Carbohydrates are biological molecules exclusively made of atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Above all, they are in charge of providing immediate and structural energy to living beings. Find out some of the best sources of carbohydrates.
That is why it is an absolutely vital element for the functioning of the organism. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about them and the best sources.
Carbohydrates in the diet
We will use a simple metaphor so that you can understand how important carbs are for anyone. But specially for those who do physical exercise regularly.
Because when it comes to creating muscle tissue, proteins are like the bricks of a building, the base of the structure. On the other hand, carbs are the workers that use fats to complete said process.
Glucose is the main source of energy for the organism, a substance that is directly extracted from carbohydrates. Therefore, it plays a vital role in all the organs, from the brain to the skin.
Moreover, if we combine its consumption with regular exercise, it will help us control our weight while improving our physical resistance.
Healthy foods rich in carbohydrates
Now that you have an idea of how important carbohydrates are, it is time for you to know which are the best sources. Let’s have a look:
An 81% of the composition of rice is carbohydrates. Therefore, it is one of the most important and indispensable sources for the diet of any athlete.
Moreover, it does not have gluten, which is quite relevant for celiac people and those who are allergic to this element.
However, even if it is the cereal with the highest carb content, it does not have proteins or other indispensable nutrients. Therefore, it is not as complete as pasta, as we are going to see now.
Pasta is the food par excellence of all athletes and specially for those who perform very intense efforts.
In fact, you have probably heard more than once that the most important athletes use pasta as the base of their diet. This is due to the fact that 100 grams of pasta have 71 grams of carbs. Therefore, it is an excellent source of energy.
56 out of 100 grams of oats are carbohydrates. But a 10% of its composition is also fiber. This is a substance that provides light and smooth digestions, while improving the functioning of the digestive system.
So, apart from its healthy supply of unsaturated fats, it is a basic cereal that can be used to prepare an excellent breakfast.
Sugar, either white or brown, is an excellent source of carbs for athletes. Specially for those key moments when the performance tends to drop or to provide energy immediately in the case of a post-workout.
In fact, a 99.8% of the composition of the first one belongs to this type of biomolecules, while the second one has only 97.6%. However, it is not advisable to use this product excessively because the digestive system tends to store it as fat, and it also requires a great effort to digest it.
Moreover, we should not forget that taking too much sugar can stimulate the production of insulin by the pancreas, which can trigger diabetes.
A 19% of its composition is carbohydrates, a number that is relatively low if we compare it with the rest of foods from the list.
However, the quality of these carbohydrates, which are mostly starch, is very high. Moreover, it is so rich in fiber, group B vitamins, and potassium, that its consumption should be mandatory in any healthy and balanced diet.
Other Sources that you probably have not tried yet
Quinoa has a smooth flavor and crunchy texture. It is a great source of carbohydrates without gluten that provides many benefits. Its main nutrients are: proteins, fiber, iron, folic acid, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids.
It is a traditional dish made with wheat semolina. In fact, it is a basic element from North-African cuisine mainly used as a side dish for vegetables, meat, or other carbohydrates.
Couscous is mostly sold pre-cooked so that we just have to boil it a dry it.
Like quinoa, it can replace rice, pasta, potatoes and it can be added to salads, meat, or as an independent side dish.
Millet is a group of herbs with small seeds cultivated in the whole world. Their cultivation season is very short, under a dry climate and high temperatures.
It is a creamy that can be used to cook an either spongy or creamy puree. In fact, it can be combined with many other products. It is a small and round grain that is rich in copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.
You can eat it for breakfast like oats or add it to breads or muffins. Moreover, it is mainly used as flour in many meals.
Buckwheat is also an alternative to rice. You can eat it either toasted or without toasting, although it has an earthy and intense flavor.
Actually, it is a very complete food that provides many different nutrients. It is high in antioxidants, minerals like zinc, copper, iron, as well as the 9 essential amino acids. Therefore, it is also a complete protein that is easy to absorb.
That is why it is an excellent protein source for those who follow a vegetarian diet.
It is one of the best sources of fiber. Moreover, it has a high antioxidant content, vitamins and minerals. But its husk is not edible, which is why it has to be removed during the manufacturing process. Barley is not just an ingredient for canned soups.
You can cook a side dish, bread, puree and even use it as flour for some bakery recipes.
It is an underground root with starch that is mainly native to Asia, the Pacific Islands, West Africa and Amazonian regions from South America.
This edible root is also called kalo, malanga and elephant ears.
It has a crunchy texture that becomes smooth and edible after cooking it. Its flavor is similar to walnuts and water chestnuts. Moreover, it provides more calories than a potato, while being low in fats and gluten-free.
In addition, it provides a high percentage of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, B complex, zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and potassium. Taro is used as a vegetable due to its bulbs, leaves, stems and leaves.
It is a starch extracted from the stem of the sago palm. Traditionally, people ate it as pearls or used it as a paste to make pancakes, biscuits or bread. It barely has protein, but it has significant amounts of calcium and iron. Moreover, it can be used as flour to bake or to make pasta as well.
It is a tuber with a sweet flavor. Many people from Africa, Asia and South America use it as a basic ingredient because it is a great source of carbohydrates. This plant grows better in tropical climates and has to be boiled before eating it.
Cassava is low in fat, gluten-free and a good source of vitamin K, complex B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese and potassium. In fact, cassava can replace potatoes in most recipes without any issue.
It is more common in Europe, the Middle East and Indian cuisine. Bulgur is a cereal made with different types of wheat, but specially durum wheat. Actually, it tastes like walnut and you can use to cook soups, bakery, stuffings and pilafs.
You can also add it to bread and salads and it can be a great substitute for whole rice grain and other starches. In fact, it has a considerably higher calorie content than a potato, but it is a great source of complex B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc.
It has a high protein content and it is also used to make pasta because it is low in gluten.
Use it to cook soups, stuffings, many desserts and cakes. Moreover, you can add it to pizzas and cakes. American people mainly use it to make pasta.
There are plenty of varieties and alternatives, we just have to pay more attention to all the possibilities. Find out its benefits and how to cook each one of them, learn to combine them and, above all, let’s welcome them to our daily diet.
Around a 40 and 60% of the calories that you eat should come from carbohydrates. Our body needs these molecules in order to obtain enough energy to perform each one of its vital tasks.
Moreover, if you like doing physical exercise, you will need to eat more so that your body will have enough energy.
All in all, carbohydrates are indispensable biomolecules for life. In fact, even though there are a lot of people that believe that they fatten up, the truth is that only those that are not transformed into energy do. Therefore, we can easily fix this problem with a little bit of exercise.
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