Not all carbs are created equal. Healthy carbs for breakfast are needed for your body to thrive and function well.
Carbohydrates are one of the most misunderstood macronutrients of our times. They're often associated with weight gain and diabetes. No wonder people on a diet tend to avoid them like the plague. But not all carbs are created equal. Some make for a healthy and balanced diet. In fact, a good dose of healthy carbs for breakfast may give you the energy boost you need to start your day right.
Getting to Know “Good” Carbs from the “Bad” Carbs
Along with fats and proteins, carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient, which serves as fuel for the body. It’s found in a wide range of food. Naturally-occurring carbohydrates are found in grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Processed food and beverages are also loaded with carbs in the form of starches and sugars.
In general, carbohydrates can be categorized into two types:
Sugars are simple carbs that the body digests very quickly, causing sudden surges in your blood sugar level. Because the feeling of fullness from eating simple carbs is short-lived, you’ll most likely overeat. This momentary feeling of fullness could lead to a slew of medical problems like weight gain, diabetes, and hypertension.
Simple carbs are what give carbohydrates a bad rap. They can be found in popular food and beverages like bread, pasta, pastries, white rice, brown and white sugar, fruit juice concentrates, and soda. These are the carbs you’d want to avoid as much as possible.
This type of carbohydrate is made of sugar molecules that are fettered together in a long chain. It takes longer for the body to metabolize it, releasing a steady supply of glucose over a longer period of time. That means no blood sugar spike, and you won’t feel hungry too soon.
Foods that are good sources of complex carbs are also often packed with other nutrients. Plus, you do yourself a favor because food with complex carbs will less likely contain processed sugar.
High Carb Food For a Healthy Diet
Healthy carbs for breakfast are a must if you want to be in tiptop shape throughout the day. These food are worth considering for your meal plan:
A simple bowl of oats is a treasure trove of nutrients. Aside from complex carbs to fuel your day, this gluten-free whole grain is a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It’s no wonder this food offers a slew of health benefits, which includes improving cardiovascular health, aiding in weight loss, and lowering blood sugar level.
Beta-glucan is a fiber found in oats. In a randomized study involving 12 volunteers with type 2 diabetes, it was discovered that the addition of beta-glucan in the diet reduces the glycemic response to an oral glucose load.
Another whole grain, gluten-free, and high-carb food that’s loaded with nutrients is quinoa. Aside from carbohydrates, quinoa is also a rich source of protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc, and folate.
Because it’s packed with important nutrients, quinoa has several health benefits. It can lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal cancer, thanks largely to its high amount of dietary fibers. In addition, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that regular intake of dietary magnesium reduces the risk for ischemic stroke.
Learn to cook tasty dishes using quinoa with these recipes here.
Bananas are one of the most consumed fruit all over the world–and deservedly so. This nutrient-dense fruit has a low glycemic index (GI), the rate at which food gets metabolized, enters the bloodstream, and raises the blood sugar level. Banana’s low GI means it gets digested slowly and doesn’t cause a sudden spike in the blood sugar level. However, it’s important to note that a banana’s GI is largely dependent on its ripeness, with well-ripened bananas having a higher GI than unripe ones.
In addition, bananas also contain a rich amount of potassium, a mineral that promotes cardiovascular health. This fruit also has prebiotic nutrients, pectin, and resistant starch, making it an excellent food to support the growth of good gut bacteria.
Find out more about the glycemic index of different foods here.
Yogurt, particularly the unsweetened kind like skyr and Greek yogurt, is a good source of lactose, a naturally-occurring sugar found in dairy products. Aside from a good dose of carbohydrates, unsweetened yogurts are a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.
Due to its impressive nutrient profile, yogurt boasts several health benefits. It promotes higher bone density, improved gut health, and helps lower blood pressure.
Legumes, such as lentils, peas, and beans, are high-carb foods that are also packed with antioxidants, proteins, fiber, and phytonutrients. In fact, a higher intake of legumes is associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including stomach, kidney, and colorectal cancer.
Incorporating Healthy Carbs for Breakfast
You don’t have to avoid carbohydrates. Cultivating excellent food choices is the better way to go. Embrace healthy carbs and make them part of your diet. Your body will thank you for it.
Start the Day Right with Whole Grains
Healthy carbs for breakfast is an amazing way to kickstart your day. Instead of reaching out for the usual white bread to make your favorite sandwich, go for whole grains instead. Oats and quinoa are good alternatives to bread or rice also. They’re loaded with the nutrients you need, and they make you feel full for longer, so you’re less likely to snack on something unhealthy.
Mix and Match
Who says eating healthy is boring? It doesn’t have to be. Pair up fruits and vegetables with other food that are good sources of macronutrients. For instance, yogurt is pretty versatile, and it tastes amazing with just about any fruit. This way, you get a healthy mix of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients, keeping your carb intake in check.
Ditch Refined or Processed Food in Favor of Whole Food
Craving for a sip of your favorite fruit juice? Why not go for the real fruit instead. Eating an orange is way better than drinking orange juice. Not to mention the added nutrients you’re getting from fresh produce.
The same goes for all the other high-carb foods you’re fond of. Bread? Go for whole wheat bread instead of the usual white bread. And if you have the choice between blueberries and blueberry cheesecake, you know what’s the better option for you.
Carbs aren’t the enemy. Relegating one entire food group as “evil” is not going to cut it if you want a healthier diet. Most often, choosing your carbs wisely is the best way to a more balanced diet. Couple this with a robust fitness program, and you’re well on your way to having a healthy lifestyle.
Learn more about how you can access a network of facilities to help you achieve your fitness goals here.