If you are cutting carbs by reducing your consumption of highly-processed foods and refined sugar, all the power to you! (If you need some help reducing your refined sugar intake, Medisys has developed a free 30-day no- refined-sugar challenge, which may help you eliminate up to 7 pounds of sugar from your diet!)
BUT if your idea of cutting carbs is swapping veggies and legumes for bacon and pepperoni sticks, it’s time to re-think your grocery list! Here are 10 super healthy foods with less than 2 gram of net carbs per serving that are heart-healthy, nutrient-dense, and high in fibre! Love low-carb living?
1. Hemp hearts (raw shelled hemp seeds)
Virtually all of the carbohydrates in hemp hearts come from fibre, making them essentially a zero net carb food. Each 3 tablespoon serving packs 10 grams of protein, 20% of your daily recommended intake of iron and numerous other vitamins and minerals. Hemp protein provides ten essential amino acids including arginine, histidine, methionine and cysteine. Hemp seeds are also an excellent source of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Worried you may not be meeting your daily micronutrient requirements? Check out our micronutrient challenge.
2. Unsalted nuts
Research suggests that eating just 28 grams of nuts per day protects against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even premature death. Some nuts are slightly higher in carbs than others, if you are looking for low carb nuts opt for brazil nuts, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and walnuts. All of these nuts come in at about 2 grams of net carbs per one ounce serving. In addition to healthy fats, unsalted nuts are packed with nutrients, minerals (such as magnesium and calcium), and phytochemicals.
One cup of fresh spinach contains virtually zero net carbs and only 6 Calories. Spinach is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It’s a rich source of iron, folate, vitamins A, C and K, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is also a source of lutein, powerful antioxidant linked to eye health.
4. Wild caught salmon
Salmon is high in protein, naturally carb free, and an excellent source of vitamins B6, B12 and niacin. It’s also packed with potassium, selenium and phosphorus and is one of the few foods naturally high in vitamin D.
5. Flax seeds
Like hemp seeds, all of the carbohydrates in flax seeds come from dietary fibre making them a zero net-carb food. Flax seeds are an incredible source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid with cardio-protective benefits.
6. Extra virgin olive oil
Instead of loading up on saturated animal fats, use more extra virgin olive oil. As well as disease-preventative monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil contains polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants.
A 1/2 cup serving of cauliflower contains less than 2 grams of net carbs. Cauliflower is a great source of vitamin A, folate, calcium, potassium and selenium, an immuneboosting antioxidant. Cauliflower is also famous for its
high concentration of cancer-fighting chemicals called glucosinolates. Try our cauliflower mashed "fauxtatos" recipe.
Due to its high fibre content, asparagus is close to carb free. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, folate and potassium. Research also suggests that the combination of phytochemicals in asparagus (including saponins, quercetin, rutin and kaempferol) make it a powerful anti-inflammatory food.
A 3 oz serving of mushrooms contains about 2 grams of net carbs. Mushrooms are a great source of selenium, an antioxidant mineral, as well as copper, niacin, potassium and phosphorous.
10. Zucchini "noodles"
Love pasta? Try zucchini noodles! You can make your own using a kitchen gadget called a “spiralizer” or buy pre-made at your local grocery store. Half a medium zucchini contains about 2 grams of net carbs. Zucchini is low in calories but high in essential nutrients like potassium, manganese, and antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A.