Carbs, in general, have long been criticized by dieters and nutrition experts of all sorts. However, the problem lies not with carbs but the stage of refining and processing that they go through before they are ready for consumption.
Simply put, carbs are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains. They are found in foods like whole grains, vegetables, peas, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. As far as vegetables, peas, beans, nuts and seeds are concerned, they can be consumed whole so there seems to be no problem. However, grains do undergo a lot of refining before they are marketed for consumption.
These refined grains are the problematic ones since their refining process strips them of their essential nutrients and breaks down their complex sugar chains leaving them as highly sugary foods with little or no nutritional value. When carbs are referred to as either “good” or “bad” carbs, it is actually talking about non-refined versus refined carbs.
Therefore, complex carbs are non-refined carbs that contain a complete source of carbohydrates like sugars as well as fiber. These complex carbs are used by the body as a primary source of energy. Since carbs provide the body with immediate energy, consuming complex carbs earlier on in the day is recommended as it takes a long time for them to burn through your system.
Having a breakfast of whole grains helps energize the body and keep it running well throughout the day. Complex carbs consumed in the morning will prevent you from feeling tired and fatigued during the day as well as prevent an afternoon slump.
Another reason to include carbs in your meals is that they have fiber which fills you up and aids digestion. And you know enough about the benefits of fiber rich foods by now to have any doubts about this one. Most plant based foods provide good fiber supplies and all whole food sources of carbohydrates are also excellent sources of fiber.
Carbs are not only needed for physical energy but also for mental clarity.
Complex carbs are required for optimal brain function and foods like vegetables, legumes, oats, quinoa, beans as well as seeds, nuts and fruit all have a collection of carbs that help in mental focus and prevent brain fog and feelings of sadness.
Remember that while sugar can make you excitable and anxious, complex carbs have a grounding effect and lower nervousness and anxiety.
So get your fill of complex carbs from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes. In fact every meal on the menu should have complex carbs included into it.
Some complex carbs include foods like lentils, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, beans, oats, broccoli, asparagus, prunes and more.
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