Carbohydrates are regarded as fattening agents and this is actually a myth! Our body needs specific carbohydrates especially if you are involved in any activities like working out, fitness programs, yoga etc. Bad carb promotes insulin spike and imbalances the blood sugar level and Promotes fat storage; hence it is necessary to know and consume the sources of healthy carbs.
A BRIEF ABOUT CARBS
Carbohydrates (2 types – complex carbs and simple carbs) are a primary source of energy, but we need only a specific amount of carbohydrates as per our goals/body requirements. Have too much of carbohydrates above our needs , and the body will not be able to utilize them or burn them which leads to storage of carbohydrates in our body in the fat.
Ideally one should eat 0.5gm – 1gm of carbohydras per pounds of body weight. 0.5gm-1gm x Body weight in LB (pounds). If the goal requires caloric surplus then it should be 2-3 gms per body weight in LB.
The required value should be divided into the meals we consume in a day. If we have 3 to 4 meals then X/3-4 = Y gm of carbohydrates per meal. This of course needs to be followed if you have intensive workouts or are planning to lose weight. It’s all about the requirements/goals and adjusting the numbers per LB of body weight.
Before we talk about the healthiest sources of carbohydrates we need to know – Carbs are mainly divided into 2 types – complex carbs which digest slowly in our body and provide energy for a long period of time and the other is simple carbs which break down fast and provides energy for a shorter period of time. Here is a list of all the essential and healthy carbs in these 2 forms that our body needs:
Whole oats contain high amount of fibre which is good for maintaining cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the body. It also helps maintain cardiovascular health.
Quinoa contains more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than any other grain. It’s the fibre that provides the benefits here, helping to lower your cholesterol. If you are looking out for a less carb diet that can help reduce your cholesterol, you ought to incorporate quinoa in your meals.
- WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT BREAD
White bread is made using refined grains with no nutrients but brown bread contains all the nutrients obtained from unpolished and unrefined whole wheat. Brown bread has the following benefits- healthy bowels, reduced risk of heart disease, mental health and lower risk of weight gain. Since it contains healthy carbs and fibre, it certainly prevents cholesterol levels from increasing and does not cause any digestion problems like white bread does.
- SWEET POTATO
While white potatoes’ high glycaemic index mean that their carbohydrates are quickly converted into sugar and a corresponding elevation in blood sugar levels, sweet potatoes are different. They fall much lower on the glycaemic index which is better for avoiding sugar crashes and better for diabetes control.
- WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT PASTA
You do not specifically need to grab pasta thinking it has good carbs; there are other better sources as well. Just because you need to eat pasta someday, choose the whole wheat one. It contains limited carbs that are not related to increasing cholesterol levels in the body.
- BROWN RICE
Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran, which renders quicker cooking times and makes it easier to digest as it’s much “lighter” in the in the stomach. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fibre, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycaemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.
Beans are a great source of calcium, fibre and natural glucose. Since it contains natural sugars, it has no ill effects linked to unhealthy carbs and definitely has health-promoting effects.
Broccoli is a great zero/low calorie food and is also rich in fibre. It is also contains vitamin C proportional to that present in oranges. Have it stir fried or steamed, add it in salads or cook them with little masala and onions.
Millet is a smart carb that contains loads of fibre and low simple sugars. Because of this it has a relatively low glycaemic index and has been shown to produce lower blood sugar levels than wheat or rice.
Carrots are rich in carotenoids- beta-carotene and alpha-carotene that are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots contain high amounts of soluble fibre, largely from pectin, which could be the reason they’ve been shown to lower cholesterol.
Note: If you are curious, the best sources of carbs are the ones that are complex. They should be fibrous ; more the fibre healthier is the carb source. Ideally 25-30gm of fibre is required as a daily intake. Complex carbs will not spike blood insulin and helps maintain blood sugar level.