Last article we looked at proteins but lets not forget the importance of carbohydrate too. Carbohydrate is an important macronutrient because it is a useful source of energy. By including carbohydrate in your diet you will spare your protein from being used to provide energy instead, allowing it to focus on it’s main role of growth and repair. Although, it is very important you get your carbohydrate from the right sources, such as fruit and vegetables and wholegrains.
The best carbohydrate sources
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are fantastic for so many reasons, their antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals are essential to our body and help it function optimally. Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals in the body, that are responsible for destroying cells, which in turn can lead to cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases. Fibre is great for digestive health, keeps us feeling fuller for longer and slows down absorption of sugar, giving us a slower release of energy over a longer period of time. Vitamins and minerals are essential for our cells to function properly, in fact a lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet can lead to just about every health complication there is. Try to eat a variety of colours to get a range of nutrients, particularly leafy greens such as kale and spinach. Those two vegetables, pound for pound, are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
If you are one of those people who declare they don’t like fruit and vegetables, when was the last time you tried them? Our taste buds change as we get older so you may have developed a passion for sprouts without even realising it. Also, have you tried every fruit and vegetable out there?’ There are 2000 different varieties of fruit and vegetables so there must be something out there for you. Be aware though that fruits are high in fructose (the sugar found in fruit) which, like all sugars when consumed in excess will be converted into stored body fat. So be careful consuming these to the extreme. Of course, the advantage of the calories that you consume from fruit, is that they are also providing you with a good variety of vitamins and antioxidants unlike most sugary foods. So although they probably contain the same amount of calories, if it’s a choice out a banana and half a Kitkat then I would most definitely choose the banana.
Also, fruits are excellent post workout when your glycogen (carbohydrate stored in your liver and muscle) has been depleted. Because of their high sugar content, they will help top your glycogen stores back up ready, to fuel your next workout.
Wholegrain’s such as brown rice and oats are considered unrefined because the grain is left intact during any of the processing. This means that wholegrain food sources contain a lot more fibre which slows down the metabolism of sugar. Which is important for everyone, particularly if you are a type 2 diabetic. Throughout our day we all require energy to perform and stay focussed and ideally we need a steady supply of it. Not a big surge followed by a big crash. The surge is ok but the crash leaves us feeling the opposite, lethargic and irritable.