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High-Carbohydrate Foods That Are HealthyHigh-Carbohydrate Foods That Are Healthy


High-Carbohydrate Foods That Are Healthy

Carbohydrates play an important role in our health. They influence our mood, fuel the central nervous system, and are the body's main energy source. While most junk foods are high in carbohydrates, not all foods containing carbohydrates are bad. The following high-carb foods provide many nutritional benefits.


Bananas contain natural sugar but also pectin, potassium, soluble fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Pectin aids digestion and regulates the impact a banana has on spiking blood sugar; potassium helps to maintain normal blood pressure; and soluble fiber is linked to a reduced risk for heart disease.


Oats, oatmeal, and oat bran are another valuable source of soluble fiber. Research shows that the soluble fiber in oatmeal can lower total cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Research also suggests unique antioxidants in oats may also help protect against heart disease. The beta-glucan in oats has been found to slow the rise in blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients (compared to white rice and bread).


Beans provide complex carbohydrates with heart-healthy soluble fiber, as well as plant-based protein. Beans are full of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, iron, and potassium, which are linked to reduced cholesterol and blood pressure. Some bean varieties also contain phytonutrients that act as antioxidants.


Peas contain phytonutrients that act as antioxidants to fight inflammation. These phytonutrients have also been associated with protecting against stomach cancer. Peas contain omega-3 fatty acids, and each cup provides about 7 grams of protein.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A, which plays a role in the health of the eyes, skin, and teeth. Substances responsible for the color of sweet potatoes, such as anthocyanins, help fight inflammation often associated with chronic disease. Sweet potatoes have also been found to help regulate blood sugar.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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