Carbohydrates have been unfairly blamed for causing the obesity epidemic. However, the truth is that not all carbs are created equal. Processed junk foods high in sugar and refined grains are definitely unhealthy and fattening. But this has no relevance to whole, fiber-rich foods that also happen to contain carbohydrates. Although low-carb diets can be beneficial for some people, this does not mean that all high-carb foods are “bad.”

Carbohydrate foods

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods—bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie. They also come in a variety of forms. The most common and abundant forms are sugars, fibers, and starches.

Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. But carbohydrate quality is important; some types of carbohydrate-rich foods are better than others:

  • The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.
  • Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

The Foods Rich In Carbohydrates

The foods that you eat on a regular basis are quite abundant in this important (but sadly abused) nutrient. Some of the richest sources include:

Quinoa

Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious seed that has become incredibly popular in the natural health community. It is classified as a pseudocereal, a seed that is prepared and eaten like a grain. Cooked quinoa is 21.3% carbs, making it a high-carb food. However, it is also a good source of protein and fiber. Quinoa is rich in many minerals and plant compounds. It has been linked to health benefits like improved blood sugar control. It does not contain any gluten, making it a popular alternative to wheat on a gluten-free diet.

Quinoa is also very filling since it is relatively high in fiber and protein. For this reason, it may be an excellent addition to an effective weight loss diet.

How To Include In Your Diet
Blending quinoa into your favorite smoothie can instantly boost its protein content.

Brown Rice

Brown Rice

  • Serving size – 185 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 143 grams
  • DV% – 48%

Brown rice is a rich source of plant lignans that can protect against heart disease. It is also super rich in magnesium. This mineral also contributes to heart health, just like selenium, another mineral brown rice is rich in.

Brown rice can also reduce cholesterol and cut diabetes risk.

How To Include In Your Diet
Similar to how you use white rice. You can also replace white rice with brown rice as it is a healthier alternative (without having to sacrifice the carbs).

Oats

Oats

Oats may be the healthiest whole grain food on the planet. They are a great source of many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Raw oats contain 66% carbs, and nearly 11% of that is fiber. They are particularly high in a powerful soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Oats are also a relatively good source of protein, containing more than most other grains.

Many studies have shown that oats may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Eating oats may also lower blood sugar levels, especially in diabetics. Furthermore, oats are very filling and may help you lose weight.

How To Include In Your Diet
The simplest way is to eat oatmeal for breakfast. You can also add fruits and other nuts to your oatmeal for a nutritious breakfast.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat

  • Serving size – 170 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 122 grams
  • DV% – 41%

In addition to carbs, buckwheat is also rich in protein. It contains 12 amino acids that support energy, proper growth, and muscle synthesis. And the fiber content in buckwheat aids digestion and improves digestive health, keeping numerous digestive issues at bay.

How To Include In Your Diet
You can use buckwheat flour for making pancakes.

Kidney Beans

Kidney Beans

  • Serving size – 184 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 113 grams
  • DV% – 38%

Kidney beans can also lower the risk of heart disease. One way they achieve this is by lowering the levels of bad cholesterol without affecting those of the good cholesterol (2). Kidney beans also contain compounds called alpha-amylase inhibitors – which prevent starch absorption and breakdown, leading to weight loss.

How To Include In Your Diet
You can simply toss kidney beans into a leafy salad. Or add them to your breakfast omelet.

Lentils

Lentils

  • Serving size – 192 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 115 grams
  • DV% – 38%

Lentils are great sources of protein, and if you are a vegetarian with higher protein needs, they can be a good start. They also contain fiber, folic acid, and potassium – nutrients necessary for heart health. And being a good source of non-heme iron, lentils also help combat fatigue. They can also be a great substitute for meat.

How To Include In Your Diet
Including lentils in meat-based soups can be a great start. Or you can toss lentils into salads containing dark, leafy greens.

Whole Grain Wheat Flour

Whole Grain Wheat Flour

  • Serving size – 120 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 87 grams
  • DV% – 29%

Whole grain wheat flour is also a great source of fiber, which prevents most digestive issues, with colon cancer being one of them. It also is rich in B vitamins and folate, which is why it enjoys great reputation when compared to white flour.

