Crafty Carbs – The Six You Should Eat
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that are essential to good health; protein and fats are the other two. Consuming carbs in moderation is the key to a healthy relationship with foods that are vital for brain and body functions. Complex carbs are the sugar, starch, and fiber found in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, milk products, and grains. Fiber is the healthiest of carbs, but the body cannot break it down, instead it is used by our digestive bacteria to produce fatty acids that provide fuel to our cells for energy. Numerous studies show that a low-carb, high-fiber diet is most potent for losing weight.
Complex carbs that deliver long-term energy, fiber-rich, and unprocessed include:
Simple carbs that are a source of short-term energy and long-term harm:
Here are six carbohydrate foods that are high in fiber and nutritionally dense.
Apples are an excellent source of vitamin A and C, and potassium, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Pectin, a soluble fiber in apples blocks the absorption of cholesterol, prompting the body to use it and not store it. Eating the skin of the apple; where most of the complex fiber is helps generate a feeling of satiety which can lead to weight loss and a healthy digestive system. Quercetin, an antioxidant also found in apple skin has been linked with better lung function and lowering the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s. A compound in apples called triterpenoids appears to combat liver, colon, and breast cancers. Apples are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Legumes are rich in complex carbs contributing to a well-functioning digestive system because they are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber. A ½ cup has 7 grams plus fiber. The texture gives a feeling of fullness helping to regulate insulin and glucose levels. The red blood cell producer, vitamin B Folate is found in legumes. Folate is a vital ingredient during the early stages of pregnancy. Vitamin B also fights heart disease. Daily consumption of legumes can help ease the effects of menopause.
Over 400 percent of one’s daily vitamin A requirement can be had in one medium-sized sweet potato. Vitamin A with its anti-aging benefits helps maintain good skin, eyesight and can lower the risk of cancer. The same potato with its skin on contains 6 grams of fiber and 542 milligrams of potassium. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, a powerful immunity boost. Choline a nutrient found in sweet potatoes helps with muscle movement, sleep, memory, and learning.
Oatmeal is a whole-grain complex carbohydrate, high in soluble fiber. As such it is heart-healthy and helps reduce blood pressure. A ½ cup of steel cut oats has 29 grams of carbs, so the nutrients and fiber leave you feeling fuller longer. Copper, zinc, iron, folate, manganese, phosphorus and vitamins B1 and B5 are all found in oatmeal. This grain also appears to decrease the hard to shrink visceral fat that sits around the belly.
Sourdough bread is made of whole wheat, wild yeast, and bacteria. It is the oldest of the leavened breads. The “starter” for this ancient dough rises slower than other bread. As a result, the sugar, starches, and gluten are broken down before baking making this bread gluten-free and easily digestible which leads to a lower insulin response. Sourdough does not require any preservatives because Acetic-Acid, a mold inhibitor is produced in making the bread. So it naturally preserves itself. Its complex mineral makeup contains vitamins B1-B6, B12, E, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Sourdough Rye is said to have even more nutritional benefits than the traditional whole wheat variety.
Peas are believed to have originated from the sub-Himalayan plains of India. Peas are low in calories and are cholesterol free. Pea pods are an excellent source of folic acid, a vitamin B-complex vital for DNA synthesis inside the cell, vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy skin and eyesight, vitamin C known for its resistance against infection and vitamin K which plays a role in building bone, and limiting neuronal damage in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Peas are abundant in the minerals calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium.