Posted on Jul 09, 2020, 3 p.m.
Regardless of what you have heard on social media many low calorie foods actually have a lot of nutritional value, and they can help to make a rich and balanced diet; low calories does not necessarily translate to that food being lower in nutrients.
Raw spinach for example has around only 7 calories per cup. This makes it great for salads while you are consuming nutrients that are linked to eyesight such as carotenoids, beta carotene, and lutein that can help to protect against age related vision disease such as macular degeneration.
Raw mushrooms contain about 9.5 calories per half cup. Mushrooms have become popular for those following a plant based diet as they deliver that umami taste and texture of meat. White, reminini and cooked shiitake mushrooms are good choices for copper to help support healthy bones; while "white enoki, oyster and maitake mushrooms are high in niacin, a B vitamin that's used by your body to turn food into energy,” says Ma.
Raw kale comes in at around 6 calories per cup, making them worth adding to salads, stir fries, and sandwiches for good reason as this leafy green is a good source of vitamins C and K, as well as fiber and calcium to help promote healthy heart, skin, and bone health.
Arugula has about 5 calories per cup, this leafy green staple of the Mediterranean diet has a fresh and peppery flavor that lends itself as a garnish for almost any dish. This veggie is high in vitamin K, calcium, folate, fiber, and antioxidants that play roles in helping to improve bone health while supporting the immune system and nerve functions.
Raw garlic is a mighty little powerhouse of health benefits that contains around 4 calories per clove. While adding a flavor boost to meals this favorite dating back to Hippocrates has been shown to be associated with a wide range of health benefits from fighting a cold and flu to lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels among many other benefits thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
One medium stalk of raw celery has about 6 calories, these are said to be negative calories which means that the body may burn more calories chewing on it than it absorbs. Celery is also high in water content to help fulfil hydration needs and it contains compounds that can help to reduce inflammation making it a great snack choice on those hot days.
Romaine lettuce may well be one of the most popular leafy green veggies, and it contains about 8 calories per raw cup. Like celery it is also great for hydration as one shredded cup of this type of lettuce is about 94% water while being high in vitamin A, vitamin K and folate to help promote heart health.
Vegetable broth contains around 5.5 calories per half cup, and is rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus which help to promote bone and skin health. Having a little of this broth before eating may help you to lose weight by filling you up with liquid; a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition of more than 10,000 adults found that drinking soup on a regular basis is associated with weighing less and having a healthier diet that is filled with more satiating protein and fiber.
Raw Swiss chard has about 7 calories per cup, this lesser used leafy green veggies has a slightly bitter taste that is better in sauteed dishes than raw. It makes up for taste in benefits being a rich source of antioxidants and plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, copper, and magnesium to promote healthy bone, skin, and heart health while boosting the immune system.
Raw a refreshing cucumber contains about 8 calories per half cup. This crunchy veggies is also high in water content making it another great snack for hot days, that as a bonus is a good source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin K which is a nutrient that plays an important role in blood clotting and potentially heart health according to NIH.
One of the important components in most of these choices is the fiber content that will help to normalize bowel movements to maintain digestive health, lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, support skin and heart health, and aid in achieving a healthy weight, all to reduce the risks of developing certain diseases and help you to live longer.
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