Carbohydrates do so much for the body. More than you could ever imagine. They actually help keep us alive. Before you start throwing away your bread and saying goodbye to pasta nights, here are 9 reasons why you should keep carbohydrates on the menu!

Why do we need Carbs?

Provides Energy. Carbohydrates provide us with energy to get through our busiest and laziest days. From giving us the fuel to keep up with our kids, to keeping our organs functioning while we are resting. Carbs are essential for life. 

Keeps Memory Sharp. Colorful carbohydrates like green leafy vegetables and berries are full of antioxidants. Higher consumption of these nutrients has been shown to improve brain function.

Super Versatile. Think about all of the different kinds of whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables out there. There are so many options, right? Carbs are so versatile and can even be offered as a meat alternative. Have you tried jackfruit tacos?  

Great for Digestion. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains offer a great source of fiber which makes your gut really happy! As humans, we cannot digest fiber. Because of this, fiber helps pass food through our digestive system and adds bulk to our stool. Say goodbye to constipation or irregular stools! 

Keeps Hormones in Check. Your digestive system releases over 20 different hormones in your body that affect your energy levels, blood sugar, and feelings of hunger and fullness. The right amount and type of carbohydrate can leave you feeling energized and satisfied! 

Packed with Nutrients. Carbohydrates offer more than just energy. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients that may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, inflammation, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. 

Improves Mood. Ever wonder why you often crave high carbohydrate foods (desserts and candy) when you are feeling down or stressed? That is because when you consume carbohydrates, your serotonin levels also increase. Serotonin is nicknamed the “happy hormone.” Of course, we can enjoy decadent sweets like cakes and cookies once in a while, but the fruit is always a great option to boost mood without the added sugar and fat. 

Helps with Sleep. Carbohydrates rich in antioxidants and melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and have a better quality of sleep.

Tastes SO Amazing. You can’t even deny it. Our brain and body love carbs, so keep on enjoying them. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes can all be included in a nourishing and satisfying life.

What type of carbs should I be eating?

You know the basics now, so how can you take action? We want you to get more bang for your buck. Choosing carbohydrates that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals will be worth every single bite. Here are examples of carbohydrates to include in your everyday eating plan:

Add these regularly:

  • Whole fruits (berries, bananas, pears, kiwis, papaya, etc.) 
  • Vegetables (sweet potatoes, broccoli, squash, beets, asparagus, etc.)  
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Whole grains (oats, barley, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain or sprouted bread)
  • Dairy (yogurts, low-fat cheeses, and milk)

While these may give you a boost of fast-acting energy, they might make you crash later in the day. Of course, these are all fun foods that make life so much sweeter, so allow yourself to enjoy these too!

Eat or drink these mindfully:

  • Cakes, cookies, and dessert
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Fruit juice
  • Sugary cereal 
  • White bread