The dieting industry was able to sneak this fear of carbs into our hearts for years, directing us towards carb-free and low-sugar options. Scientifically speaking, too many carbs can lead to several health complications. But then again, too much of anything can negatively affect one’s health. However, there are proven health benefits of carbs that people tend to forget about.
Carbs can help fill you up, but many have overeaten sources that are rich in carbohydrates, leading to weight gain and obesity in many cases. Here, carbs are not the ones to blame; it is those who don’t control their portions on a daily basis and continue to overeat for a prolonged period. The thing with eating carbohydrates is that it causes insulin levels to spike, encouraging the storage of any excess fat.
Cutting carbs altogether is not the answer, but moderation is. Eating everything in moderation will help you satisfy your cravings yet stay healthy and in shape. So, this article attempts to remind people of the health benefits of carbs and why they should keep them as part of their daily meals. Before we dive into these details, we’ll walk you through the different types of carbs.
The Different Kinds of Carbohydrates
What are carbohydrates anyway? Carbs refer to one of the main micronutrients, along with fat and protein, that the body needs to function at optimal levels. Carbs are three different types, starches, sugars, and fibre. Each one is found in various food sources and has a specific function.
Starches are long glucose molecules’ chains that the digestive system breaks down to convert into energy. Given that they are long chains of glucose molecules, they take time to be broken down. However, sugars are carbohydrates of short chains that the body break down pretty fast. Fibre is the type of carbs that the gut bacteria needs to improve your digestive system, yet the human body cannot digest it on its own.
It is important to note that not all carbs are the same. And, yes, there are what everyone knows as the bad ones because they don’t provide the same health benefits as good carbs. For that very reason, people were wired to fear all kinds of carbs, believing they do more harm than good. However, this notion needs to be corrected to improve one’s quality of life.
Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs
The health complications that result from consuming vast amounts of bad carbs have tainted the reputation of the good ones. Complex carbs are often the scientific term used to describe good carbs. This kind is usually found in plant-based sources and is quite beneficial for your metabolism. On the other hand, bad carbs are commonly known as simple carbs, ones that the body digest quite rapidly and have little to no nutritional value.
Sources of the good kind that will help you reap the health benefits of carbs are quinoa, whole grains, oats, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, asparagus, baby corn and broccoli. However, white rice, pasta, sugar sodas, and refined grains are the ones that do more harm than good. Starchy vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, yams, and corn, should be consumed in moderation.
6 Proven Health Benefits of Carbs that You Can Reap
Now that you know that not all carbs are created equally, it is time to learn the health benefits of carbs that can improve your quality of life. This way, you will learn to make better choices and stop shunning a whole food group out of your life.
1. Carbs Are the Best Fuel for the Body
One of the main health benefits of carbs is that they fuel your body with energy. Your body needs to consume this significant micronutrient on a daily basis in order to perform better. Since it is the primary source of energy, it sustains the functions of your vital organs, like the kidneys, muscles, including those of the heart, and even your nervous system.
2. Boost Your Mood
Besides revving up your organs, boosting your mood is among the health benefits of carbs that you don’t want to miss. Several pieces of research have indicated that consuming carbs encourages the production of a chemical known as serotonin. It is commonly referred to as the feel-good hormone or hormone of happiness.
3. Can Aid in Weight Loss
We have already explained the different types of carbs, demonstrating that complex carbs have significant health benefits. In fact, people who consume complex carbs regularly are better at managing their weight. It helps in keeping you full for longer, so you won’t unnecessarily snack and add calories to your daily intake that you don’t need.
4. Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
This may come as a surprise to many people, but one of the greatest health benefits of carbs is enhancing your heart health. Well, we are here referring to the complex carbs, known as good carbs, which include vegetables, beans, and whole grains. These food groups lessen inflammation in the body, which in turn reduces plaque from blocking up the arteries.
5. Improve the Digestion Process
As we have previously mentioned, fibre is deemed one of the main types of carbohydrates that have great health benefits. The body digests fibre slowly, which makes it an ideal option for weight loss and keeping our mouths shut for a longer time. However, this is not the only advantage of eating fibre. In fact, fibre is important for the bacteria in our gut to feed on, and it helps improving the function of our digestive system.
6. Help in Building Muscles
Carbs are the main fuel that our bodies need to keep going. Building muscles need the energy to enhance your workout performance and help you build up the intensity. Moreover, glycogen is a form of energy that our muscles store. It is obtained from carbs as part of our daily intake and is converted to glycogen. Thus, going carb-less can truly harm your workout performance.
Moderation is key. Carbs are essential micronutrients that have to be included in our daily meals. Although media always makes it seem like they’re our biggest enemy, there are health benefits of carbs that we need, and cutting them out can deplete our bodies of energy. So, don’t shy away from indulging in your favourite pizza or snacking in fries with moderation.