If you’re like most people, you probably think of carbohydrates as nothing more than sugar. But there’s more to carbs than that. They’re vital for good health. There are two different types of carbohydrates: simple carbs and complex carbs. Let’s focus on the complex carbs for now.
Complex carbs are made up of long chains of sugar molecules, while simple carbs are made up of only one or two sugar molecules.
Complex carbs are a slower-burning source of energy, which means they’re better for your blood sugar levels and can help you feel fuller for longer.
Whether you’re trying to bulk up or slim down, complex carbohydrates should be a staple in your diet. These macronutrients are essential for several bodily functions and can help you reach your fitness goals.
Complex carbs are found in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. That being said, not all carbs are created equal. When you’re choosing complex carbs, it’s important to opt for unrefined or minimally processed options. Refined carbs have been stripped of their natural fibre and nutrients, making them less beneficial.
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Where to Find Complex Carbs
It can be difficult to get enough complex carbs if you’re not eating the right foods. To make sure you’re getting enough of these essential macronutrients, here are five complex carbs you need to be eating:
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains are a good source of complex carbs, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also high in fibre, which can help with weight loss and digestion. It’s important to choose whole grains that are minimally processed, such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.
To add more whole grains to your diet, try incorporating them into your breakfast routine. Oatmeal with fruit is a great way to start your day, or you could try whole wheat toast with peanut butter or avocado. For lunch, try a quinoa salad or brown rice and beans. And for dinner, opt for whole wheat pasta or a stir-fry with veggies and brown rice. It’s all about getting creative!
2. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are other excellent source of complex carbs. They’re high in protein, fibre, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Like whole grains, beans and legumes can help with weight loss and digestion.
Beans and legumes can be eaten on their own or added to other dishes. For instance, lentils make a great addition to soup or salad. You may also try black beans in a burrito or veggie chilli, or chickpeas in a Mediterranean-style salad.
Vegetables are another complex carb that is packed with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also low in calories and high in fibre, which makes them great for weight loss.
Vegetables that are especially high in complex carbs include sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and beets. Sweet potatoes, and orange foods in general, have been shown to increase muscle mass and help with fat loss.
To add more vegetables to your diet, try incorporating them into every meal. Add diced veggies to your omelette at breakfast, throw some on your salad at lunch, and roast them as a side dish at dinner. You could also try spiralizing vegetables to make zoodles (zucchini noodles), which make a great pasta substitute. There are endless ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet, and you’ll be getting all the benefits that come with them!
Fruits are complex carbs that is high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They’re also a good source of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are beneficial for health. Some fruits that are especially high in fibre include apples, bananas, and pears. They’re also a good source of vitamins C and A, which are important for immunity and vision, respectively.
Related: Can Eating Fruit Make You Fat?
To add more fruit to your diet, try incorporating them into your breakfast or lunch. For example, top your oatmeal with diced apples or bananas, or add berries to your yoghurt or salad. It’s also a good idea to snack on fruit between meals.
Whether you’re looking for a quick snack to appease your sweet tooth or something to tide you over until your next meal, fruit is always a great option!
5. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of complex carbs, as well as healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. They’re also a good source of fibre, which can help with weight loss and digestion. It’s important to choose nuts and seeds that are minimally processed and free of added sugar.
There are many ways to add nuts and seeds to your diet. You can add them to your breakfast or lunch, such as topping your oatmeal with almonds or adding sunflower seeds to your salad. You could also try snacking on them throughout the day. Just be sure to eat them in moderation, as they are high in calories.
Complex carbs are an important part of a healthy diet. They’re packed with nutrients and fibre and take longer to digest, making them a great choice for those trying to lose weight.
It’s important to eat complex carbs in moderation and to pair them with other healthy foods, such as protein and healthy fats. By doing so, you’ll be getting all the benefits that come with complex carbs.
There are many ways to add complex carbs to your diet, and the best way is to incorporate them into every meal. Try adding them to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or snack on them throughout the day. With so many options, there’s no excuse not to include complex carbs in your diet! It’s all about finding creative ways to work them into your favourite dishes, so get creative and enjoy!
- Table full of food: Spencer Davis