We are selective when choosing our friends, carefully choosing people we spend our time with. We know that good quality relationships can have a positive effect on our life…….why not apply these same rules to choosing carbohydrates for our diet?
Having shady friends with criminal convictions probably won’t be the most popular choice for most of us…yet we often reach for processed carbohydrates with a proven track record in causing obesity or diabetes type 2. I Hope you are starting to see it. Carbohydrates can be your best friends, just get to know them better, and choose the ones which will have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing.
1. Get to know your friends. What are the carbohydrates ?
Carbohydrates (simple and complex), are compounds of plant origin.
They are food compounds which provide the basic source of energy for the body.
Sugar - the simplest form of carbohydrate and occurs naturally in some foods, including fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Types of sugar, include fruit sugar (fructose), table sugar (sucrose) and milk sugar (lactose).
Starch. Starch is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it is made of many sugar units bonded together. You can find it in vegetables, grains, beans and peas.
Fiber. Is also is a complex carbohydrate. It presents naturally in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans
2. Find friends which brings good, positive energy to your life
Carbohydrates are source of energy for your body and brain. They are the most effective source of energy you can provide.
When eaten, carbohydrates break down into sugars (glucose, fructose, and galactose) that are absorbed and used as energy.
Glucose is an important source of energy for our organs and tissues - such as the brain, intestines, muscle tissue and red blood cells.
However, due to their different structure, these compounds have different effects on our body. Simple sugars (found in, for example, white sugar or sweetened drinks) give a sudden boost of energy for a short time. It is immediately followed by a feeling of hunger. Complex sugars (present, for example, in groats or whole grain pasta) can be considered more valuable, as they induce a feeling of fullness for longer, and at the same time the foods that provide them are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
If you want to pick friends to energise you go for complex carbohydrates
3. Your friends should warm the cockles of your heart
Carbs are good for your heart.
Research suggests that increasing your soluble-fiber intake (a type of fiber found in carb-rich foods like oatmeal and beans) by 5 to 10 grams each day could result in a 5 percent drop in "bad" LDL cholesterol. Similarly, people who eat more whole grains (delicious quinoa, buckwheat or millet) also tend to have lower LDL cholesterol and higher "good" HDL cholesterol.
4. A good friend can always make you smile
Carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical (often call the hormone of happiness). In a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who followed a very low carbohydrate diet for a year (only half cup of rice plus one piece of bread per day)—experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on whole grains, fruit and beans.
5. Good friends can make you stronger
Good carbs can strengthen your immune system.
Fiber ,which is present in a complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains) support can strengthen your immune system in 2 ways:
a) More fiber equals more beneficial bacteria in your gut, that means a healthier gut. 70% of our immune system is located in the gut, so we can’t have a strong immune system without a healthy gut.
Complex carbohydrates in whole grains when digested produced bacteria, these beneficial bacteria create SCFA (short chain fatty acids). You can imagine that SCFA is a health promoting compound, which is absolutely crucial for a healthy immune system, but also has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes weight loss……and remember all of these benefits come from complex carbohydrates.
b) Products high in fiber help stabilize blood sugar, which also strengthens your immune system.
6. Good friends can offer you support
If weight loss is your goal complex carbohydrates can be truly your best friend. Evidence shows that eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help you control your weight. Their bulk and fiber content helps weight control by helping you feel full on fewer calories.
Contrary to what many ‘low-carb’ diets claim, there are no studies which show that a diet rich in complex carbohydrates leads to weight gain or obesity.
These are 6 rules will help you to find great friends for life and applying these rules find good, beneficial carbohydrates which are integral part of a healthy, balanced diet.
To help you choose the right carbohydrates we've prepared an infographic, download it, print it out and use as a guideline everyday.