In the recent years, people seem to have developed a typical love-hate relationship with carbohydrates. While carbohydrates do form an important part of the diet, they are also often given a bad reputation for many reasons.
Keep reading to know more about this food group and understand it better.
What are Carbohydrates?
Simply put, carbohydrates are nothing but biomolecules that play several important roles for the function of living organisms. Carbohydrates are thought to be associated with energy transportation and its derivatives play a major role in maintaining the immune system of the body, promoting fertility and also preventing blood clotting.
Why are they Important?
Carbohydrates carry out several different functions of the body- they are of two types namely complex and simple carbohydrates. The major difference between both these types is how hard the body has to work to convert the food into the basic source of energy-glucose. Considering how carbohydrates tend to impact blood glucose levels, it is important to keep track of portion sizes and food choices.
Choosing healthier foods that are rich in antioxidants, minerals and proteins could be better than those foods that simply provide calories and pack in little or no nutrients.
Whole grain foods should be opted over refined grains since whole grains tend to contain both the germ and the bran of the grain, which gives your body many important nutrients such as fiber, essential healthy fats, vitamin E and vitamin B group.
How Much is Okay?
It is first important to understand how carbohydrates are digested in the body- basically, when complex carbohydrates are consumed, the glucose is released at a much slower rate, which is why, a lot of glucose also gets used up in the process of digestion. On the other hand, when simple carbohydrates are consumed, the body needs to put in less effort to digest the food, which is why, a larger amount of glucose remains unspent, after which, the glucose levels of blood spike quickly.
Basically, the more complex the carbohydrate, the better the body’s metabolism and fat burning potential. According to the Institute of Medicine, the daily intake of carbohydrates should be between 45-65% of your total calorie intake of the day. It is also mentioned that the intake of fiber (a type of carbohydrate) must be increased.
What are the Food Sources of Carbohydrates?
Regardless of whether you are an active person or not, your body needs carbohydrates in the appropriate amounts to function properly. Here are the top 10 sources of carbohydrates that make for a good meal or a snack. It is also important to note that your carbohydrates must come from high glycemic foods when you are working out, and from low glycemic foods at all other times when you tend to remain sedentary.
- Bananas – bananas are very versatile and are packed with fast acting carbohydrates, which makes them a perfect snack, especially for those who tend to exercise and work out.
- Berries – berries are nothing less than superfoods- they pack in many antioxidants and are one of the most nutritious sources of carbohydrates. They are also a rich natural source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and are thought to help promote health and performance in many different aspects. Include more of these to your foods.
- Brown rice – brown rice is a good choice over white rice for many reasons. It has been found that a cup of brown rice could give you 45 gm of carbohydrates and a lot of vitamins, fiber and minerals. They are also thought to provide the body more long lasting energy and less fat storage.
- Low fat yogurt – foods having low fat milk and milk products are believed to be another versatile source of carbohydrates. A single six ounce serving of flavoured low fat yogurt could give you 26 gms of carbohydrates.
- Tomato sauce – it may sound surprising, but yes, tomato sauce too, is a great source of carbohydrate- a cup could give you as much as 21 gm of carbs. What’s more, it is also an impressive source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and lycopene which help protect the body against a wide range of diseases including cancer.