Bananas are carbs in the truest sense of the word: they are a great source of instant energy and sugar that can be used to enhance a workout, or just to act as a ‘pick-me-up’ if ever you’re feeling low and sluggish. The great thing about bananas is that they are so convenient to eat and so readily available that you can grab them from the side and kill hunger pangs.
Bananas are also highly nutritious and among the benefits they offer is a large amount of potassium which can combat cramps and improve the communication of nerves around the body.
Carbs get a lot of bad publicity and are often considered to be unhealthy. This is not strictly true, and in fact, there is no food group that is ‘entirely’ bad for us. What’s much closer to the truth, is that processed carbs are bad for you.
Most carbs that we get from natural sources are complex in nature, meaning that they only very slowly release their sugar and this in turn makes them fantastic for keeping us full and for leveling out our blood sugar.
Oats are the perfect way to start your day for all those reasons.
3. Sweet Potato
Potatoes are a commonly maligned source of simple carbs, meaning that the sugar is released readily, resulting in a sudden rush of energy that can result in fat storage.
Potatoes aren’t all bad though and they contain a lot of important nutrients, including the likes of starch and of course vitamin C. But if you want the best of both worlds, then consider eating sweet potatoes instead.
Not only do these contain all the same benefits, but they are also slower to release their sugar and thus less likely to lead to a rush of insulin. Sweet potato fries are a great alternative to regular fries!
Spinach is incredibly good for you, which should come as no surprise really seeing as it is both a vegetable and an example of marine life (things that come from the sea area almost always highly good for us!).
Spinach is very rich in iron in particular, which can boost energy levels, combat anemia, and even help to increase muscular strength and contractions.
On top of all that, spinach is also high in something called phytotesterone – which may be able to raise levels of the hormone testosterone.
Oranges may be high in simple sugars but their nutritious benefits more than makeup for it. In particular, oranges are a fantastic source of vitamin C, which has a ton of benefits for the human body.
For starters, vitamin C will elevate levels of serotonin – the body’s feel-good hormone which can help to improve the mood. At the same time, vitamin C is of course well known for increasing our immune defense and thereby helping us to stave off illnesses, infections, and other attacks on our health.
Vitamin C has countless benefits besides these too… so get more of it in your diet!
Apples are high in vitamin C too but that is not all. The skin that surrounds apples is highly beneficial for its fiber content. On top of that, apples are also a good source of epicatechin.
This is a substance that has a ton of great benefits, including the ability to act as a vasodilator. This means that it will widen the blood vessels, thereby allowing more blood and oxygen to flow around the body.
This provides the muscles and the brain with a greater supply of oxygen and of nutrients, thereby enhancing your fitness and well being.
7. Dark Chocolate
Another great source of epicatechin is dark chocolate! Dark chocolate will get you even more of the vasodilator and this will bring with it a ton of other benefits too.
Among those, you can expect to enjoy improved muscle building as nitric oxide (which is increased by epicatechin) has also been shown to increase the muscles’ ability to use satellite cells to increase their size and strength.
Studies show that consuming 30g of dark chocolate per day will increase your NO by as much as 54% over 15 days!
Another benefit of dark chocolate is the simple fact that it is much less calorific than regular chocolate and less sugary too. If you aim for 90%, then this will provide a much less unhealthy way to enjoy chocolate whenever you need a pick-me-up.
Bread so often gets a bad rap when it comes to nutrition. As a source of simple carbs and as a source of gluten, it is off-limits for diabetics and celiac-diets alike. Not only that, but many people believe that gluten can damage indigestion even for those people that don’t have an allergy.
The reality is that this is not true. In fact, gluten is only damaging to those that have the condition (or gluten sensitivity). Everyone else can enjoy bread just fine.
And if you seek out whole grain bread (meaning that the grains have both the wheat and the germ intact), then you can in fact stand to benefit from a great many advantages of this highly beneficial carb.
Broccoli is a green vegetable and green vegetables in fact count as carbs! This is a great example of why you shouldn’t think of all carbs as being bad for you.
For starters, broccoli is relatively low in sugar and high in fiber, meaning that it won’t spike your blood sugar to a noticeable degree. At the same time, broccoli is a great source of many other nutrients.
It is once again a great way to get fiber in your diet. On top of this, it is also high in calcium, which can not only strengthen your bones but also your connective tissue and muscle contractions, thereby preventing a range of injuries and boosting athletic performance.
10. Vegetable Smoothie
Smoothies get a bad rap despite their many health benefits. The issue of course is the fact that they are so high in sugar. Even though this is a fantastic ‘hit’ of crucial nutrients, it will still damage your teeth, skyrocket your blood sugar and bring on other unwanted side effects associated with high sugar intakes.
The solution? Have a vegetable smoothie instead. These are nowhere near as rich in available sugars but at the same time, they still provide a ton of great health benefits.
Among the many included are calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, vitamin B complex, and many more.