This is a guest post written by Jamie Bridge for Need2Know Books. To learn more about healthy fats read: Good fats Bad fats: https://need2knowbooks.co.uk/bad-fats-and-good-fats/
It’s no secret that many people consider carbs to be “the enemy,” especially with numerous fad diets painting them to be wildly unhealthy. In truth, however, carbohydrates are an important pillar of good nutrition. The key to incorporating carbs into your diet is to know the difference between carbs that are beneficial, and ones that aren’t.
Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs
Carbs are macronutrients that help the body function properly by serving as its main source of energy. To reap its nutritional benefits, you can eat foods that are rich sources of fibre, sugar, and starch. So, what separates the good kind of carbs from the bad ones? You’ll first need to determine whether it’s a simple or complex carb.
Simple carbs are made up of one or two sugars, which means they’re easier to digest, and thus able to provide quick bursts of energy. The most common examples are refined products like sweets, soda, processed food. Apart from experiencing the dreaded sugar rush, simple carbs can also be harmful because they heighten your sugar levels, while providing you with little to no nutritional value.
On the other hand, complex carbs contain three or more sugars, and are also higher in fibre and starch. These factors make the body digest complex carbs at a slower rate, and therefore supply you with sustained energy. Moreover, complex carb food sources like whole grains are especially good for you because they’re chock-full of vital nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
What Are Good Carbs?
Complex carbs or ‘good carbs’ come in a wide array of food sources that can make all the difference for your nutrition. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up three of the best kinds of carbs that should be incorporated into your diet.
While they’re often associated with chips or fries, potatoes are an ideal vegetable for carb consumption. From potassium and fibre, to vitamins C and A, potatoes are packed with key nutrients that can help promote better heart health. In fact, the high fibre content in sweet potatoes helps reduce the risk of heart disease, as it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Just be sure to prepare them properly; instead of frying them, try baking or steaming them.
Rice is a particularly touchy subject when it comes to good and bad carbs. Black rice is seen as the healthiest option due to its high antioxidant content, followed by wild rice and brown rice. With all these kinds of rice available at your local supermarket, rice cookers have evolved to make sure users can cook whatever variant they want in a snap. This is especially important as many people flock to rice because of how easy it is to prepare — and choosing the right rice variant for you will ultimately depend on your nutritional goals. If you’re looking to lower your blood sugar, brown rice is ideal, thanks to its low glycemic index. Meanwhile, wild rice is an abundant source of fibre that can properly fill you up.
Quinoa has been getting a lot of buzz in the wellness world for quite some time now — and for good reason. Although it’s a rich carb source, it also contains high levels of another macronutrient: protein. In fact, it’s one of the few plant-based sources that contain complete proteins, while also providing all the essential amino acids. Plus, quinoa is a versatile ingredient, as it can act as a substitute for refined grains in your porridge, pancakes, and even brownies.
In conclusion, there’s no reason you should be afraid of carbs. While there’s no shame in enjoying the occasional donut or pizza, you should remember that carbs’ main purpose is to fuel your body — so as much as possible, pick the food source that will keep you going, and not the one that will make you feel too heavy and sluggish.
So, why not get experimenting today and try something different. Here’s a little helpful recipe from our Food for Health Essential Guide that has a wonderful recipe for Salmon and sweet potato risotto. Enjoy!
Salmon and sweet potato risotto
2 salmon steaks
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
One bag or 4 large handfuls of rocket
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, roasted
1 onion, sliced
150g organic brown rice or risotto
One bag or 4 large handfuls of rocket
- Bake the salmon steak and roast the sweet potato in olive oil. Meanwhile, cook the risotto as follows: saute some garlic and onion in a pan with a little olive oil.
- Add the rice, stirring to coat it with the oil/onion/garlic mixture, then add water and allow to simmer, gradually adding water as required until the rice is cooked. If you have parboiled the sweet potato before roasting, use this water.
- Once the rice is cooked add the roasted vegetables, rocket and baked salmon to the risotto and serve.