Updated: Jul 10, 2021
Last week, we talked about fats (good fats) and why we need them in our diets. Today, I want to talk about carbs. Like fats, they get an undeserved “bad reputation” so let me share some important information you might need to know about them.
We need to start by defining carbohydrates: They are one of three macronutrients (along with proteins and fats) that our body needs a daily intake of. They are our body’s main source of energy. They fuel our brain, kidneyes, heart, and central nervous system. If your diet is lacking in them, it may cause headahces, fatigue, weakness, nausea, constipation, bad breath and other health issues.
There are 3 types of carbohydrates: Starches, fiber and sugars.
Starches are also known as complex carbohydrates and you can find them in legumes and vegetables like potatoes and corn. Our bodies break them down into sugars for energy.
Sugars are known as simple carbohydrates. We can find these in fruits, milk and honey. Ingesting them in large quantities may cause obesity, heart disease and other illnesses, so we need to be conscious of our intake of these kinds of carbs.
Fiber can be found in beans and fruits. It may provide few nutrients but fiber is ESSENTIAL to our digestive system. It “cleans” our stomach, colon and intestines; it promotes good digestion and helps prevent certain illnesses such as colon cancer.
What are some healthy sources of carbohydrates?
According to raidhealth.org to reap the benefits we were talking about, you must choose healthy carbohydrates. They recommend to get at leat half of your intake from whole grains.
Whole grains: Quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, oatmeal.
Fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, apples, pears, bananas and kiwi.
Starchy vegetables: Yams, corn, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes.
Legumes: Lentils, black beans, soybeans, etc.
Milk products: low-fat milk, plain yougurt, soy yogurt.
Foods lower in carbohydrates:
Nonstarchy veggies: leafy greens, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, peppers.
Nuts and seeds: Sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts.
Soy milk and tofu.
According to the United States Department of Agrictulture, you should consume at the very least 130 grams for adults, 175 grams for women who are pregnant and 210 grams for women who are breastfeeding. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women should consume 25 grams of fiber daily , while men should consume 38 grams of fiber daily. How do you know how many grams is in your food? Check the nutrition guides on the packaging. Let’s talk about reading nutrition guides on the foods we eat in a few weeks.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of sources of carbs and they are benefitial to our bodies and our health. What we need to be careful of is consuming sugars (or anything, for that matter) in excess.
Let me know, what is your favourite source of carbohydrates?