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The glycemic index, or GI, is a system of ranking foods based on their carbohydrate content and ability to raise blood sugar levels 3. Low-glycemic foods have an index of 55 or lower on the GI 3. These foods contain little carbohydrates and therefore cause only slight fluctuation in blood glucose levels. The purpose of the GI is to help you select the right kinds of carbohydrates for good blood glucose control. This will promote weight loss and healthy cholesterol levels, increased insulin sensitivity and improved diabetes management. Most vegetables are low on the GI.
Bell peppers are available in a rainbow of colors, including red, green, yellow, orange and purple. Packed with flavor and nutrients, this colorful vegetable is low on the GI, scoring a 10. As some of the lowest GI vegetables, they will not raise blood sugar levels and therefore do not require that you take insulin after eating them. Snack on raw peppers or add them to any stir fry.
Cabbage also ranks a 10 on the GI. This low-GI vegetable is also rich in vitamins A and K, folic acid, phosphorus, calcium and dietary fiber. Choose from red or green varieties. Eat cabbage shredded for salad or cooked for a main side dish.
Rich in vitamins A, C and K; potassium; folate; phosphorus; and dietary fiber, this bright green vegetable has a GI value of 10. Low on the GI, broccoli is great eaten raw in a salad or with dip.
In general, most raw vegetables have a low glycemic load. This is true for lettuce, which scores a 10 on the GI. Lettuce comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors, each with its own nutritional value. Choose from iceberg, romaine, endive, arugula, Boston, red or green leaf, mesclun and watercress.
Onions have a unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing compounds that contribute to its pungent odor and strong flavor as well as nutritional value. A member of the allium, or bulb family, onion scores a 10 on the GI. Use onions to flavor foods while cooking or to top off a salad. Eat them regularly to reap their many benefits.
Delicious and nutritious, mushrooms provide you with important nutrients while maintaining your insulin levels. Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamins D and B, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, selenium, zinc, potassium, protein and dietary fiber. In addition, mushrooms have a GI of 10.
Artichokes are a unique and nutritious vegetable. Scoring 15 on the GI, they are also low in carbohydrates and a good choice for a diabetic diet 2. Choose heavy, plump artichokes with tightly closed leaves.
Known for its antioxidant power, tomatoes are also rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, calcium and dietary fiber. Ranking 15 on the GI, tomatoes and tomato products are a low-carbohydrate vegetable. Eat tomatoes raw or add them to cooked soups and stews for added flavor.
Eggplant is a deep purple vegetable belonging to the nightshade family. Nightshade vegetables contain a compound known as alkaloids that promote healthy nerve muscle impulses, joint function and digestive health. With its unique taste and texture, eggplant has a GI value of 15, making it a low-carbohydrate vegetable. Eggplants are in season from August through October.
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