9 Low-Carb Foods You Should Eat More Often

Patient Expert
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On a low-carb diet we have plenty of great tasting and healthy foods to eat. Even when we further limit what we eat to a vegetarian diet, as I do, we have a great variety of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, and dairy products. These are some of the best choices we have that most of us need to eat more often.

Wild blueberries have wonderful benefits

Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which are essential to our health as they help us combat the free radicals that can damage the cells of our body and our DNA. Blueberries also improve the memory of older people. Wild blueberries are much higher in nutrients than commercial blueberries. But Trader Joe’s has the only pesticide-free wild blueberries that I’ve found. They have 4 grams of carbs in ¼ cup.

Chocolate isn't just candy

Most of us think about chocolate a lot, but we don’t usually think of it as a fruit. We may think of it as a decadent indulgence, but that’s because of the sugar we usually add, even though it’s unnecessary. The flavanols in cocoa beans helps people with diabetes prevent memory loss and have better insulin sensitivity. The cocoa extract capsules that I take provide 375 mg of flavanols with less than 1 gram of carbs.

Spinach on the side or in a salad

People around the world prize spinach both raw and cooked. In India people eat it creamed and call it a type of saag. In one of Boston’s  Italian restaurant I exclaimed so profusely over the spinach dish that another customer ordered it, saying “I’ll have what he’s having.” At home spinach is my go-to choice for salad greens, my usual lunch and my main meal. Spinach ranks first in nutrient richness among the world’s healthiest vegetables.

Kale is cruciferous

Kale has become so popular so quickly that you might be tempted to dismiss it as a fad. That would be unwise, because kale is one of the cruciferous vegetables you need to eat often if you want the health benefits of these vegetables. Kale is great either steamed or raw, and I usually eat it raw in my salads along with spinach and other greens. Kale is one of the foods highest in vitamin K; it is also high in beta carotene and vitamin C.

Seeds for snacking

Almost everyone appreciates a good snack once in a while. Shelled pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are one of my favorite snacks. I also add them to my salads for some added crunch and carry them in my pack when I hike. They are high in zinc, which helps us maintain optional immune function and wound healing. These little green seeds are available organic and are much less expensive than any of the nuts. One ounce has 5 grams of carbs.

Kimchi is not just for Koreans

Kimchi tastes great and is healthful, the two essentials of truly happy foods. People who enjoy spicy foods love the taste of kimchi. At the same time kimchi is a fermented food like yogurt with healthy probiotic lactic acid bacteria that is anti-inflammatory. While it is low in calories and carbohydrates, it is nevertheless rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and minerals. One-third of a cup of my favorite kimchi has 1 gram of carbs.

Mushrooms are marvelous

The most common mushrooms in our markets make a great addition to our salads when raw or to soups and other dishes when cooked. They are an excellent source of the B vitamins and offer outstanding immune system support, reducing inflammation. I always spice up the raw mushrooms that I eat with Dijon mustard. One of these large mushrooms (whether it is white, brown, or portobello) has 1 gram of carbs.

Yogurt is yummy

If anything deserves the label “health food,” it’s yogurt. Of all probiotic foods, yogurt is the most popular. Good bacteria in yogurt help protect our bodies from toxins, infections, allergies, and some types of cancer. The best yogurt is whole milk, plain, Greek style, and organic. I know of two brands that meet these high standards. While the label may say that a cup of one of these yogurts has 15 grams of carbs, it actually has 4 grams.

Gruyere is great

Cheese that comes from cows that graze in pastures is the only cheese we should eat. While this so-called “grass-fed cheese” is rare in America, most cows in Europe are grass-fed and aren’t treated with growth hormones. My favorite cheese is Gruyere, and fortunately it comes from Switzerland. Even better, it has no carbs, the only carb-free cheese.