Wellness Nutrition Eat Well 10 Keto-Friendly Vegetables These low-carb vegetables can help you stay in ketosis. By Julie Upton, RD Julie Upton, RD Julie Upton is a registered dietitian and communications specialist. She has written for several national media outlets including The New York Times, US News & World Report, USA Today, HuffPost, Prevention, Shape, Health, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health and Men’s Journal. health's editorial guidelines Updated on January 24, 2023 Medically reviewed by Ana Maria Kausel, MD Medically reviewed by Ana Maria Kausel, MD Ana M. Kausel, MD, is a board-certified endocrinologist and co-founder of Anzara Health. learn more Share Tweet Pin Email When people follow the keto diet, they eat a mixture of high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low-carb foods. Vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes can be great for the ketogenic (keto) diet since they have few carbs. Usually, the body gets energy from carbs and fats. In contrast, the keto diet focuses on getting the most energy from high-fat foods. Having a low level of carbs sends your body into ketosis. Ketosis is when the body burns ketones, an energy source from fat, instead of sugar from carbs. The body stays in ketosis as long as it does not have access to a lot of sugar. Virginie Blanquart/Getty Images Eating Vegetables on the Keto Diet Generally, most vegetables pack many nutrients without a lot of calories. Vegetables have fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, making them excellent choices for a healthy diet. To incorporate vegetables into a keto diet, reduce vegetables that contain a lot of carbs, like potatoes, corn, and peas. Instead, replace those vegetables with non-starchy ones. Arugula Carbs: 3g Arugula, known as rocket, is a leafy green with a peppery flavor. One four-cup serving of fresh arugula contains three grams of carbs. Arugula is an excellent source of calcium, a mineral essential for strong bones and teeth. Arugula contains vitamins A and C, too. Vitamin A supports vision, the immune system, and organ functioning. Vitamin C helps heal wounds, absorbs iron, and supports the immune system. Arugula also has carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. Those compounds are antioxidants, which slow down or prevent cell damage. Some evidence suggests that antioxidants help prevent and protect against health conditions, such as: Heart diseaseObesitySome cancersUlcersViral or bacterial infections Asparagus Carbs: 2g Four spears of cooked asparagus contain two grams of carbs, making it an excellent choice for people on the keto diet. Asparagus is known as the "king of vegetables" partly because of its potential health benefits. Research has found that asparagus, in different forms like the vegetable itself or powders, helps with insomnia, high blood pressure, and stress. Asparagus contains protein, which comes with essential amino acids. Amino acids, the foundation for proteins, help break down food and repair tissues. Asparagus is a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C, and E. Asparagus is more than 50% water, which may help to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The water content can help to flush fluids out of the body. Bell Peppers Carbs: 7g Bell peppers are another low-carb option, with seven grams in one medium bell pepper. One medium red bell pepper contains the following: Calcium: 8mg Magnesium: 14mg Fiber: 2.5g Bell peppers are also excellent sources of vitamin C. In fact, bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges. One serving of red bell peppers has 95 milligrams of vitamin C, 106% of the recommended daily intake. Bell peppers also pack vitamins A and E and antioxidants. Research has found that bell peppers have anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial properties. Bell peppers might help regulate your immune system, as well. Broccoli Carbs: 8g One medium stalk of broccoli contains 45 calories and eight grams of carbs. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is an excellent source of nutrients, including: Vitamin CVitamin KFolic acidPotassiumCalciumMagnesiumSelenium Broccoli packs flavonoids, which are natural substances with antioxidant properties. Flavonoids can also get rid of fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Broccoli can help keep you hydrated since they are about 70% water. The nutrients found in broccoli may also prevent inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Brussels Sprouts Carbs: 8g A cousin to broccoli, Brussels sprouts have antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. One cup of Brussels sprouts contains the following nutrients: Carbs: 8gProtein: 3gFiber: 3gVitamin C: 75mgVitamin K: 156mcg Brussels sprouts contain sinigrin, a plant-based compound. Some evidence suggests that sinigrin has anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and wound-healing properties. 5 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts Cauliflower Carbs: 4g One cup of cooked cauliflower has four grams of carbs and 56 milligrams of vitamin C. Cauliflower is a good fiber source, which keeps you full for long periods. Another member of the cruciferous family, cauliflower, is a versatile low-carb vegetable. You can use cauliflower as a stand-in for rice, mashed potatoes, pizza crust, and baked goods. Like its cousins, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, cauliflower may help protect against certain diseases. One study published in 2017 found that eating more cruciferous vegetables reduced the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Kale Carbs: <1g One cup of kale provides less than one gram of carbs. Research has found that kale links to health benefits, such as: Reducing inflammationHelping manage eye diseasesProtecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract Kale is among the vegetables with at least 10% of the daily recommended intake of 17 nutrients that people need. Like most leafy greens, kale is a good vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and magnesium source. One cup of kale also provides 113 milligrams of vitamin K, about 94% of your daily recommended intake. Vitamin K is essential for bone health. Eating more vitamin-K-rich foods helps strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of fractures. Mushrooms Carbs: 2g Mushrooms are another flavorful and nutritious low-carb vegetable. Mushrooms are a source of protein and fiber and pack B vitamins, copper, vitamin D, and selenium. B vitamins provide the body with energy from food and blood cell formation. The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and other nerve, muscular, and immune systems functions. Copper benefits iron uptake and energy metabolism. Selenium helps maintain various cell functions. Agaricus, lingzhi, caterpillar, turkey tail, and maitake mushrooms may bolster immunity and have anti-cancer benefits. Mushrooms may have other properties, like antimicrobial, antioxidant, and hypoglycemic effects. Spinach Carbs: 1g Spinach is another good source of several nutrients. A one-half cup of boiled spinach offers 64% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. Each serving provides fiber, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, with over 121% of the daily recommended intake in one cup. Other than immunity support from vitamin C, spinach offers health benefits based on its other nutrients. For example, iron transfers oxygen to different body parts. Magnesium is essential for the growth and development of muscles. One study published in 2018 examined the relationship between green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline among older adults. The researchers found that eating green leafy vegetables like spinach helped slow the progression of cognitive decline. Tomatoes Carbs: 5g One medium tomato has 20 calories and five grams of carbs. Tomatoes also pack vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium. Tomatoes are a healthy addition to any eating plan since they are a rich source of antioxidants. For example, tomatoes have lycopene, a natural pigment that gives them their red color. Lycopene is an antioxidant that helps protect against cell damage. A review published in 2019 found that eating tomatoes promotes skin, bone, and brain health and lowers heart disease risk. Health Benefits of Tomatoes A Quick Review If you are on the keto diet or are considering it, you do not have to limit vegetables. Plenty of low-carb vegetable options include arugula, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. 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