CARBS AT A GLANCE

The mention of carbs can throw fear into most people trying to eat a healthy diet. With so much confusing info out there about carbs, let's simplify some of the facts:
What are Complex Carbohydrates? Complex carbohydrates are good carbohydrates and are unrefined. They provide a slow, steady supply of energy.  Complex carbs are darker and heavier than simple carbohydrates and found in wholegrain bread and pasta, brown and wild rice, oats, pulses, nuts and seeds. What are Simple Carbohydrates? Simple carbohydrates are refined, heavily processed foods like white bread, cakes, biscuits and white sugar.  These carbs are quickly digested, releasing sugar rapidly into the bloodstream and causing insulin spikes that lead to energy highs and crashing lows. What are Natural Carbohydrates? Natural carbohydrates are found in fruit and vegetables and provide healthy fibre and a natural release of energy.   Are all Carbs bad for me? Let's not judge a book by its cover.  Carbs by themselves are neither good nor bad. Eating certain carbs at the wrong time of day and in excess can cause an increase in the secretion of Insulin, which can trigger fat build up. Do I need Carbs? Carbs convert glucose to energy.  They provide fuel for the central nervous system, which helps with mental energy for extended and sustained training sessions.  Carbs like fruit, vegetables and whole grains are packed with nutrients and provide health enhancing fibre. Take Away Complex and Natural Carbohydrates are better-for-you carbs and can be eaten for their nutritional value, fibre and slow energy release.  If you are running a marathon, you may require more carbs than if you are sitting in an office.  Carbs affect everyone differently so notice which carbs work best for your body. 5 Good Carbs Lately, carbs are getting the short end of the healthy eating stick. There are bad carb like doughnuts and pies, which turn to sugar and pack on pounds, but there are good carbs worth including in your diet. Good carbs or complex carbs are crucial in providing energy and feeding the brain. Here are five good carbs to eat every day: Oats Good old fashioned oats are a perfect breakfast before any training session or race. Oats contain a super fibre called beta-glucan which is not only slow energy releasing, and makes you feel fuller for longer but has a cholesterol lowering effect. Eat oats hot or cold, with any topping of your choice; choose dark berries, honey and added chia seeds for even more energy. Bananas Bananas are high in carbohydrates, so are perfect for a pre or post workout snack. They are packed with potassium to aid the smooth contraction of muscles. Add up the benefits by eating them with some nut butter for more energy and to help muscle recovery and repair. Blueberries Berries are amongst the most nutritious source of carbohydrates in fruit. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, they add high nutritional value to any workout meal. Add them to a smoothie, to your muesli or porridge, to a salad or eat them by the handful.  . Sweet Potatoes These root vegetables are complex carbs high in fibre, beta-carotene and vitamins. Sweet potatoes are a real recovery food after an intense workout ' perfect for restocking energy levels and loaded with fibre this carb will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Boil or roast and add your favourite topping as a cheap, healthy and nutritional meal. Chickpeas A quick and easy carb to add to any meal or eat as a whole meal. Half carbs and half protein, these powerhouse legumes have a low glycemic index so no blood level sugar spikes, rather a long slow release of energy. Turn them into a salad or a hot and spicy veg curry. Mash with garlic, salt, lemon, olive oil and tahini to make a delicious hummus dip.  

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