Knowing the best high fiber low carb foods can help you achieve your health and nutrition goals. Healthy eating and nutrition require a balance of nutrients, specifically macronutrients. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. And depending on your nutrition goals, adjusting your macronutrient intake can help you achieve the desired results.
Research has shown reducing carbohydrates (or carbs) can have numerous health benefits. But since many foods containing carbohydrates also contain fiber, fiber intake can drop if you decrease your carb intake. And high fiber intake also has numerous benefits. So, eating high fiber low carb foods can help you get the right balance of both nutrients.
What are the benefits of high fiber foods?
Fiber or dietary fiber is the part of a plant that the human body cannot digest or absorb. Other nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are broken down into smaller forms and absorbed during digestion. There are 2 different types of fiber in foods: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber means it dissolves in water and forms into a gel. Examples of foods containing soluble fiber are oats, beans, apples, oranges, carrots, and barley. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water but promotes the movement of digested foods through your digestive tract. Examples of foods containing insoluble fiber are cauliflower, green beans, wheat bran, and nuts.
So high fiber foods can help to increase your fiber intake which promotes a wide array of benefits! High fiber foods can help to:
- Maintain a healthy digestive tract and lowers the risk of developing colon cancer. They also add more bulk and weight to your stool preventing constipation and diarrhea.
- Lower cholesterol levels, especially soluble fibers found in foods such as oats and flaxseed.
- Promote weight loss or weight maintenance by keeping you full longer.
- Promote lower blood sugars if you have diabetes by slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and all cancers!
Recommended amount of fiber per day:
- Men, age 50 or younger: 38 grams of fiber
- Men, age 51 or older: 30 grams of fiber
- Women, age 50 or younger: 25 grams of fiber
- Women, age 51 or older: 21 grams of fiber
What are the benefits of low carb foods?
So now we know the types of high fiber foods and the benefits, now we need to know the types of low carbohydrate foods and the benefits of these foods. First off, low carb foods are found in a variety of foods such as beef, chicken, fish, turkey, certain vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, oils, cheese, and other fats. If a specific food is lower in carbohydrates, it is likely to be higher in other nutrients such as protein, fats, and/or fiber.
However, research has shown that a diet high in animal protein sources from red meat and processed meats can lead to health issues such as cardiovascular disease. So, choosing lean protein sources such as chicken and fish, healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and avocado, and high fiber foods such as green leafy vegetables and wheat bran provide the most beneficial and nutrient-dense foods!
Benefits from low carbohydrate foods:
- May help to reduce hunger. Since many lower carbohydrate foods can be higher in fat, fiber, and/or protein, these nutrients can help you to feel full longer!
- Can help to reduce triglyceride levels. Refined sugars can increase triglyceride levels and therefore reducing your intake of these foods can help to improve your triglycerides!
- May reduce blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, eating more lower carbohydrate foods can help to improve your blood sugar levels if they are high or uncontrolled. Please consult with your physician before making any adjustments to your diet so that your medications can be adjusted as needed. Also, be sure to work with a Registered Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist to help you with the proper carbohydrate intake for your body.
What are the best high fiber, low carb foods?
In a half-cup of collard greens, there are 5.5 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber. It is also a good source of calcium providing 15% of the daily value. And only 30 calories per serving! That is amazing!
One cup of raw spinach has only 1.1 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber. But because spinach wilts significantly, if you have 1 cup of cooked spinach, it is 6.8 grams of carbohydrate and 4.3 grams of fiber. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium, making it a nutrient-dense food! Spinach can be added to many foods such as soup, such as this Amazing Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean food that is made of salted, fermented vegetables, typically cabbage. It can contain other vegetables such as radish, celery, carrots, cucumber, spinach, eggplant, beets, and bamboo sprouts.
Kimchi has 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup. It also has more amazing benefits such as having an excellent source of vitamin C, K, folate, iron, and riboflavin. And it is well known for its amazing probiotic properties which can help with digestion and boosting the immune system.
Heart of Palm
Heart of Palm is a vegetable found in the inner core of certain palm trees. It has 6.7 grams of carbohydrates and 3.5 grams of fiber in 1 cup. It is also a great source of manganese, iron, and copper. They can be found in the canned food section of a grocery store and are commonly added to salads.
Artichokes are super high in fiber! One artichoke contains 7 grams of fiber and 13 grams of carbohydrates. They are also a good source of vitamin C, K, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C with 124% of the daily value. And there are only 8 grams of carbohydrates. Brussels sprouts have 3.3 grams of fiber. I love brussels sprouts roasted in the oven, especially with other Herb-Roasted Vegetables!
There a variety of winter squash with butternut, spaghetti, and acorn squash is among the most common. Spaghetti squash has 1.5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup. It is commonly eaten as a low carb option instead of pasta.
Edamame is soybeans in the pod. They have 8 grams of fiber and 15 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup. They are also a good source of vitamin C, B-6, and iron, and an excellent source of magnesium and protein.
Broccoli has 2.4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup chopped. They are also a good source of vitamin A and B-6 and an excellent source of vitamin C
Asparagus has 5 grams of carbohydrates and 2.8 grams of fiber in 1 cup chopped. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and iron. Asparagus has antioxidant properties, helps with digestion, and can help to lower blood pressure.
