Carbs, like fats, have been unfairly treated over the years. However, like with fats, not all carbs are created equal. While of course any “bad” food can add excess calories to your diet and lead to possible weight gain, healthy sources of carbohydrates are in fact necessary for a healthy body.
Why Are Carbs Needed?
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel. Stored in the body as glycogen, carbohydrates are the preferred energy source by the body over fats or proteins.
Carbohydrates are needed for:
- Energy – they are our main source of fuel
- Proper functioning of the central nervous system, kidneys, brain and muscles
- Digestive health – they help to remove waste from our bodies
Though carbohydrates are vital for the body to function properly, not all carbohydrates are beneficial. Some carbs, such as those that are processed, do indeed lead to unwanted fat and weight gain. It is these carbohydrates that have given all other carbs a bad name. The key to eating carbohydrates is to find wholesome sources that not just provide a healthier form of carbohydrates, but also include other nutrients.
Unless you are on a low-carb diet, there is no reason not to include these incredibly healthy high-carb foods into your diet!
11 High Carb Foods You Should Be Eating
Oats are quite possibly the heathiest whole grain source available. With roughly 28 grams of carbohydrates and 150 calories per half cup serving, oats are filling, digest slowly and provide you with long-lasting energy. Due to their whole grain status and nutrients, oats are known as a heart-healthy carbohydrate. In fact, oats are known for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Not just beneficial for the heart, oats also aid in digestive health. With filling fiber as well as protein, oats keep you full while keeping your digestive tract running smoothly.
Bananas might be most well known for their potassium content, but they also contain vitamin B6 and vitamin C as well as a large amount of carbohydrates. With roughly 27 grams of carbohydrates in just one banana, this high-carbohydrate fruit is the perfect grab-and-go snack. Due to its high potassium content, bananas have also been praised for their ability to lower blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Though white potatoes are still more popular, sweet potatoes’ popularity is on the rise due to their incredible health benefits. Bursting with beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin D, sweet potatoes can help support your vision, skin, nails, hair and immune system.
One medium sweet potato provides 24 grams of carbohydrates along with 4 grams of filling fiber. Those good-for-you benefits get negated by butter and brown sugar however, so be careful with how you choose to season these potatoes!
Quinoa is an incredible superfood. The main source of energy for Incan warriors, quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to it containing all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need. With 19 grams of carbohydrates per half cup serving, quinoa also provides other important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
With iron, lysine, magnesium, manganese and vitamin B12, quinoa is an excellent high carbohydrate food to include in your diet.
Apples top the list of high carbohydrate fruits with a whopping 31 grams per apple. Though a high amount of carbohydrates may be found in apples, you will find vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, fiber, phytonutrients and essential minerals such as calcium and potassium.
Eating apples daily has been linked to better control of blood sugar levels as well as reducing the risk of heart disease. The filling fiber found in the skin of apples is also a great weight loss aid, helping to keep you full and satiated!
6. Kidney Beans
A favorite source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, kidney beans contain 28 grams of carbohydrates in a one cup serving. With 6 grams of fiber for digestive health and satiety, kidney beans help to keep you feeling fuller longer, which can be beneficial when trying to lose weight.
Rich in essential vitamins such as vitamins A and C, kidney beans also contain essential minerals such as iron and folate.
Chickpeas, also known as garbonzo beans, may be high in carbohydrates with 45 grams in one cup but they are also high in plant protein. With 15 grams of protein per cup, chickpeas are an excellent plant protein source as well as carbohydrate source for vegans and vegetarians. Along with fiber, manganese and folate, chickpeas are a nutritious legume to include in anyone’s diet.
Chickpeas are also low on the glycemic index scale, which means that they will digest slowly in your bloodstream and won’t have any adverse effects on your blood sugar levels.
Similar to quinoa, buckwheat is a psuedocereal. Despite its name, buckwheat contains no wheat at all and is actually gluten-free, making it an ideal carbohydrate source for those with gluten-intolerance. With an incredible 61 grams of carbohydrates per half cup, buckwheat is quite high on the carbohydrate scale. Buckwheat also provides protein however, with roughly 11 grams per half cup serving.
Alongside protein and carbohydrates, buckwheat contains B vitamins as well as zinc, copper and folic acid.
Beets are back on the rise thanks in part to fresh juice bars. Almost every purple or pink juice you see contains beets, and for good reason! These fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and antioxidants. Beets have been found to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and even reduce the chance of certain cancers.
With 13 grams of carbohydrates per cup, beets are also a good source of carbohydrates to include in your diet.
Blueberries might contain an incredible amount of antioxidants, which help to ward off damaging free radicals in the body, but they are also fairly high in carbohydrates. With roughly 21 grams of carbohydrates per cup, blueberries are an excellent, whole food source of carbohydrates to include in your diet.
Grapefruits are most commonly touted for their weight loss benefits due to their fiber content. The fiber they provide keeps you full without overloading your calorie limit, plus they keep your blood sugar levels steady so you won’t be battling cravings or energy dips. Grapefruits also supply you with 13 grams of carbohydrates per one half of fruit along with filling fiber.
Don’t Fear Carbs
Don’t let the fear of carbohydrates keep you from including these incredibly healthy foods in your diet. With vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plenty more benefits provided, these 11 sources of carbohydrates are not ones to be afraid of!