Carbohydrates are a very essential source of energy for the body and help to fuel vital organs such as the brain, central nervous system and kidneys. Experts recommend that we consume about half of our total calories for the day in the form of carbs. While all carbs break down into glucose, the best carbs for your health are the ones eaten closest to their natural state such as vegetables, fruit, legumes and 100% whole grains, like brown rice, quinoa, wheat, and oats. Most of these healthy carbs contain varying amounts of fiber which is an appetite suppressant that also boosts the functioning of body probiotics.
How carbs are classified
- Simple carbohydrates: these are basically sugars and are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. They can also be found in refined grains and processed foods through “added sugar.” Due to their simple and refined form, simple carbs are capable of burning up fast, thereby spiking your blood sugar and causing it to crash. When this happens, you may find yourself craving for more carbs, which can also lead to weight gain in the long run.
- Complex carbohydrates: just as the name implies, these are made up of long chains of sugar molecules. They help to keep you full for longer because they don’t digest quickly- i.e. they take longer time to break down for energy production.
- Dietary fiber: just like complex carbohydrates, carbs under this group are a long chain of sugar molecules. However, they are indigestible— meaning, your body can’t break it down to use for energy. Instead, dietary fiber functions in keeping your digestive system running, while helping to keep you full.
Of these groups of carbs discussed, complex carbs and dietary fiber are known to be the healthy carbs because they take longer for your body to break down compared to simple carbs. This means that they may help you lose weight since you spend more energy burning them, than for simple sugars.
Some good carbs that can help you lose weight
Having discussed that complex carbs and dietary fiber are carbohydrate sources that may help in weight loss; the following are carb foods that fall under the category:
Barley is a rich source of belly-filling, mostly soluble fiber that has been linked to lowered cholesterol, decreased blood sugars and increased satiety. Besides being good for your health, Barley is also an appetite suppressant that can help your weight loss goals. In addition, it also helps to decrease inflammation and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Whole-wheat pasta is not just nutrient-rich, but is also rich in fiber. Due to its rich fiber content, it is a very good option for weight loss.
In addition to its high fiber content that is crucial in weight loss, a one-cup serving of this highly nutritious, naturally sweet veggie contains 30 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C is beneficial in the formation of muscle and blood vessels; and may also help to boost the fat-burning effects of exercise.
As a whole grain, brown rice is less processed than white rice and is considered to be more nutritious; containing retained nutrients that white rice lacks— such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As a low-carb food, brown rice is said to have less carb content, it is low in calories and enriched with essential nutrients. Brown rice contains more fiber than refined grains like white rice, and is recommended by nutritionists as a good carb beneficial for weight loss.
Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans are all great foods for belly-fat loss. Eating a calorie-restricted diet that includes four weekly servings of legumes may effectively help in weight loss than an equivalent diet that doesn’t include them. In addition, legumes have also been associated with helping in LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure.
Whole-wheat bread are different from other types of bread you probably would want to avoid because of their fiber content which will help increase satiety and prevent overeating.
Oats are a rich source of carbs containing prebiotic fiber that will help fuel your body’s probiotics. This soluble fiber contained in oats may also help lower the risk of heart disease and help in weight loss.
Compared to other grains, Quinoa has very high protein content relative to its carb content and is also loaded with heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. In addition, Quinoa is also a great source of fiber and B vitamins, which altogether make it a very healthy food option.
Potatoes are nutrient rich foods with a substantial amount of plant-based protein, fiber and minerals required by your body. The fiber content in sweet potatoes is beneficial for weight loss; and with a high vitamin profile (including A, C and B6), you can also be assured more energy to burn at the gym. This versatile carb food also contains carotenoids and antioxidants which stabilize blood-sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat.
Like quinoa, buckwheat is another good carb that is gluten-free and very rich in protein— as it supplies all nine essential muscle-building amino acids the body cannot produce on its own. Buckwheat is most importantly a very rich source of fiber which helps to slow down digestion; thereby helping to ward off blood sugar spikes and hunger.
As a healthy carb choice, wheat bran is loaded with fiber, it is low in calories and high in muscle-building protein. It is made from the dense, outer hull of wheat grains and is often added to homemade muffins, waffles, pancakes and breads because of its sweet, nutty flavor.
Amaranth is more similar to Quinoa; it is similarly gluten-free, fiber rich and is also rich in proteins. In addition to these, it has more anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats than quinoa and contains more magnesium and calcium when compared. Calcium is commonly known as an electrolyte that promotes satiety, while magnesium may aid weight loss due to its ability to control blood sugar and ward off hunger. The combination of these beneficial nutrients makes it a very healthy food option for weight loss.
Carrots are very nutritious, being loaded with polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids which are all antioxidants linked to major health benefits. In addition to these, carrots also contain beta-which is immune-boosting; and fiber that can help control your food cravings. Vegetables too contain healthy carbs.
Apples are low-calorie fruits and are one of the very best sources of fiber . One of the main reasons apples can help with weight loss is because they are high in fiber, which means you could add them to your list if you are on a weight loss diet.
Nutritionists advise that choosing good carbs like the ones discussed above can be very effective for weight loss. Because of their fiber content and other added health benefits, these foods are considered helpful in your weight loss goals. A high fiber diet can be beneficial for weight loss because fiber can help suppress food intake