The Benefits Of Carbohydrates

The Benefits Of Carbohydrates

In my last few articles I have been focussing on carbohydrates.  I started by explaining exactly what they are and then covered a number of related topics including the glycemic index and the steps you should take when choosing your carbohydrates.  In this article I am going to cover the benefits that carbohydrates can provide.

1) THEY ARE AN EXCELLENT ENERGY SOURCE:- The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy.  When you ingest any form of carbohydrate (whether it be pure sugar, whole grain bread or a piece of fruit) it is broken down into glucose in the digestive tract.  This glucose is then released into the bloodstream where your cells can use it for energy.

Your body can convert fats and proteins into energy through a process called gluconeogenesis.  However, this process is very inefficient and prevents fats and proteins from performing their primary functions which are to build, protect and repair your body’s cells.  Therefore, one big benefit of carbohydrates is that they provide your body with an easily accessible energy source.

2) THEY ARE A RICH SOURCE OF FIBRE:- If you choose your carbohydrates wisely then you should be getting the majority from fruits and vegetables.  Both of these plant based foods are an excellent source of insoluble and soluble fibre which have a number of health benefits.

Insoluble fibre is a type of fibre that absorbs water in your digestive tract and helps push waste materials through.  Its benefits include keeping your digestive tract healthy, reduced bowel disease risk and reduced constipation.  Soluble fibre is a type of fibre that dissolves in water in the digestive tract to form a gel like substance which holds foods there for longer.  It helps slow down digestion which keeps your blood sugars stable and allows you to absorb a greater amount of nutrients from your food.

3) THEY ARE A RICH SOURCE OF VITAMINS:- Fruits and vegetables do not just provide you with fibre – they are also an excellent source of vitamins.  Each of the thirteen vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of your body and have a number of benefits.  They protect you from a number of diseases (including cancer and diabetes), boost your immune system, promote proper growth, help your body produce various cells and much more.

4) THEY ARE A RICH SOURCE OF PHYTONUTRIENTS:- Many fruits and vegetables provide your body with phytonutrients too.  These are chemicals that are found naturally in plants and have protective properties.  They can act as antioxidants (which protect your cells from the damage using oxygen can cause), protect your body from harmful bacteria and also protect your body from certain diseases.

Carbohydrates are often seen as the nutrient to avoid when it comes to healthy eating and weight loss.  People seem to forget that they are the best and most efficient way for your body to get energy.  They are also a great source of many healthy nutrients including fibre and vitamins which are often unavailable in other food types.  Without carbohydrates your body will become malnourished and inefficient.  As long as you eat sensible amounts and stick to unprocessed, natural carbohydrates you can give your body the energy and nutrients that it needs and enjoy multiple health benefits.

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