Nutrition can be confusing. What’s good for you? What’s bad for you? Breaking it down into three macronutrient groups can help to wrap your head around nutrition.
One of the three-macronutrient groups are carbohydrates and need to be considered when evaluating one’s diet. Most people think that bread is the only food that is a carbohydrate. However, sugars, starches and fibers all are considered carbohydrates. In the body, carbohydrates are responsible for providing energy and sugar for our cells to function properly. Since there are many different sources of carbohydrates, here are a few simple tips to help choose the best for healthy and continuous energy.
High Fiber: High fiber carbohydrates digest slowly, allowing for more energy for a longer period of time. Fiber intake is also necessary for a healthy digestive system. Examples of carbs that are high in fiber include oats, oat bran, beans, peas, whole grain, seeds, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables.
Low Glycemic Index: Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels increase after eating carbohydrates. They higher the index, the faster blood sugar increases and the faster it drops. Low glycemic index means it takes longer to increase, but stays regulated longer. The best kinds of carbohydrates have low glycemic index, therefore, maintaining your blood sugar levels for a longer period of time. Foods that have a high glycemic index (which we want to avoid) are foods such as table sugar, desserts, soda, fruit juice, bagels, muffins and sugary sports drinks. Instead, we should reach for whole grains, flax, oats, bran, spinach, potatoes and whole grain rice.
Consume Most After Exercise: We should make sure that the meal we consume within three hours of exercise has a good source of carbohydrates to replenish our bodies and energy sources. These carb sources should be low in glycemic index and high in fiber.
These three simple tips to help us choose smart carbohydrates that add value to our bodies and our exercise program.