What are Complex Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates have been a topic of debate lately. When you hear the word "carbohydrates", you may visualize about the white bread, rice or pasta, and think about avoiding the white group!
But have you heard the recent buzz about complex carbohydrates and how can they be made a part of a balanced healthy diet?
Why do you need carbohydrates?
Everyone requires carbohydrates, they are the preferred source of energy for your brain and muscles. They are digested faster than protein and fat, and are the perfect fuel for your body. The quantity of carbohydrates needed by your body is highly individualized and depends on your body’s needs. Around 45 – 65 % of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates, and the preferred source should be complex carbohydrates.
Why are complex carbohydrates a better choice?
Foods that are made up of simple carbohydrates, like - candy, pastries and soda, all of them are an instant source of energy and are digested very quickly giving a rapid swing to your blood sugar. Because of which the person may feel hungry again soon after. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down since their molecule structure is larger. Also, most complex carbohydrates have a plenty of fiber which moves slowly through the digestive tract. Therefore, they help us to feel satiated and full for a longer time and help in portion and eating control. All grains, beans, fruits and vegetables have complex carbohydrates. And often there is a blend of both simple and complex carbohydrates.
In addition to regulating blood sugar, complex carbohydrates are power packed with many nutrients, they are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that simple carbohydrates may not have.
What is the right time to have carbohydrates?
Usually, you should have carbohydrates early in the day, when you need most of your energy in the form of some whole grains, which takes all day long to burn through your system. This means you will have energy all day long and will not have to deal with the afternoon slump.
Other benefits of Complex Carbohydrates
Certain carbs like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, bananas and brown rice contain large amounts of tryptophan, which relax the body and help you to get a sound sleep. Oatmeal even helps your body to produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep. Your body also uses carbohydrates for optimal brain function. Foods such as vegetables, oats, legumes, nuts and fruits all contain carbs that help in mental focus and aid in maintaining a healthy mood. Remember – Do not deprive your brain of carbs! It needs them!
What is the Takeaway?
So, the type of carbs you would like to avoid are all the refined and processed grains. Also avoid a very high intake of sugary foods that just give you empty calories. Instead have more of complex carbohydrates that is power packed with a number of essential nutrients and also helps to maintain your waist line! Add more plants to your plate as they are the best source of complex carbs.
For example, instead on munching chips, try raw veggies! Instead of having rice and pasta, have whole grains and whole wheat pasta. Common complex carbohydrates include – lentils, beans, whole grain products, brown rice, corn, wheat, barley, oats, quinoa, tomato, broccoli, spinach and a lot of other fruits and vegetables. You could also include low fat dairy products in your diet!
So choose your diet plan wisely! Make informed choices!