Low-carb and no-carb diets have gained popularity in recent years. And, as some folks have found weight loss success in omitting this entire macronutrient, carbohydrates have consequently gotten a pretty bad name.
The problem here is that carbs aren’t just an obscure, little known, or unneeded nutrient.
In fact, carbohydrates, being a macronutrient, are a crucial part of a healthy diet!
Carbs are your body’s primary source of energy, and they provide needed fuel for your heart, brain, kidneys, and more!
The thing is, not all carbs are created equally. There truly are good and bad carbs.
The carbs that you can appropriately send packing are refined and processed, items such as: desserts, refined breads and pastas, many breakfast cereals, pastries, etc.
But, there are a wealth of healthy, unprocessed, complex, and delicious, high carb foods that you can enjoy knowing they are loaded with benefits for your body!
Let’s take a look at the top 12 here…
1- Sweet Potatoes
Being in the midst of the holiday season, sweet potatoes seem to be available in abundance, so load up your shopping cart and let’s see what this delicious carbohydrate has to offer!
Mashed sweet potatoes, skin included, contain 23 grams of carbs per ½ cup.
Possibly their most notable benefit comes from their antioxidant content, as this aspect of the sweet potato benefits your body by combatting damage caused by free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of disease with each enjoyed serving.
Sweet potatoes are also loaded with potassium and vitamins A and C, which boasts the following benefits:
- proper immune system functioning
- help with wound healing
- maintaining healthy of bones, teeth, and cartilage
- helps your body absorb iron properly
- aids in growth, development, and repair of tissue
- reduces risk of cancer
- helps protect against night blindness and promotes overall visual health
- reduces acne
- promotes reproductive health
- regulates heartbeat
- promotes proper nerve function
Yum! This grain…or seed…is not only a high-carb health powerhouse, it’s also incredibly versatile!
My favorite way to use quinoa is as a binder in ground chicken meatloaf (sub for breadcrumbs in a traditional meatloaf recipe and add your favorite veggies too…you’re welcome!), but you can also use it as a salad filler, breakfast cereal, or even to “beef” up your burgers.
High in fiber and protein, one (very filling) cooked cup of quinoa contains 39.4 grams of carbohydrates.
Full of phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, quinoa can help your body fight inflammation, regulate fluids, lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, and promote healthy bones and teeth.
Quinoa is also a great option for those looking for gluten free carb options.
One cup of raw beets contains 13 grams of carbs. Yes, I did say raw.
Beets are a root vegetable that can be consumed raw or cooked.
Beets contain inorganic nitrates that have been linked to improved heart health. And, they are loaded with potassium, vitamin A, folate, and calcium, which boast combined benefits such as:
- a reduced risk of disease
- lowered blood pressure
- better exercise performance (reduced oxygen usage)
- healthy blood flow/circulation
- cell regeneration
- proper immune function
- reduced cognitive decline
Your healthiest oat options include old fashioned oats and steel cut oats. These varieties contain roughly 54 grams of carbs per cup of raw oats.
Oats are most often noted for their benefits to the health of your heart, and it’s no wonder!
- Oats contain soluble fiber, and research shows this type of fiber may reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
- Soluble fiber can also decrease the amount of cholesterol absorbed into your bloodstream.
- Regularly eating oats is associated with a reduced risk of clogged arteries.
- Eating oats can also lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- As weight management plays a role in reducing the risk of heart disease, the satiating aspect of oats has been known to help people lose weight, thus improving heart health.
Enjoyed especially during the summer months, (corn on the cob anyone?) corn provides benefits to both blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
One half cup of corn contains roughly 25 grams of carbohydrates, and it also supplies a healthy dose of vitamin C to benefit your immune system, protect against cancer, and boost the health of your eyes as well as your bones and teeth.
Don’t let the name fool you, no fear of gluten here as buckwheat is not related to wheat and therefore does not contain gluten.
Cooked buckwheat does however contain around 20 grams of carbs per half cup and is a good source of protein and fiber.
Even better, buckwheat contains more disease fighting antioxidants than any other grain!
And, research shows buckwheat to be highly beneficial when it comes to regulating blood sugar and enhancing the health of your heart.
Vegetables and grains aren’t the only super healthy carbs.
When your sweet tooth is driving your meal or snack choices, opting for a banana as a high carb sweet treat can benefit your body due to its rich potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C content.
A medium sized banana contains close to 27 grams of carbohydrates, but those vitamins and potassium can improve your immune system and boost the health of your heart.
And, bananas also contain prebiotic compounds which help to feed the good bacteria in your gut, ensuring (again) a healthy immune system while also decreasing inflammation and aiding in digestion.
To gain more starch as opposed to sugar, consume bananas before they get too ripe (look for more green and less dark yellow or browning on the banana).
8- Brown Rice
Many people love the addition of rice to balance out a dish, and here’s how the switch to brown rice over white rice can boost the health of your body.
White rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, causing a spike to your blood sugar. And, it is considered an “empty” carbohydrate as it has essentially been stripped of its health boosting nutrients.
At 36 grams of carbs per one cup cooked, brown rice contains all parts of the grain: the bran, germ, and endosperm. And, this whole food nutrient-rich package has been shown to:
- improve blood sugar levels
- reduce the risk of heart disease
- aid in weight management (due to its satiating property)
- reduce inflammation
- fight disease
Another fix for your sweet tooth, apples are a delicious treat that doubles as an energy booster!
One medium apple contains roughly 14-16 grams of carbohydrates.
With so many varieties to choose from, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” by improving blood sugar, heart health, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.
These benefits stem from the apple’s vitamin C and antioxidant content, but be sure to keep the peeling on for added fiber as you enjoy your apple.
Lentils can certainly pack a punch when it comes to carbs, containing nearly 40 grams per boiled cup. But, within that same serving you’ll also be enjoying almost 18 grams of protein and a whopping 15 grams of fiber!
Also loaded with essential B vitamins, lentils provided benefits to your muscles and nervous system.
Eating on a budget? Lentils (and beans) are extremely wallet-friendly, costing only a fraction of the price of meat.
And, their nutrient profile makes them an excellent choice for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Containing 14.5 grams of carbs per ½ cup, blueberries pack a healthy punch in such a small package!
Often considered a superfood due to their antioxidant content, this sweet, yet tart, fruit is known to protect you against disease and the effects of aging due to their ability to fight free radical damage.
And, studies show that eating them regularly can even benefit memory in aging adults.
Blueberries are also loaded with vitamins C and K, which brings benefits to your body’s tissues (aiding in growth, development, and repair), while also keeping your immune system functioning properly, and helping your blood to clot normally.
12- Kidney Beans
Chili fans celebrate here, right? Because what’s a good chili recipe without kidney beans?
Well, whether your favorite chili contains kidney beans or not, this member of the legume family weighs in at 21.5 grams of carbs per ½ cup cooked. And, those carbs come in the form of both starch and fiber.
Kidney beans are also a good source of protein, and they’ve been linked to decreased inflammation in the colon.
Also containing potassium and iron, kidney beans can help to regulate your body’s balance of fluid and can even aid in the contraction of muscles.
And, this beautiful bean is also associated with blood sugar regulation as well as disease prevention due to its antioxidant content.
One precaution: be sure to cook your beans thoroughly, as consumption of raw or undercooked beans can be toxic.
As you can see, the items we’ve listed here contain a ton of healthy benefits, and ditching those benefits in the name of the “carbs are bad” campaign just isn’t advisable.
Enjoy any of these healthy, high carb foods as part of a whole-foods diet, or incorporate them in moderation if you are following a low-carbohydrate eating plan.
But, no matter your nutritional needs, let’s ditch the idea that all carbs are bad!
When losing weight seems impossible
Nothing’s worse than feeling your heart sink when you step on a scale & see that your weight didn’t budge after working out for an entire week.
It can feel like weight loss is IMPOSSIBLE…
Like it’s a fantasy how some people just magically stay thin forever (no matter what they eat or how lazy they are) while the rest of us watch with jealousy.
The “experts” out there believe that when you hit a plateau like this you need to update your workout and diet to match the weight you are at…
But that simply isn’t true for most people.
Because there’s one thing that’s COMPLETELY outside of nutrition or working out that can cause your body to gain weight…
We live with stress at work, at home, and pretty much anywhere else we go.
And as we get older, it only increases.
Studies show that stress is a major factor in most weight loss problems.
Stress causes your body to release a hormone called Cortisol.
Cortisol is meant to help you navigate stress, but it often has the opposite effect.
When your body feels stress, it releases Cortisol and triggers a response to send glucose (sugar) to be used as energy…
Even though cortisol is helpful in small amounts, and for short periods of time… when it’s released for long periods of time it forces you to store body fat, especially around the belly (which is what Yale researchers call “stress belly”).
If stress levels are high and cortisol is being released, it’s almost impossible to lose weight.
That’s why people who are stressed tend to gain a lot of weight.
But fear not, cortisol has a counterpart called Glutathione.
If your body produces more glutathione than cortisol, not only will you feel less stressed…
But it will become WAY easier to lose weight.
But Glutathione doesn’t just enter your body out of thin air… it needs to be supplemented!
So that’s why my friend Pam at Nutraville formulated a supplement to raise Glutathione levels & decrease cortisol levels
It’s called Gluta Raise, and it will help you reduce stress & lose weight:
Gluta Raise is formulated with all natural ingredients that balance Cortisol with Glutathione…
Glutathione is the healer of the body.
When Glutathione is present, you feel less stressed and lose weight at the same time.
Cindy tried Gluta Raise and she can’t believe the results…
“Stress-free and anxiety-free all day, every day! Feel like I’ve got my energy back! Now, I can focus and do more with Gluta Raise!” -Cindy B. – San Francisco, CA