It is very hard to find relatable, reliable information on nutrition. Often, such information tends to sensationalize a particular study or finding. Unless we look at the study itself, we have no way of knowing the whole truth. One food group that has been the victim of such half-baked news is carbohydrates. If you have been following the news recently, you must have heard that carbs are bad for you and you must eat as little of them as possible. But, are they really that bad?
If we delve deeper, we discover that the only carbs we need to avoid are the processed variants – such as cakes, bread, and refined flour products. However, there is a way to eat starches without all of the potential negative effects. The key is to consume as many complex carbs in as unprocessed a form as possible. Let’s look at 7 sources of carbs that are actually healthy for you.
When in doubt, always eat a fruit. Not only are mangos an excellent source of carbohydrates with 24 grams per serving but also abundant in vitamin C.1 With a high water and calcium content, they make for a great snack at any time of the day. Choose fresh fruit and juices without sugar whenever possible.
If you think pulses are known for their protein content, you’d be absolutely spot on. Chickpeas offer 40 grams of protein per cup. But they also contain 125 grams of complex carbohydrates in the same amount of serving. This is what makes them an excellent, wholesome food.2
3. Whole Grains
Polished grain loses most of its goodness and adds nothing but carbohydrates to your meal. However, unpolished, unprocessed grains such as brown rice and whole wheat offer fiber and a host of other micro minerals. A serving of brown rice has fewer carbs and more micronutrients such as iron and magnesium than white rice. Hence, it fills you up, gives you an energy boost, and all the minerals you need.3
4. Sweet Potatoes
One cup of sweet potatoes has about 20 grams of carbs, comparable to mangoes.4 They can be added to soups for thickness, boiled and eaten with honey for an extra energy boost, or baked into chips. They are a healthy snack either way.
All nuts are rich in carbohydrates, but we focus specifically on almonds because of their nutrient-rich outer covering. A serving of almonds has 30 grams of proteins. Ideally, you can space this out over the day by eating only a couple of almonds at a time. These nuts are also excellent sources of iron, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. They also contain vitamin E and some vitamins from the B complex group.5 However, they also contain an abundance of fats, so you must never resort to them as the only source of healthy carbs.
A bodybuilder’s go-to carbohydrate source, quinoa is full of complex carbohydrates. You get about 2 grams of fiber along with a significant amount of protein (around 4 grams per cup) in half a cup. So, quinoa is the best option that provides a bigger bang for your buck.6 This is not just a diet for fitness models but also for an average Joe who just wants to eat a healthy carbohydrate source.7
As surprising as it may be, popcorn is one of the healthier snack sources we have available to us. When we have cravings, we usually reach for the usual potato chips or pop tarts. You are certainly not going to reach for oatmeal. Instead of doing this, have a bowl of popcorn.
It is a very filling snack option that offers only about 100 calories per cup. It is also a whole grain, which is naturally loaded with fiber. Three whole cups of popcorn contain about 3 grams of fiber.8
Which healthy carb will you include in your diet, now that you know such a thing exists?
|↑1||Basic Report: 09176, Mangos, raw. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Basic Report: 16056, Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, Bengal gram), mature seeds, raw. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑3||Basic Report: 20036, Rice, brown, long-grain, raw. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Basic Report: 11507, Sweet potato, raw, unprepared. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑5||Basic Report: 12061, Nuts, almonds. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑6||Quinoa: A Plant with a Lot of Potential. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑7||Vega‐Gálvez, Antonio, Margarita Miranda, Judith Vergara, Elsa Uribe, Luis Puente, and Enrique A. Martínez. “Nutrition facts and functional potential of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.), an ancient Andean grain: a review.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 90, no. 15 (2010): 2541-2547.|
|↑8||Is popcorn a healthy snack? It can be! United States Department of Agriculture.|