A look at health benefits of Carbohydrates

What are Carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are 1 of the 3 macronutrients (the other two being proteins and fats) that are vital for maintaining a healthy body and mind. There are simple carbohydrates or sugars that are basically found in sugar, honey, dairy products, fruit and fruit juice. Then there are complex Carbohydrates or starches that can be broken down into simple sugars, such as Rice, bread, crackers, pasta, corn, peas, butternut and sweet potatoes etcetera.

Now look at their health benefits…

  1. Carbs provide energy for your brain Carbohydrates are important, because the brain needs glucose to function at its peak level. However, the problem with brain cells is that they can’t store large quantities of glucose. That’s why; consuming carbohydrate rich foods throughout the day is so important, because they supply your brain with the all essential glucose.

  2. Good Carbs help in improving digestion Eating complex carbs can be a problem as it might cause indigestion and bloating as a consequence. However, eating good carbs like veggies, whole grains and fruits that contain a good amount of dietary fiber can be a blessing. The good thing about dietary fiber is that it helps in maintaining normal bowel movements, and problems like indigestion are normally kept at bay.

  3. Carbs can bring a smile to your face Studies have shown that foods containing carbohydrates also have L-tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that gives you the feel good factor. So eating good carbs like veggies, beans, lentils, fruits and whole grains that provide vitamin B and dietary fiber can be a good thing for you, as they will give you serotonin and the feel good factor as a consequence.

  4. Carbs also bring down risk of cardiac diseases It is important to understand that eating the right kind of carbs can actually lower the risk of heart attacks as well. The carbs that really matter in this case are carbs that are rich in soluble fiber, such as oat meals, beans, nuts, blueberries and apples. Carbs with soluble fibers are helpful in keeping the blood sugar levels down and bringing down the levels of LDL cholesterol as a consequence.

  5. Carbs can also help in improving sleep patterns Another crucial function of carbs is that they help in raising the insulin levels in the body. The raised insulin levels in turn enhance serotonin and tryptophan production. Tryptophan, which is a good sleep inducer and serotonin, which gives a feel good factor are a perfect mix to ensure that you get a good sleep when you lie down on your bed at night.

  6. Carbs can also help you in managing body weight A great thing about carbs that contain fiber is that they usually take a pretty long time to digest. That’s why; when you consume fibrous foods, they tend to enhance your feeling of being full quite fast. The Fibers consumed also absorb water in your stomach and intestine and give you a feeling that you are full. As a consequence, you end up eating lesser food if what you are eating is full of fibers. And this in turn helps you in managing your body weight in a much better way.

  7. Carbs can reduce risk of cancers Many researches carried out in the past have shown that fibrous foods like whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits are full of antioxidants that have anti-cancer properties. Similarly, there are vegetables containing sulforaphane such as broccoli, which is known to cut down the risk of cancerous growth in lungs and bowels. So, it is definitely a great idea to switch to good carbs if you want to keep the risk of cancer at bay.

  8. Carbs can keep your energy charged Carbs are indeed the main source of energy, because they are metabolized after consumption to produce glucose. And glucose is that essential ingredient that gives your body the required energy for walking, running or doing any kind of physical activity. That is why, whenever you feel burnt out or totally exhausted, having a meal of carbs is the best thing that will get your energy levels recharged in a relatively short period of time.

  9. Carbs help in gaining muscle mass Carbs, which can also be called glycogens, are essential to power the high-intensity workouts needed for gaining muscle mass. During these high-intensity workouts, the body tends to convert glycogens into ATP molecules to use them as energy. So eating carbohydrate rich foods can make all the difference when you are trying to gain muscle mass through high intensity workouts.

  10. Carbs can enhance your lifespan Eating foods that are rich in carbs tends to encourage the production of 2 very crucial hormones, insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). The IGF-1 hormone is instrumental in recovery of cells, which is the primary cause of rejuvenation of cells in the body. This actually helps in keeping your body young and energetic for a longer period of time.