When we talk carbohydrates we are not just referring to foods such as white rice, bread or potato which are generally labelled the ‘BAD’ white carbohydrates and fattening. All fruits and vegetables are carbohydrate sources.
Carbohydrates provide the muscles and other body tissues with approximately half of the energy they require for use, the other half coming from mostly fats. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple carbohydrates (glucose, fructose and galactose) and complex carbohydrates (glycogen, starches and fiber). Simple carbohydrates basically mean that the body breaks them down quickly, therefore we require more sooner, whereas complex carbohydrates take longer to breakdown into glucose as they are slower releasing, therefore we can sustain energy for longer.
The body’s cells require glucose for energy, and it is the preferred energy source for brain cells, other nerve cells and developing red blood cells, however protein and fat can also be converted to glucose to some extent.
Complex carbohydrates are my favourite sources as they provide sustained energy without creating a rapid sugar spike. Balancing meals will often include a small portion of complex carbs (sweet potato, pumpkin, beetroot, lentils, chickpeas, beans, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth or brown/red/black rice) with the majority of carbs being made up of fresh vegetables and fruits, in particular leafy greens. It is these carbohydrates that provide us with numerous vitamins and minerals in their most absorbable forms.
Grains which are actually ‘seeds’, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, millet and amaranth, while I do not consume many of these on a daily basis, I do use these foods in baking or every now and again for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Carbohydrates are essential and need to be consumed daily to provide our bodies with energy. Choosing a range of fresh vegetables and fruits is definitely the best way to start followed by pulses and legumes. Depending on your energy requirements will depend on just how much and what types of carbohydrates you will need.
If you have any questions surrounding what types of carbohydrates you should be including into your diet for optimal health, make an appointment today and I will work with you to get you back on track quickly 🙂