Carbohydrates are body’s main source of energy and are mainly obtained from plants and dairy products. There are three kinds of carbohydrates – starch, sugar and fiber.
Starch is made from a chain of small sugars. These chains break down to give energy. Each gram of starch contains 4 calories. Sugars are simple carbohydrates that can be easily digested by the body. Fibers do not provide any calories because our bodies do not break fiber during digestion.
Foods which contain a high level of sugar are candies, jellies, soda, cake and fruits. Foods that contain starch include noodles, breads, grains and vegetables. Consuming healthy, high fiber carbohydrates in moderation will help us to maintain a healthy weight. But consuming too much calories can lead to weight gain and high blood pressure, especially people who suffer from diabetes.
Most people opt for low carb diet for weight loss. But our carbohydrate food intake should be well balanced as it can be harmful to the body. Each gram of carbohydrates contains 3.75 kilocalories. Our body needs 40 to 60% of calories from carbohydrates and anything lower than this is unhealthy. The Recommended Daily Allowance for carbohydrates is 130 grams for adults.
Here are some rich sources of carbohydrates foods:
Below is a list of carbohydrate foods list.
Potatoes also contain good amounts of carbohydrates in the form of starch. 1 cup serving of boiled potatoes contains 31 grams of carbohydrates and a cup of mashed potatoes include 36 grams of carbs. Hash browns have the highest amount of carbohydrates with 35% while french fries contain 27% of carbs. Potatoes are also rich in potassium. One medium sized potato has just 110 calories and is completely free of sodium, cholesterol and fat which make them a downright undeniable for any diet. They also contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, fibers and iron.
2. Whole grains:
Whole grains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Almost every grain contains high levels of complex carbs and each whole grain contains bran and endosperm which provide different nutrients and other components that contribute to the health. Some grains that contain carbohydrates include rice, corn, wheat, barley, oats and buckwheat. Brown rice contains 38 mg of carbohydrates per serving. Not only does brown rice provide our body with energy boosting carbohydrates but it also contains a good amount of fiber which aids digestion. Whole grains have similar amounts and sometimes more disease fighting chemicals than many typical fruits and vegetables. Whole grain improves digestive heath and help with weight management.
3. Citrus fruits:
It is well known that citrus products are a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers which contribute to healthy growth, development and nutritional wellbeing of the body. The main energy yielding nutrient in citrus fruits is carbohydrates. Citrus contains simple carbohydrates, fructose, glucose and sucrose as well as citric acid which provide us with energy. A medium sized grapefruit contains 18.5 carbs and 2.7 grams of fiber. 151 grams of oranges contain 14 g of carbohydrates.
Sweet and juicy berries are rich in pro-anthocyanin natural pigments and antioxidants. Berries like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries also contain a significant amount of carbs. Both blackberries and strawberries contain 14 grams of carbs while blueberries have a higher count of carbohydrates of 21 grams for 1 cup. These berries also help to get rid of harmful oxygen from the body and protect the body against cancer and other infections.
Besides tasting great and being low in calories because of its high water content, water melon is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is a major antioxidant and beta carotene thus providing a fair amount of Vitamin A which prevents cataract and improves eye sight. ½ cup of dices watermelons contain 5.5 grams of carbohydrates and has an average glycemic index of 72.
Delicious and crunchy apples are one of the most popular fruits and a favourite of health conscious, fitness lovers. They also contain a healthy amount of carbohydrates. One apple contains 23 grams of carbohydrates. You can also drink apple juice if you are not much fond of apples. One 8 oz. of apple juice contains 30 grams of carbohydrates. It also contains phytonutrients and antioxidants that are indispensible for optimal health.
7. Sweet potato:
Sweet potatoes provide us with ample carbohydrates to give us energy. An eight ounce of sweet potato contains 240 calories and 55 grams of carbohydrates. Sweet potato is low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is a good source of Dietary fiber, Vitamin B 5, Potassium, Vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.
8. Nuts and legumes:
Legumes rank next in importance to cereals as good food sources. They contain more proteins than any other vegetable and thus are akin to animal meat in food value. Just like grains, nuts and legumes are also rich in complex carbohydrates. Apart from carbohydrates, they also contain proteins, omega 3 fatty acids and a range of vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fiber which aids in digestion and helps in maintaining healthy weight. Nuts and legumes which contain a good amount of proteins are lentils, chick peas, split peas, soybeans, kidney beans and pinto beans.
