This is something you don't hear too much about. In fact, you hear the opposite - if you want to lose weight, eat low-carb. But according to this article, carbohydrates can be the most nutritious and slimming foods on your plate.
1. Calming comfort
Have you ever noticed that your favorite comfort foods are carbohydrate foods? When we don’t feel well, we usually reach for comforting starches such as pasta and rice we were given as kids.
Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain breads and cereals stimulate the brain to produce a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is the feel-good hormone that helps regulate our mood, sleep and appetite. It also helps fight pain. Other serotonin-inducing carbs include whole wheat pastas, brown rice, bulgur and sweet potatoes.
2. Satisfyingly slimming
Most foods naturally high in complex carbohydrates (broccoli, red, green and yellow peppers, beans, corn and brown rice) are not only low in calories, they are filling and satisfying. That’s why cutting carbs from your diet when you’re trying to lose weight can be counter-productive.
A recommended serving is either one slice of bread, 1/3 cup of rice or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal such as oatmeal.
Many carbs are low in sugar and rich in fiber. In addition to helping you feel full, fiber gives you lots of other important health benefits.
Insoluble fiber aids in digestion and can help prevent constipation. Wheat bran and whole wheat products, which are complex carbohydrates, are sources of insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber, found in oats, carrots, and apples, forms a viscous gel which helps to decrease the absorption of cholesterol, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Soluble fiber may also help stabilize blood glucose levels and help control diabetes.
4. Beat hunger
If you want to fight hunger pangs, make room for resistant starch in your diet. Resistant starch is a kind of dietary fiber found in many carbohydrates like potatoes, barley and beans. Resistant starches are formed when these foods are cooked and cooled, such as cooked-and-chilled potatoes. This nutrient may play a significant role in promoting weight loss by helping stave off cravings.
Although it’s not clear how much resistant starch we need each day, it can improve blood sugar levels and may even protect against certain cancers.
5. Energy booster
Complex carbohydrates provide a powerhouse of easily-obtained energy. In fact, they are the body’s main source of fuel for your muscles. It’s not only your muscles that benefit — your brain, bones, glands, hormones, heart and all of your body’s systems depend on a regular flow of carb energy to function optimally. Whether you’re a fitness fan or would simply like to be more active, the intake of the right carbohydrates can give you a competitive edge.
6. Natural healing
Many people don’t realize that “good” carbs — including brown rice, celery, whole grains and strawberries — supply a wealth of vitamins, such as B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and C, in addition to minerals, such as chromium, manganese and zinc. Enriched grains are also a good source of folic acid and iron. Since carbohydrates tend to be of plant origin, many provide a host of phytonutrients (chemicals in plants that boost health).
Examples of some of these super-charged foods and their disease-fighting chemicals include spinach (lutein targets eye-related ailments), tomatoes (lycopene fights prostate cancer) and sweet potatoes (carotenoids have been linked to longer life).
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