Today we’re going to be focussing on some of the awesome health benefits of eating carbohydrate foods.
Years ago, the Atkins diet burst onto the scene and suddenly carbohydrates were public enemy number one.
In the past, carbs were considered healthy and fatwas feared, then along came Atkins and the roles were reversed.
The diet’s popularity eventually faded, until the early noughties when, thanks to various Hollywood celebrity endorsements, the diet once again proved popular.
Because of that, low carb diet variants popped up everywhere.
Keto is another example.
While there are certain health benefits associated with low carb diets, they also have their drawbacks, and there are definitely many health benefits of carbs foods that need to be examined.
In today’s article, we’re going to be looking at why carbs are your friend and should not be feared.
So, without any further ado, here are several awesome health benefits.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches, and fibers found within milk, whole grains, cereals, fruits, and vegetables.
Carbs are one of three basic food groups and are a macronutrient, along with protein and fats.
Though people often avoid carbs and blame them for weight gain, diabetes, and every other disease under the sun, the truth is that carbohydrates are actually very beneficial for you, as long as you consume the right sorts.
If you were wondering why they were called carbohydrates, by the way, they get their name from the fact that they contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
In order for the body to perform at its best, it requires a healthy balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
We’re looking at the health benefits of carbs foods today to help emphasize the fact that carbs are not the enemy.
15 Health Benefits Of Eating Carbohydrate Foods
Now it’s time for us to take a look at what makes carbohydrates so healthy and beneficial for us.
1. Carbs Promote Weight Loss
If you ask somebody following a low carb diet what the primary cause of weight gain is, they will, of course, say carbs.
However, the truth of the matter is that carbs are not to be feared, and carbs will not make you fat, as long as you eat the right ones and do not consume too many of them.
Complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole grains, vegetables, and starchy foods are slow-releasing, slow-digesting carbs which help to keep you feeling full for longer.
The fuller you feel, the less you will consume.
Not only that, but they can also help to increase your metabolism, so you will burn off more calories and generate more energy.
2. Great Source Of Energy
As we just mentioned, carbs are a fantastic source of energy.
In fact, carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy because it finds them so easy to convert into fuel once consumed.
Complex carbs such as oatmeal, granola or bananas, for example, provide a sustained release of energy which keeps you going for several hours.
Even simple carbs are a great temporary boost of energy, as they spike insulin levels and cause sudden increases in energy.
The only downside to simple carbs is that the energy is used quickly, and consequently you experience a sugar crash afterward.
3. Carbs Help Regulate Your Mood
The third benefit of carbohydrate foods that we’re going to be looking at today is the fact that they have been found to help regulate your mood.
If you ever find yourself feeling low, tired, lethargic, or just generally under the weather, you’ll find that carbohydrates could help to perk you up no end.
Certain mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, have been linked with low carbohydrate intakes.
This is due to the fact that carbohydrates have been found to help stimulate the production of serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to lift your mood and promote feelings of rest, relaxation, and happiness.
4. Carbs Can Prevent Blood Clots
Blood clotting in the body is generally a good thing, as when you cut yourself and start bleeding, the blood begins to coagulate and clot to stop the bleeding.
Internally, however, blood clots can slow circulation, they can block the arteries, and they can even be fatal in some instances.
The good news about carbs is the fact that they contain dietary fiber, which has been found to prevent fat and cholesterol in the body from accumulating and forming plaque.
When this occurs, blood is unable to flow through the arteries properly and blood clots begin to form.
Therefore, carbs could literally save your life and prevent potentially fatal conditions such as heart attacks or strokes.
5. Better Digestive Health
Another really useful health benefit of carbohydrate foods is the fact that many of them promote digestive health as well.
Again, this mainly comes down to our friend fiber.
You see, fiber is one of the best things you can have as far as healthy digestion is concerned.
Dietary fiber helps to promote healthy gut bacteria, it kills harmful bacteria, it sweeps the lining of the digestive tract, it improves nutrient absorption rates, it helps to reduce harmful cholesterol, and it even helps to add bulk to your stools so you can pass them easier.
This is extremely beneficial for digestive health and it is why many carbohydrate-rich foods are considered so effective when it comes to promoting healthy digestion.
6. Carbs Prevent Weight gain
We’ve looked at how carbohydrates promote weight loss, but believe it or not, but not everybody in the world is actually trying to lose weight.
Some people are happy with their weight, are at a healthy weight, and want to stay that way.
This is yet another example of how carbohydrates can prove useful for weight management.
Most carbohydrates are naturally low in fat and calories, so you can bulk your meals out with them without worrying about gaining weight.
The fiber they contain also helps you to feel full for longer.
Providing you eat enough, you’ll also find that you don’t lose weight either.
