Learn Why Carbs Are An Important Part Of Your Diet
While protein is the building block of muscle mass, carbohydrates are what give us the energy not only to lead active lifestyles, but also to complete autonomic functions such as breathing, blinking and heartbeats.
WHY ARE CARBS AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY DIET?
A body denied carbohydrates enters ketosis, an unbalanced, acidic state, and then begins to cannibalize itself in the pursuit of fuel for energy. Talk about an unhealthy state!
The key is in knowing which kinds of carbs help us and which we’d be better off without.
Processed and refined carbs, like those found in white and wheat breads, white crackers, pastas, etc., and white rice, come from grains where the bran and the germ have been removed. That amounts to lost dietary fiber, protein, and a host of other nutrients. What are left are calories that the body can’t completely access without the missing elements.
Complex carbohydrates— like those found in whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds. seaweeds and vegetables and fruits— provide exactly what our bodies need in just the right proportions and amounts to be most fully utilized.
BENEFITS OF WHOLE GRAINS
While the healthfulness of oats made headlines for a while, all whole grains offer similar benefits. They’re low in fat and good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein.
A recent Tufts University study showed that consuming at least three servings of whole-grain foods daily can lower risks for abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), high blood pressure and poor blood sugar control. Eating any whole grains— not just oats — can put you in better shape for treating or avoiding diabetes, cholesterol issues, heart disease and even cancer.
Even though diabetics are often advised to restrict carbohydrate intake, the American Diabetes Association encourages even diabetics to include three daily servings of whole grains. Though refined carbs can cause a spike in blood sugar levels because they move through the body so quickly, whole grains are digested slowly, maintaining a glycemic balance while providing a satiated feeling.
Whole-grain diets also promote bowel health through maintaining regular movements and promoting growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.
Look for labels that read “whole wheat” or “whole grain” rather than simply “wheat” or “multi-grain”. Here are some whole grains to help expand our healthy carb repertoire:
HEALTHY SOUTHWESTERN QUINOA RECIPE
Try this light and easy quinoa meal as a tasty alternative to rice, pasta or potatoes. Feel free to build it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it in a fully-preheated oven. When doing this, remember to reserve the liquid and then add it right before cooking or you’ll end up with a quinoa patty!
Set trimmed tenderloin in next and sprinkle with sea salt, scallions and green chiles. Layer in squash, followed by red bell pepper. Fill to the top with greens, making certain none hang over the edge.
Cover and bake for about 35 minutes, or until about 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully-cooked meal wafts from the oven.
My husband prefers this meal with a sauce such as salsa or gravy, while I appreciate the unadorned elements as presented here and the satisfied-but-not-stuffed way I feel after eating.
More Facts About Quinoa
Once the staple food of the Incas, the ancient Andean civilization respectfully referred to quinoa as the "Mother Grain".
Nutritional Analysis per serving
Elizabeth Yarnell is the inventor and author of Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach to Dutch oven cooking. Her recipes are protected under US patent no. 6,846,504. Learn more about Glorious One-Pot Meals at www.GloriousOnePotMeals.com.