There seem to be more people on low carb diets than there are those with unused gym memberships. However somewhere among this Atkins hysteria is lost the fact that many of the worlds most nutritious foods are actually carbs. And some of the healthiest known cultures in terms of lifestyle and life expectancy are carb-eating folk. So here is compiled a short list of carbs that should be part of everyone’s diet (food sensitivities aside!).
1. Legumes. Kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas etc. are nutritional powerhouses and provide decent levels of soluble fiber, protein, phytochemicals, and or course carbs! They have been proven to lower cholesterol and keep steady blood sugar levels. They add great substance and bulk to a meal, and help keep you fuller for longer. Unfortunately many are unsure how to use legumes in their diet. But its actually super easy, just buy them canned and add them to soups, salads and stirfrys.
2. Oats. As old as time itself and a vital part of so many cultures around the world. Oats are a fantastic choice for breakfast, and similar to legumes, have been shown to lower cholesterol and improve diabetes risk. A key active ingredient in B- Glucans which play a role in warding off disease. Naturally oats are gluten free however in Australian those with Coeliac disease are advised to avoid. But non coeliacs should get stuck in!
3. Quinoa. This ‘hard to pronounce’ grain has burst onto the scene in recent times. And what an impact it’s made! All jokes aside quinoa is as superb as it is versatile. It’s a complete protein meaning it has all 9 amino acids that our body cannot make itself, and contains twice the fiber of most other grains. It’s also a handy source of iron which is important for keeping your red blood cell count healthy. The best part is you can include quinoa at any meal of the day.
4. Barley. It has so many health benefits it almost needs a whole article by itself. Here are a few… lowers cholesterol, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, serum lipids. It taste great as part of soups and is also very versatile.
5. Fruit. How could I leave this off the list! I probably doesn’t need explaining why fruit is good for our health, it just is. Those who wish to throw fruit into the sin bin because of its sugar content need to remember they are also throwing out millions of phytochemical, antioxidants, trace minerals and quality fiber. Fruit is healthy, end of story!
There are many other foods that could easily have made the list including cous cous, spelt, buckwheat and rye. The point is that carbs play a vital role in your health and should remain the backbone of healthy eating.