Many people are still afraid to eat carbs because of what they have been told for the past few years. Things like the Atkins diet and the Keto diet have led people to believe that avoiding carbs is the only way to lose weight or live a healthy life.
But carbohydrates are crucial to your health and unless you have a specific health complication that indicates otherwise, they should be consumed regularly. It’s important to remember, however, that not all carbs are created equal. To learn more about the healthiest carbs and which ones you can avoid, we spoke with a few expert dietitians.
Keep reading to learn more about the best carbs you can eat, and for more healthy eating tips, check out 6 Best Eating Habits to Reduce Inflammation As You Age.
Sweet potatoes are a healthy carbohydrate that can provide many benefits and can be a nutritious addition to your daily diet.
“Eating sweet potatoes regularly is a great addition to a balanced diet when trying to make healthy food choices. A plain medium sweet potato has about 103 calories, and four of its 20 grams of carbs per serving come from fiber, a nutrient which keeps you full and contributes to good gastrointestinal health. Its bright orange color indicates a high amount of beta-carotene, which is essential for eye health, ”says the registered dietitian Carrie Gabriel MS, RDN.
Curious how to add these orange potatoes to your diet? Gabriel says, “Sweet potatoes are also easy to load up with other foods like black beans and salsa or ground turkey, spinach and a little olive oil, or you can slice them and roast them or throw them in the fryer with some seasonings for a healthier take on fries.”
Oats are one of the healthiest carbohydrates you can eat due to their high fiber content.
“Oats are a carbohydrate that I consume regularly because they are so versatile. Oatmeal contains soluble and insoluble fiber to aid digestion and has been shown to have anti-diabetic and cholesterol-lowering properties. It It’s fine to cook oats traditionally on the stovetop, however nowadays making oats overnight with a variety of fruits and nuts, or cooking your oats in squares or muffins Baked, chopping them up and serving them with a scoop of Greek yogurt is also a popular way to get those satisfying complex carbs,” says Gabriel.
People often choose quinoa as an alternative to rice, which can provide you with lots of useful fiber.
“Quinoa is a healthy carbohydrate source to eat regularly. Not only does it contain fiber, but it’s also a source of protein to help you stay full and meet your daily needs,” says the dietitian. Jinan Banna, PhD, RD.
Fruit is a great way to get your daily carb servings, and its natural sweetness can also help curb sugar cravings.
“Apples are also high in soluble fiber with prebiotic benefits. Pectin is one example, and it provides the nourishment needed to support the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) to fuel our gut microbiome. Plant sources like beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds are also high in these soluble fibers,” says the dietitian. Rachel Fine, RDN and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition.
While many people are afraid to eat bread, there is no reason to fear whole grain or whole wheat bread as it contains a lot of useful nutrients.
“Whole grains (like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread) contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help you stay full longer. They also provide satiety after a meal or snack, so you’re less likely to overeat,” says registered dietitian Janet Coleman, Dt.P. with The Consumer Mag.
Although many people don’t consider them carbohydrates, legumes and beans are a healthy source of carbohydrates.
“Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas are starchy but also a great source of protein and plant fiber. Numerous studies have shown that including them on a regular basis can help with heart health, blood pressure, decreasing cancer risk and weight management,” says dietitian Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, FAND.
Adding berries to your daily diet is a delicious way to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs daily.
“Berries are delicious, high in fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They make a perfect sweet treat on their own or added to a meal,” Sheth says.
And finally, don’t forget your vegetables. These healthy carbohydrates are crucial for your health and should be consumed regularly.
“Vegetables are a great source of vitamins A and K, as well as potassium. They’re also low in calories, which is good news if you’re trying to lose weight,” Coleman says.
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