vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, and vitamins C and K. It also boasts more protein than many other vegetables. While it can be enjoyed cooked or raw, research shows that steaming it provides the greatest health benefits. One cup (71 grams) of raw broccoli florets provides 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of net carbs.
A popular springtime vegetable, asparagus comes in several colors, including green, purple, and white. It’s low in calories yet high in vitamin K, providing 46% of the DV in 1 cup (134 grams). The same serving also packs 17% of the DV for folate, which is vital during pregnancy and helps with cell growth and DNA formation.While it’s usually cooked, raw asparagus can add a pleasant crunch to salads and veggie platters. One cup (134 grams) of raw asparagus provides 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of net carbs.
Also known as aubergines, eggplants are used in many dishes around the world. They add a unique texture to dishes and contain very few calories. They’re also a good source of fiber and several vitamins and minerals, including manganese, folate, and potassium. One cup (82 grams) of raw, cubed eggplant provides 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of net carbs.
14. Purple Cabbage
Also referred to as red cabbage, purple cabbage is a nutritious way to add a pop of color to your dishes. While it tastes similar to green cabbage, the purple variety is higher in plant compounds that have been linked to health benefits, such as improved heart and bone health, reduced inflammation, and protection against certain forms of cancer. Purple cabbage is also low in carbs, high in fiber, and an excellent source of vitamins C and K. One cup (89 grams) of chopped red cabbage provides 2 grams of fiber and 5 grams of net carbs.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re interested in weight loss or lowering your blood sugar levels, eating fewer carbs can have numerous health benefits. And despite what you might think, you can reduce your carb intake while getting enough fiber. For information about nutrition and improving your health, contact us at Washington Wellness Center.