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The best sources of carbohydrates

There are no good or bad nutrients - the problem is that some of us take in much more than our body needs, often unknowingly - this is the case with carbohydrates the most.

Carbohydrates are important for any balanced and healthy diets as they are the body’s main source of energy.

All carbohydrates are made up of saccharides. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups - simple and compound. Carbohydrates containing one unit are called monosaccharides, two units are called disaccharides, three to ten units are oligosaccharides and more than ten are polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides quickly raise blood sugar levels and have a high glycemic index, which is why they are also called "fast" carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates consisting of 3 or more units are called complex or "slow" carbohydrates. They increase blood sugar gradually and have a low glycemic index.

To put it simply:

  • "Fast" carbohydrates give us fast energy, but if we can not use it as fast - there is a possibility that they will turn into fat on our hips, stomach…
  • Compound or "slow" carbohydrates give us energy gradually - so they last longer, the feeling of satiety lasts longer and the risk of turning them into fat is lower, because we get the energy gradually and we can use it without any residue.

In other words, if heavy physical activity is expected, products with a high sugar content are just in time (in moderation, of course), in other cases it is better to choose "slow" carbohydrates - cereals and vegetables.


Carbohydrate sources


It consists predominantly of complex carbohydrates. It is better to eat vegetables fresh, because they lose a lot of vitamins during cooking, and so on. The exception is canned tomatoes in their own juice - one of the few vegetables that becomes more valuable during cooking, because one of the strongest antioxidants is concentrated - lycopene.

Vegetables are best eaten uncooked. To take the necessary dose of vitamins, minerals, ballast and antioxidants, you should eat at least 400 - 600g of vegetables a day. It is desirable that at least half of them be fresh. The remaining vegetables can be steamed, grilled or soaked in their own juice - vegetables processed in this way retain about 60 - 75% of vitamins and minerals. It should be noted that the longer vegetables are subjected to heat treatment, the less valuable they become. In turn, during the cooking process, most of the valuable nutrients get into the liquid, and reheating vegetables also reduces their value.

All vegetables (including berries and fruits) contain different colors, but each has a predominant color, which in turn determines the higher concentration of certain substances in a particular vegetable. The color of vegetables also indicates the natural antioxidants they contain - vitamins, minerals and enzymes that help the body to protect itself - reduce the risk of developing diseases, strengthen immunity, improve cell regeneration, etc.

By color vegetables can be divided into:

  • Red - tomatoes, red peppers, lingonberries, cranberries, etc .;
  • Yellow and orange - carrots, pumpkins, orange and yellow peppers, sea buckthorn, mountain ash, etc .;
  • Purple and blue - beets, red cabbage, eggplant, blueberries, blackcurrants, etc .;
  • Green - rhubarb, spinach, sorrel and other leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, green peppers, asparagus, greens, etc.);
  • White - garlic, onions, celery root, radish, white cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, leeks, etc.

Ideally, the daily menu should include all of these colors, because their body's protective functions are realized as a "team", complementing each other, but in real life it is not so easy to realize, so at least try to diversify the daily choice of vegetables by creating a rainbow borders. It is also important to remember that local seasonal vegetables should be preferred. Even in winter, although the choice is much smaller, do not forget about local vegetables - carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, turnips, celery, parsley, parsnips, various cabbages, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, pumpkin… The only disadvantage of local vegetables the closer to spring, the lower their nutritional value, so towards the spring it is not bad to start using frozen vegetables in their diet. Vegetables are now frozen rapidly - this technology allows them to maintain their maximum nutritional value.


Fruits and berries

It mainly contains "fast" carbohydrates. Fruits and berries are good both fresh and dried, and properly (quickly) frozen berries are quite good. The products of this group should be used in reasonable quantities - as a healthy dessert, not a delicious "dessert". In addition to the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and berries, they also contain a lot of sugars (simple or 'fast' carbohydrates), which can cause weight problems if used uncontrolled. Vitamins and minerals can be absorbed just as well and even better with fresh vegetables, which will allow you to do without unnecessary extra sugar intake. Local berries as a good source of antioxidants during the season will always be a better choice than exotic fruits imported from abroad.



"Fast" carbohydrates. In a balanced diet, it is recommended to use no more than 4 teaspoons of honey per day. Although honey, if not heated, is a valuable product, its base is sugar (simple carbohydrates), so it should also be used in reasonable doses. Other organic bee products - bee bread, pollen, etc. - are also included in the diet as a healthy supplement to the daily diet.



Compound carbohydrates. I recommend using whole grain products - wholemeal flour, wholemeal oat flakes, wholemeal pasta, buckwheat, pearls, other unpolished groats, including wild, red, brown or steamed rice. Brown rice is the most valuable because its husk, which contains fiber and a large amount of vitamins and minerals, is not removed. Steamed rice is also not a bad choice, as the special processing technology affects about 70% of vitamins and minerals from the separated rice husk to get into the grain itself. However, such rice no longer contains fiber.

Cereals are one of the main sources of B vitamins. B vitamins are water-soluble, so it is advisable to cook cereals in a small amount of water so that they do not have to be depleted later, thus "rinsing out" a large part of this valuable vitamin. Rye and wholemeal bread as well as rusks are also a good choice, but it is important to read their composition, because rarely to which bread or rusks are not added various E substances.

Potatoes should be separated and placed in this product group, as they are more nutritionally friendly than cereals. Potatoes can survive in a healthy diet because they are rich and contain valuable substances, especially in new potatoes (minerals, especially potassium, and some vitamins), but in reasonable quantities and not fried in oil. It is best to cook the potatoes with the peel (in the oven without excess fat or by steaming), or by peeling them already ready, because a large part of the valuable substances are in the potato peel. When boiled in water, much of the watchful substance remains in the liquid and is used up.



All kinds of beans, lentils, peas. If you buy ready-made, canned beans due to drowning or lack of time, it is advisable to rinse them before use to get rid of excess salt. It should be noted that legumes are equally a source of composite carbohydrates and proteins due to their nutritional value. All legumes, except soy, contain low-quality protein, but by combining different sources of protein, it is possible to obtain a full range of amino acids.

Finally, don't be afraid of carbohydrates! Excess kilograms do not come from bread and cereals. Excess kilograms are caused by excess calories - energy that is absorbed but not used and stored by the body in the "reserve" into fat. And it doesn't matter if those extra calories are ingested with bread, meat, vegetables, fruit or berry juices or whatever.

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