Why is it that our body's primary source of fuel has become a dirty word? Along with all of the other nutrition noise out there, confusion about carbs definitely tops the list. Let me help you reconsider your relationship with some compelling info about why carbohydrates are, in fact, worth your time.
1. Never a Dull Day
When it comes to grains, get creative and try something new. There are tons to choose from and plenty of ways to enjoy them. Try some amaranth porridge or a barley risotto. Choose sprouted grain breads and amp up your breakfast cereal with oats or bran. Legumes, which are most often eaten as a vegetarian protein, also provide healthy, slow digesting carbs. Try swapping your potatoes or rice for a lentil salad or mashed chickpeas from time to time.
2. Not All Created Equal
Unfortunately there's no new research touting donuts as an essential part of a well balanced diet, but there's no doubt that there are a plethora of carbohydrate containing foods that will do wonders for your health, mood and energy levels. While the recommendations still stand to limit refined and processed sugars like those in sugary drinks and sweets, complex carbohydrates, like those mentioned above, are a whole other story. Complex carbs are less processed which means they've retained more of their nutrients and also digest more slowly to keep us full longer.
3. Energy Efficienct
Despite the bad rap carbs often get, they're actually essential for getting us through the day. Carbohydrates are our body's primary source of fuel and our brain's only source of fuel! Allowing blood sugars to run on low will only leave you constantly battling cravings as your body tries to get it's energy levels back up. Carbs are also the fuel for our muscles, so for all you athletes out there who spend countless hours training and building muscle, make sure you don't miss out on optimal performance by forgetting to fuel up!
4. Fiber Fabulous
As you all know by now, I'm a huge fan of fiber. What's not to love? Cholesterol lowering, blood sugar balancing, chronic disease preventing, keep you full longer fiber. Did I mention fiber also provides food for that healthy bacteria in your gut that helps with digestion? The daily recommendation for fiber is 25-38g and without carbs, I think you'll be hard pressed to come anywhere near that amount.
5. Nutritionally Dense and Diverse
Because carbs are found in such a variety of foods, cutting them out will really limit nutrient availability in your diet.
Grains are packed with B vitamins that help with digestion and a healthy metabolism, and magnesium which helps regulate blood pressure.
Legumes are a great source of vegetarian protein, heart healthy soluble fiber and iron.
Fruits and vegetables provide us with cell protecting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that do everything from help us carry oxygen throughout our bodies, fight inflammation and illness and support healthy muscle contraction, including our hearts.
Dairy products, although not really considered a carbohydrate food, do contain some carbs as well as protein, and calcium and vitamin D to keep our bones and teeth strong.
So come out of hiding and embrace your feelings for carbs! Your body will thank you.
Now for some recipe inspiration...
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Quinoa with Chickpeas, Curry, and Limeemmadiscovery/Flickr