How To Include In Your Diet
You can use whole grain wheat flour (or mix it with white flour) to bake cookies or cakes at home. You can also buy bread from the supermarket that is made of 100% whole wheat (you can check the nutritional label).

Bananas

Bananas

Bananas are among the world's most popular fruits. They are made up of about 23% carbs, either in the form of starches or sugars. Unripe (green) bananas are higher in starches, which transform into natural sugars as the bananas ripen (turn yellow). Bananas are high in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They also contain several beneficial plant compounds.

Due to their potassium content, bananas may help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

Unripe bananas also contain decent amounts of resistant starch and pectin. Both of these support digestive health and feed the friendly gut bacteria.

How To Include In Your Diet
Make a banana smoothie and have it with your breakfast. Or add bananas to your salad. Even simpler, include a couple of whole bananas in your breakfast.

Potatoes

Potatoes

  • Serving size – 369 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 68 grams
  • DV% – 23%

Potatoes are great sources of potassium, a mineral required for regulating blood pressure levels and eventually warding off heart attacks. Potatoes also contain another nutrient called choline, which helps maintain the structure of cellular membranes and even treats chronic inflammation.

And the vegetable is also rich in vitamin C, a nutrient important to maintain a strong immunity.

How To Include In Your Diet
You can mix boiled and sliced potatoes with eggs, celery, and mayonnaise for a delicious salad.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas

  • Serving size – 164 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 45 grams
  • DV% – 15%

Chickpeas are great sources of protein – 1 cup contains about 15 grams of the nutrient. Other nutrients chickpeas are rich in are folate and manganese. Folate aids brain cell communication, and manganese supports wound healing and bone development.

How To Include In Your Diet
You can sprinkle a handful of chickpeas on your salad or add whole chickpeas to your evening soup. You can also use mashed chickpeas in your sandwiches (in the place of mayonnaise).

Nuts

  • Serving size – 144 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 32 grams
  • DV% – 11%

These include almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc. Nuts are also rich in other minerals like magnesium, manganese, and vitamin E – nutrients absolutely required for overall health.

How To Include In Your Diet
You can have a cup of nuts in the morning. Or add them to your smoothie or breakfast cereal.

Sweet Potato

  • Serving size – 133 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 27 grams
  • DV% – 9%

Sweet potatoes are chock-full of vitamin A – one medium spud contains about 400 percent of your daily value of the vitamin. And they have more nutrients with fewer calories as compared to the regular potato. The vitamin A in the vegetable plays a role in enhancing immunity and skin and eye health.

How To Include In Your Diet
Adding sweet potatoes to stews can be one good way to benefit from them. You can also use mashed sweet potatoes over your favorite pie.

Oranges

  • Serving size – 180 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 21 grams
  • DV% – 7%

Oranges are excellent sources of vitamin C, and they meet 130 percent of your daily needs of the nutrient. One fruit contains over 170 phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids. The vitamin C prevents cancer and promotes heart health. It also works great in improving skin health.

How To Include In Your Diet
Having a glass of orange juice in the morning along with your breakfast can work wonders. You can even eat a whole orange or simply toss a few chopped pieces into your salad or yogurt.

Berries

Berries

  • Serving size – 150 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 17 grams
  • DV% – 6%

These include a combination of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Berries are great sources of vitamin C and are low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat – and that’s great news for all. Eating berries regularly builds your immunity and improves eye health.

How To Include In Your Diet
Make berries a part of your morning breakfast cereal. You can also eat them by themselves or with yogurt. Even a morning or evening smoothie can be a great idea.

Carrots

Carbohydrates

  • Serving size – 128 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 12 grams
  • DV% – 4%

Carrots are rich in antioxidants, especially beta-carotene, which helps prevent a range of cancers.

How To Include In Your Diet
Eating carrots raw or steamed offers the highest nutritional value. You can also shred carrots and use them in salads.

Following are two foods extremely rich in carbohydrates, but we don’t recommend you to consume them as often as the ones mentioned above since they don’t contain the good type of carbs.

References
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