#HealthBytes: Why are carbs important for you?
Carbohydrates or carbs are foods that get converted into glucose, or sugar, in our bodies during digestion. Dairy, legumes, fruits, grains are some of its main sources. Unlike the bad reputation they have, carbs are not always harmful. In fact, their regular intake is important for our body to function. Here are the reasons why your body needs carbohydrates to work and stay healthy.
Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy
Carbs help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles and central nervous system. Fiber, for example, is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check. Lack of carbs may cause headaches, fatigue, nausea and nutrient deficiencies. Yes, your body stores extra carbohydrates in your muscles when you don't have enough, but don't skip them all together.
They are a good source of essential nutrients
Carbs like whole grains and fruits contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, which are essential for a healthy body. Along with fiber, whole grains have Vitamin B, which helps in creating energy from food and making red blood cells. Fruits and starchy vegetables are generally loaded with Vitamins B and C. They also have phytonutrients, like carotenoids and flavonoids, which are also beneficial.
Your brain needs carbs to function properly
Your brain runs on glucose that you get from carbohydrates. If you don't have enough of them, your ability to think and learn decreases because neurotransmitters in your brain does not have enough glucose to run. This is why, when you skip carbs unnecessarily, you witness low blood sugar and are unable to maintain optimum function and mental drive.
Carbs can also work as mood boosters
In a study, people who followed a very low carbohydrate diet, experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet. This happened because most carbohydrates contain Tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin- the feel good hormone- in the brain. Without enough Tryptophan, and therefore serotonin, you are likely to get sad and have sleeping difficulties.
Carbs can help in weight loss
Contrary to the common belief, if taken in proper amounts, carbohydrates can help you lose weight. A recent study suggested that eating breakfast made with carbohydrates like oatmeal, three hours before exercise may help burn more fat because these slow-released carbs don't spike blood sugar like say, a white toast does. To summarize, don't reject carb intake entirely. Plan your diet for good health.