7. Carbs Promote Cardiovascular Health
The heart is one of the most important organs you have in your body.
Your heart, and cardiovascular system, in general, is incredibly complex and must be well looked after at all times. Failing to do so could prove fatal.
Carbohydrates help to reduce LDL cholesterol and, as we looked at previously, they help to prevent blood clots from forming, which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Now, this doesn’t apply to all carbs because simple, processed, refined carbs can have the opposite effect.
Healthy complex carbs such as vegetables and whole grains, however, have been found to lower dangerous LDL cholesterol and to boost healthy HDL cholesterol.
8. So Much Variety
Another of the benefits of carbohydrate foods that people often fail to take into consideration is the fact that they offer so much variety.
There are heaps upon heaps of carbohydrate sources out there, and as long as you focus on the healthy ones, you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding upon which ones to consume.
There are potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, cereals, oats, fruits, vegetables, pulses, legumes, and plenty more besides.
With so much to choose from, no two meals need to be precisely alike.
We’ve already mentioned how there are so many different types of carb out there to choose from, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re saying they’re tasty.
In this instance, however, we are.
Many complex carbohydrate food sources taste absolutely fantastic, either consumed alone or when combined with other healthy ingredients.
The list of healthy potato, rice, pasta, and vegetable dishes you can make is virtually endless.
If you consider yourself a foodie, this is very welcome news indeed.
10. Improved Cognitive Health
If you look up the side effects of low carb, ketogenic diets online, and you’re welcome to do so, you’ll notice how one of the main side effects listed is ‘brain fog’.
People following low carb diets struggle to focus mentally, and that’s because we need carbs for our brains to function as they should.
Carbohydrates sharpen mental focus, they help to improve short and long term memory, they help to speed up reaction times, they help increase motivation levels, and they can even stave off mental health issues and degenerative brain diseases later on in life.
Again, it is healthy complex carbs that provide the benefits.
Simple refined carbs may promote inflammation which could hinder brain health and function.
11. Strengthens The Immune System
If you want to lead a healthy and hopefully happy life, it’s important to eat a selection of healthy foods.
When we get sick, I.E when we pick up a common cold in the winter, our bodies eventually fight it off and we make a full recovery.
When some people get sick, they really suffer, and it takes them a long time to recover.
When others get sick, they barely even notice and they’re back to their best in no time at all.
This is all due to the immune system.
Our immune systems fight off illness and disease and help keep us fit and healthy.
The more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we consume, the stronger the immune system becomes.
This is where smart carbohydrate choices can be useful.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are loaded full of nutrients that have been found to strengthen the immune system.
Providing your carbs come from them, rather than candy, sugary drinks, and white bread, you’ll find your immune system working better than ever.
12. Can Help Fight Cancer
Again, this all depends on which carbs you choose to consume.
Simple refined carbs in large quantities can promote inflammation, which has been linked with certain strains of cancer.
Healthy complex carbs, however, help to promote immunity and can help fight cancer.
Many healthy carbohydrate foods such as quinoa and fresh veggies are loaded full of antioxidants, which help to prevent oxidative stress and damage to the cells, which could lead to cancer.
When it comes down to the health benefits of eating carbs foods, as long as you choose the right carbs, you could potentially save your own life.
13. Promotes A Good Night’s Sleep
If you haven’t slept well, or worse, if you struggle to sleep well on a regular basis, you’ll find that carbohydrates could be the solution, rather than artificial prescription drugs that do more harm than good.
Foods that contain slow-release, slow-digesting carbohydrates have been found to promote a good night’s sleep.
As we mentioned earlier, carbs help to promote the production of serotonin, which assists with getting a good night’s sleep.
This is why malted drinks fortified with B vitamins and minerals are marketed as helping to promote a healthy night’s sleep.
14. Great For Athletes
The night before a big endurance race, athletes will do something known as ‘carb-loading’.
Basically, they’ll sit down for dinner, and will consume enormous quantities of carbohydrates – far more than the average person would ever dream of consuming.
The reason for this is so that they can literally flood their cells with glycogen.
Glycogen is used by the cells as a key source of fuel, and it is obtained from carbohydrates.
This is why athletes will eat such large quantities of pasta, rice, vegetables, and whole grains before they compete.
In the morning they will normally stock up on a bowl of oatmeal with a banana, or other similar foods, for very similar reasons.
The more glycogen the cells in the muscles have, the more energy the muscles will have, and the harder they will be able to work.
So, from what you can see above, carbohydrates are most certainly not the evildoers that some people would have you believe.
There are many health benefits of eating carbohydrate foods to be enjoyed, and hopefully, now that we’ve highlighted some of the main examples, you’ll stop fearing carbs and blaming them for your weight gain.