Carbohydrates have come under the lens for their reputation to cause weight gain. Many people claim that they have cut out carbs completely from their diet in a bid to shed the excess kilos. But not all carbohydrates are bad and in fact, many of them are actually essential for proper functioning of the body. Our body needs carbohydrates for energy, protection against diseases and to manage weight. When we think of carbs, we automatically think of junk food options like pizza, burgers, chips and pastries. However, there are plenty of healthy carbohydrates as well that we can add to the diet that is actually good for us.
What Are Healthy Carbs And Do They Really Exist?
Yes, healthy carbs are real and they exist. The idea is not to cut out carbohydrates from the diet completely, rather, swap them out for healthy options instead. Thus, instead of processed carbs or simple sugars, we should opt for complex carbs that provide us with the required energy without piling up an excess of it and also offer additional nutrition along with it. It is not the quantity or amount of carbs we eat but the kind of carbs we choose.
"Quality carbs are sources of carbs that provide you additional nutrients which bring a lot of health benefits. Whole grains, legumes and starchy vegetables like potatoes and root vegetables are some food options. The point to be noted here is that in addition to carbs, they are also giving us other nutrients," revealed consultant nutritionist Rupali Dutta.
Healthy Carb Sources That Are Actually Good For You
There are a number of good quality carbohydrates that are healthy for you and can be added to the diet without any fear. "Food items such as whole grains, whole fruits with skin, lentils, and green vegetables are all sources of good carbs as they contain fibre, vitamins and minerals, which help in regulating sugar levels and providing long term satiety along with good nutrition," said Dr Anshul Jaibharat a dietitian and therapeutic nutritionist.
Here Are 7 Healthy Carb Sources That You Can Include In The Daily Diet:
Oatmeal is a popular breakfast option that provides the body with a much-needed boost to kickstart the day. Being a whole grain, it is enriched with complex carbohydrates and also has good quantities of both fibre and protein, making it a complete meal.
2. Pulses, Beans And Legumes
For vegetarians, pulses and legumes are one of the primary sources of proteins. But did you know they can be healthy carbohydrate sources as well? These tiny plant-based foods are actually excellent in terms of complex carb content. Pick options like rajma, chana, green beans and more.
3. Whole Wheat
"Whole grains, complex carbs are good for us - since they are a form of carbs that release slowly or starchy carbs," said Rupali Dutta. Thus, if you feel like having wheat, choose whole wheat options instead of processed flour or maida.
Another family of whole grains that you can add to the diet are millets since they are chock full of nutrition. "Millets are ten times better than whole wheat. Barley, bajra, ragi and amaranth are some amazing options of millets that you can add to the healthy carb diet," revealed Rupali Dutta.
A pseudo-grain, quinoa is a complete source of protein and thus makes for a healthy carbohydrate source as well. "Quinoa and amaranth both have a very good protein profile, making them ideal to add to the daily diet," explains Dutta.
If you are confused between a fruit and a fruit juice, experts suggest picking the former for a healthy dose of carbohydrates. Further, whole fruits are enriched with plenty of fibre as well which can smooth digestion movement.
Root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes are enriched with starch that breaks down slowly and makes for a healthy addition to your diet.
The moral of the story is, there is no need to cut out carbohydrates from your diet completely as there are many healthy options as well. "Indian food is traditionally carbohydrate-heavy and protein deficit. The villain is not the carbs, but the way we are using the carbs and the choices we are making. You should choose the right quantity and quality depending on the time of the day it is," said Dutta. Healthy carbohydrates are plenty and the choices are many: it is all about choosing our carbohydrates wisely!
About Aditi AhujaAditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.