What Are Carbohydrates & The Benefits Of Consuming Them

Probably the best way to understand what carbohydrates are is to see them as sugars, starches and fibers that are found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.

Even though they are often maligned in the popular diets, carbohydrates (also known as carbs) are important for a healthy organism.

In a nutshell, carbohydrates are macronutrients which means that they are one of the three main ways through which our body obtains energy or calories. Carbohydrates are also the body’s main source of energy – and they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen – hence the name.

Now, the classification of carbs includes many types and many groups. To better illustrate this, there are:

  • Simple and complex carbs (based on their molecule structure)
  • Monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides (based on their molecule structure and source)
  • Good and bad carbs (where good are the carbs coming from natural sources such as fruit, opposed to the bad carbs being found in processed products)

The function of carbohydrates is related to providing energy for the central nervous system and every working muscle. Below, we are listing their benefits.

The Benefits Of Eating Carbohydrates Before And After A Workout

As mentioned above, carbohydrates provide fuel for our central nervous system as well as energy for our working muscles. They also prevent the protein from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism. They are also important for proper brain function and are found to positively influence the mood, memory and other functions.

When it comes to the consumption of carbs before and after a workout, most of the experts would agree that it is before to consume carbohydrates before a workout as the main source of energy – and balance with proteins after the workout.

Still, carbohydrates can be a great source of glycogen after a workout (especially because your glycogen levels are low at that time).

So, if you want to have maximum energy while training, you can consume carbohydrates before your training. If, on the other hand, the purpose of your training is to bulk up (add muscle) rather than shred your body, carbing up before throwing on your kit is necessary.

The best-case scenario is to consume most of the slow-digesting carbohydrates before a workout – and leave the fast-digesting carbohydrates for after the exercise.

Examples Of Foods That Are Categorized As Carbohydrates

There are many different groups of foods that contain carbohydrates. Obviously, each food contains them in a different and relative amount. So, the best way to understand which food contains carbohydrates is through the following examples listed below:

  • Dairy products – milk, yogurt, ice cream
  • Fruit – whole fruit and fruit juice
  • Grains – bread, rice, crackers and cereal
  • Legumes – beans and other plant-based products
  • Starchy vegetables – potatoes and corn
  • Sugary sweets (processed carbs) – soda, candy, cookies and other desserts

What’s important to mention at this point is the fact that carbohydrates are not inherently bad. In fact, our bodies need the glucose sourced in them for fuel. However, it is always important to pick nutrient-rich food sources and pay attention to the size of your portions (if they include carbohydrates).

A Final Word

In the end, carbohydrates are best consumed in their healthy and unprocessed form – and at the right time. Usually, nutritionists advise to consume them in the morning or at least for lunch and leave the other nutrients for your snack and dinner choices.

Moreover, you should try to focus on the ‘good carbs’ which are essentially carbohydrates that are low or moderate in calories, high in nutrients, devoid of refined sugars/grains, high in natural fiber, low in sodium and saturated fat as well as low in (or devoid of) any cholesterol and trans fats.

 

Efficient Energy From Pre-Workout Nutrition

A healthy diet and regular physical activity – these are the two things that every individual, who wants to keep their health at a high level, should implement in their life. If you eat the right foods that provide adequate amounts of nutrients, but you avoid exercise, then you can’t expect optimal health. On the other hand, workout without proper nutrition won’t be effective and in some cases, it can be dangerous. When we are talking about food and workout, it is good to mention that there are some healthy foods that are known for their ability to provide energy. These foods are especially effective when they are taken before a workout. Pre-workout nutrition is crucial for the final results of your physical activity. In this article, we will highlight some of the best healthy foods that provide energy.

workout_1Oatmeal

If you want to fuel your workout routine, you can always count on oatmeal. This food is packed with protein and soluble fiber and contains different minerals and vitamins. (1) With the help of oatmeal, you will feel full and you will be able to focus on the workout process. If you want to boost its effects, add some milk and berries.

Eggs

Eggs are loaded with protein and vitamin D making them an excellent food for energy before working out. Eggs have the ability to maintain energy levels and you can rest assured that you won’t feel hungry during the training process. Once again, if you want to get better results, you can make a combination with whole-grain toast. In this way, you’ll get more fiber.

Salmon

grilled-salmon-dill-butter-horiz-640

Now here’s an example of food that you can consume not only before a workout. This healthy fish contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids. (2) According to several studies, salmon has significant amounts of magnesium and a few B vitamins. This means that by eating salmon you will not only get energy, but you will also enhance the calorie-burning effects of your workout. On top of that, the omega-3 fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory effects increasing endurance which are important for proper conducting of different exercises.

Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the trendy energy-boosting foods. This extremely nutritious grain is known for the high amounts of minerals, vitamins, fiber and protein. Many people use it as a replacement for brown rice in their dishes. Cooked quinoa tastes like nuts. Experts agree that quinoa should be part of any pre-workout nutrition plan because it can help people get energy even for the hardest exercises.

Almonds

workout_3

It turns out that almonds are excellent fuel for any type of workout. Just like the majority of nuts, almonds are packed with fiber, minerals, protein and healthy fat. With their help, your body will keep moving and flexing during your workout session. Almonds are tasty and they can be consumed quickly before the workout begins.

In case you want to get the most from your workouts, be sure to consume some of these foods that provide energy before you start doing exercises.

  1. http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/oatmeal-nutrition-facts
  2. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=104