Carbohydrates: The Essential Energy Source

In order to live a healthy life, our body needs a daily dose of all the essential nutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and carbs. Usually, carbohydrates are said to be bad for your health, but that’s not completely true. Our body needs some carbs to perform various functions; all you have to do is make healthy choices. 

In simple words, carbohydrates are a type of micronutrient that can be found in many foods and beverages. The healthiest way to incorporate this micronutrient into your diet is in the form of fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, grains, and lentils. While processed foods like cookies, sodas, and refined flours also have carbs in the form of starch or added sugar, they are extremely harmful for your body.

Types Of Carbohydrates

There are mainly three types of carbohydrates:

  • Sugar: This is the simplest form of carbs. According to a report by the American Diabetes Association, they are naturally found in fruits and milk. Added sugar can also be found in cookies, sugary candies, and drinks.  
  • Starch: This is a complex carbohydrate that is mainly found in starchy vegetables (like peas, corn, and potatoes), beans, lentils, and grains (like oats, barley, and rice). 
  • Fibre: This is another form of complex carbohydrate. Fibre is mainly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. It plays an important role in boosting our digestive health.

Benefits Of Carbohydrates 

Provides Energy 

According to a report by Reid Health, carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the body. They provide fuel for our brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system. A deficiency of carbohydrates can lead to headaches, fatigue, weakness, constipation, bad breath, and nausea. 

Protect Against Diseases

According to the Mayo Clinic, carbohydrates also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Along with promoting digestion, fibre may also protect against colon and rectal cancer. Including healthy carbohydrates is important for managing type 2 diabetes as well.

Manages Weight

Consuming healthy carbohydrates in the right proportion also helps control weight. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the best foods for weight loss. The fibre content present in them makes you feel full for a long time, reducing your calorie intake. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 275 grams of carbs are enough for a day when eating a 2,000-calorie diet.

3 Tips To Follow While Choosing Carbs

As mentioned earlier, not all carbs are healthy. So, here are a few points to remember while adding them to your balanced diet:

Go For Fibre-Rich Fruits And Vegetables

Add fibre-rich fruits and vegetables such as apples, berries, broccoli, sprouts, and split peas to your diet. If you are consuming them in the form of juice, make sure to go for homemade ones. If you want to purchase them from the market, then check for added sugar. As most ready-made juices are loaded with added sugar, they can contribute to weight gain and other problems. 

Pick Low-Fat Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt are amazing sources of calcium, protein, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients, but always go for their low-fat versions to limit calories and saturated fat in your diet. Also, watch out for the added sugar in dairy products. 

Limit Added Sugar

Added sugar is high in carbohydrates but can be very harmful for your health. Cookies, sodas, and other sugary treats not only increase your calorie count but also cause obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Instead of them, eat more whole grains, beans, and lentils.