If you’re like many weight-loss hopefuls who come to us believing that carbs are their worst enemy, we’ve got some good news. You actually should eat some carbs to assist in your weight loss! In fact, opting for quality carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies will help you feel satisfied and show off a leaner, more energetic body. Another bonus? Quality carbohydrates actually improve your health.
The key to the making sure carbohydrates are your friend is to choose portion-controlled, quality carbohydrates (like the ones mentioned above) that are packed with fiber and nutrients and that aren’t processed into a lesser food.
Here are six reasons you shouldn’t be afraid of all carbs:
1. Hello, energy!
Carbs are the number-one fuel for your brain and for your muscles. Without them, you’ll have trouble focusing, you’ll feel tired and, when it comes to exercise, your workouts will suffer—you’ll feel physically and mentally exhausted.
The fix? Simply have a small portion of a healthy carbohydrate with each meal and snack so that your brain and muscles have a constant supply. For example (the quality carbohydrate and portion suggestion is first in each snack): ½ cup oatmeal and a hardboiled egg; a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter; an apple and 30 pistachios.
2. They’ve got fiber.
This means that not only do they help to fill you up for very few calories, but they help to keep you regular and flush waste out of your body.
Looking for a flatter tummy? Fiber helps prevents constipation resulting in fewer bulges in the belly.
3. They boost your mood.
Have a carbohydrate and soon you’ll be singing Pharrell’s song Happy. That’s because carbohydrates boost your body’s feel-good chemical, serotonin.
Again, the key is the wholesome, unprocessed carbs—reach for sugar and the Happy boost will be short-lived and quickly followed by a low (a.k.a. “a sugar crash”).
4. They make your heart sing.
Quality carbohydrates keep your ticker in good shape. Their phytonutrients help to fight disease as well as protect the heart against damaging free radicals.
Plus, their fiber fights diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Of course leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, citrus fruits, apples and grains like quinoa, oats and brown rice all fit the quality carbohydrate bill, but don’t forget about beans (legumes), which are one of the best foods for your heart. Ideas? Black bean, corn, tomato and avocado salad; hummus sandwich with spinach; or a three-bean salad.
5. Carbs can help trim your waistline.
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