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Cereals are a healthy way to start a day but measure the amount and be aware of the carb content. Most of the ready to eat cereals contain a good amount of sugar even though they claim to be whole grain. These cereals contain 98% of carbohydrates in contrast to homemade cereals like oats or rye which contain 13-15% of carbohydrates. Other nutrient in cereals includes fiber, protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins. Oats are the healthiest option in breakfast to start the day.
10. Dry fruits:Dried fruits like kiwis, prunes and dates contain a good amount of carbohydrates along with other important fibers and vitamins so these can be used in moderation to satisfy your sweet tooth. Dehydrated foods like apples, prunes, bananas are 88% carbohydrates while dried peaches, apricots and raisin contain around 75% if carbohydrates. 1/4 cup of raisins provides 45g grams of carbohydrates. When adding carbohydrates to your diet, consider using dry fruits in salad, and baked desserts.
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Bananas are high in fiber and potassium and one banana contains 24g carbs. Bananas also contain the highest amount of sugar than any other fruit. They are also rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C and fiber. Include at least one banana in your daily breakfast or you can add it to your cereals, fruit salads, yoghurts and milk shakes.
Bread supplies a significant portion of nutrients that are required for the growth and maintenance of health and wellbeing of the body. It is a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbohydrates and is quite low in cholesterol and fat. A slice of whole grain bread contains around 20 grams of carbohydrates. White bread contains even higher amount of carbohydrates. Try to limit your bread intake or opt for brown bread instead of white bread. Breads are also rich in fiber that keeps you full for a longer period of time and will control hunger.
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White pasta and semolina pasta are high in carbs and glycemic acid. Try to use quinoa pasta or wheat pasta instead and use some healthy vegetables as toppings. Three cups of spaghetti pasta provides our body with 97g of carbohydrates. Whole wheat pasta is also enriched with Vitamin B and iron which adds up to its nutritional value.
14. Green Vegetables:
Several green vegetables are also rich in carbs and they also contain important minerals and vitamins. While you should minimize the consumption of simple carbohydrates, the low levels found in green vegetables are not harmful because of their high content of nutrients. Peas, acorn squash and asparagus can contain upto 30 grams of carbohydrates. Other vegetables include beans, okra, cucumbers, zucchini and spinach.
Empty Carb Foods:
Some carbohydrates foods provide very little nutrition. These carbs are known as empty carbs. Many foods and drinks that we consume contain empty calories mainly from solid fats and added sugar. Even though these foods contain high amount of carbohydrates, they should be avoided at all costs. A small amount of empty calories is fine but too much can be harmful to health. Foods with empty carbs are:
Even though this syrup is made of corn, corn syrup can be the worst ingredient for your health because of its high starch content. It is a high processed food which can increase your weight because it increases your sugar craving and is high in calories as well. It can also lead to liver problems.
Regular sodas, sports drink; energy beverages and flavoured waters contain high level of carbohydrates. Sugar sweetened sports drinks contain 24 to 29 grams of carbohydrates per 12 ounce serving. One can of soda contains 36 grams of carbohydrates. These beverages contain empty carbohydrates with no nutrition or fiber at all so try to avoid it as much as possible.
Candies are derivative of refined granulated sugar and should be avoided as much as possible. Gummy candies contain a high level of starch and should be avoided as well. These foods contain 99% of carbs and contain no nutrition whatsoever.
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Fructose and granulated sugar:
Fructose and granulated sugar contain pure refined carbohydrate and are 99.999% carbs with no proteins, minerals and fats. Thus refines sugars should be avoided as they contain empty calories.
Cakes and cookies:
Flour and products derived from it like cookies, cakes and breads are all high carb foods. A slice of cake contains approximately 35 to 70 grams of carbohydrates depending on the flavour, icing and size of the cake. They contain 84% carbohydrates and flours contain 70- 75% of carbohydrates.
- Crackers and chips:
The so called low calorie products and snacks contain a high level of carbohydrates to keep the items tasty. Low fat crackers, chips and rice cakes contain 80% carbohydrates.
These sweet spreads contain 65% carbs which often depends on how gelled or dry they are. Dry jams contain more carbohydrates.
Sauces and pickles:
These sweet relishes contain as much as 35% of carbs and contain good oil content. So try to avoid it as much as possible.
Side effects of excess carb intake:
Excessive intake of carbohydrates can upset the blood sugar levels of the body. It is also linked to obesity, heart diseases and diabetes. This leads to frequent irritation and mood swings too. It is very important to balance carbohydrates with protein, fat and fiber. Refined carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, low fiber and simple sugar can be dangerous to the body if the intake is not balanced. Inadequate consumption of carbohydrates can lead to nausea, muscle pain, wellness and resistance to disease.