Green beans are low in calories with only 31 calories in 1 cup chopped. They also have 3.4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of carbohydrates. And they are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Kale is a nutrient-dense food with having an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C! It has 6 grams of carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of fiber. And, kale can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of dishes such as soup.
Celery does contain a lot of water, but it is also a good source of fiber and is low in calories. One cup of chopped celery has only 14 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates but has 1.6 grams of fiber. Celery can be eaten as a snack or added to a variety of recipes.
Cauliflower has become a popular low carb high fiber option being used to replace rice or the crust on pizza. It has 2.1 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of carbohydrate in 1 cup chopped. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B-6.
Eggplant has only 5 grams of carbohydrates with 3 grams of fiber in 1 cup of raw eggplant. They also are a good source of manganese. Eggplants are eaten in a variety of cuisines around the world especially in Italian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean foods.
Avocados are another nutrient-dense food! They are a great source of healthy fats and fiber and are low in carbohydrates. In one-third of an avocado, there are 4 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. And the healthy fats are monounsaturated with 5 grams and 1 gram of polyunsaturated.
Raspberries a great option for fruit high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. One cup of raspberries has 15 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fiber. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Raspberries are delicious on their own or added to yogurt, smoothies, or oatmeal for a healthy breakfast!
Blackberries are another great high fiber low carb option like raspberries. They have 14 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fiber in 1 cup. And they are also an excellent source of vitamin C.
Coconut can be classified as a nut, seed, or fruit. Unsweetened coconut or coconut meat is packaged in flakes or shredded. One cup of fresh, shredded coconut meat has 7 grams of fiber and 10 grams of carbohydrates. They also have 60% of the daily value from manganese, 44% from copper, and 15% from selenium.
Coconut meat can help to boost good cholesterol levels (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL). The fiber and fat content (Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCT) may help with weight loss by helping with satiety and fat burning.
Grains and Legumes
Wheat bran is the outer layer of the wheat kernel and is stripped away during the milling process. But wheat bran has amazing nutritional benefits in addition to being high in insoluble fiber and low in carbohydrates. In a half-cup of wheat bran, there are 12.5 grams of fiber and 18.5 grams of carbohydrates. It is also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, selenium, and manganese. It can be added to muffins, cereal, pancakes, and oatmeal. Or can be used as a breading for meat or fish.
Lentils are an excellent source of fiber with 7.5 grams in a half-cup and 20 grams of carbohydrates. They are also an excellent source of folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Lentils are commonly eaten in soups but can be eaten in a salad as a side dish.
Almonds make a great snack because they keep you full longer from their high fiber and protein content, as well as being a good source of healthy fats. One ounce of almonds provides 6.1 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and provides 22% of the daily value for fat, mostly monounsaturated which are heart-healthy. Almonds also have 37% of the daily value for vitamin E, which is an antioxidant.
Macadamia nuts are another great snack choice. They are low in carbohydrates with only 4 grams of carbohydrates in 1 ounce. And there are 3 grams of fiber and a rich source of monounsaturated fats. These nuts are also an excellent source of manganese and thiamine.
Another low carb high fiber snack is pecans. Pecans have 3.9 grams of carbohydrates and 2.7 grams of fiber in a 1-ounce serving. These nuts also have 12 grams of monounsaturated fats and 6 grams of polyunsaturated fats.
Chia seeds are a powerhouse when it comes to fiber. In 1 ounce of chia seeds, there are 11 grams of fiber and 12 grams of carbohydrates. The fiber is mostly insoluble, so it helps with colon health. Chia seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation. Try adding them to oatmeal, yogurt, and salad dressings.
Pumpkin seeds make a great high fiber low carb snack like almonds and pecans. In 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds, there are 5 grams of carbohydrates and 1.7 grams of fiber. They are also an excellent source of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and iron. And a good source of zinc, copper, and vitamin K.
Flaxseeds have amazing nutritional benefits. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which helps with heart health. Flaxseeds also make a great high fiber low carb option to add to yogurt, cereal, and salads. And, they have 2 grams of carbohydrates and 1.9 grams of fiber in 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds.
Tips When Adding More High Fiber Low Carb Foods
- Add fiber gradually to prevent discomfort
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps to maintain healthy digestion in combination with a high fiber intake.
- Be sure to include other foods in your diet to maintain the proper balance of nutrients. Find a Registered Dietitian to work with that can help you maintain proper nutritional intake that is best for YOU!
- Very low carb diets may not be safe, and even low carb diets may not be the right choice for you if you have any health conditions. Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all concept. So, it is important to consult with your physician before starting any specific diet programs and work with a Registered Dietitian.
- Maintaining the right balance of nutrients from carbohydrates, protein, and fat can help you to make a sustainable plan!
Adding more high fiber low carb foods has been found to improve health in numerous ways such as heart and digestive health. And having more high fiber low carb options can provide added benefits in weight management and diabetes.
What are some of your favorite high fiber low carb foods? And how do you incorporate these foods into your meals and snacks? Leave your answers in the comment section!
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