Healthy Days and Nourishing Ways

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The Highs and Lows of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a staple of our diet. They include fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. There are hundreds to pick from, with some choices being better than others.
Carbohydrates can be rated by their glycemic index. Low glycemic foods, such as leafy greens and berries, are considered healthier choices than high glycemic foods, such as potatoes and corn. Why? Low glycemic foods put less stress on the pancreas to produce insulin than high glycemic foods.

Insulin is an important hormone that allows nutrients to enter cells. When the pancreas produces too much insulin as a result of eating lots of high glycemic, starchy foods, people may gain weight (excess carbohydrates are stored as fat) and develop inflammation. The result may also be the development of degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. It is therefore critical that we make healthy choices when deciding which carbohydrates to consume on a regular basis.

Let’s take a look at some healthy, low glycemic carbohydrate choices.

· Some favorable vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, chard, collards, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, onions, peppers, tomatoes, turnip greens, and zucchini.

· Apples, berries, cherries, citrus fruits, and peaches are some favorable fruits.

· The best grain choices are oats (not instant or quick) and barley. And remember—sprouted grains are best since they will digest more like a vegetable than a grain.

· Good legume or bean choices are lentils, chick peas, and kidney beans.

Along with providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, these choices and other low glycemic carbohydrates will cause a slower rise in blood sugar. A slower rise in blood sugar will cause hunger to be delayed. We will feel fuller longer while providing our bodies the nutrients needed to have healthy days and nourishing ways.