Carbohydrates – what is it, benefits, food and deficiency!

Carbohydrates have several roles in living organisms, including energy transport. They are also structural components of plants and insects. Carbohydrate derivatives are involved in reproduction, the immune system, disease development and blood clotting.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates , also known as saccharides, are sugars or starches. They are an important source of food and a fundamental form of energy for most organisms. They consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

Two basic compounds make up carbohydrates:

  • Aldehydes: are double bonded carbon and oxygen atoms, plus a hydrogen atom.
  • Ketones: These are carbon and oxygen atoms that are double bonded, plus two additional carbon atoms.

Furthermore, they can combine to form polymers or chains. These polymers can work as:

  • Long-term food storage molecules;
  • protective membranes for organisms and cells;
  • The main structural support for plants;

Simple and complex carbohydrates:

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are simple carbohydrates and polysaccharides are complex. Also, the simple ones are sugars. They consist of just one or two molecules. They provide a quick source of energy, but the consumer soon feels hungry again. Examples include bread, sugars and sweets.

Complex  carbohydrates  consist of long chains of  sugar molecules . Whole grains and foods that still have their fiber are complex. They tend to fill you up longer, and they are considered healthier as they contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber. Examples include fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grain pasta.

Health benefits of carbohydrates:

The health benefits of carbohydrates include regulating mood, supporting weight loss , supporting heart health, improving brain performance, reducing cancer risk, improving sleep pattern, and supporting digestion. Other benefits include supporting metabolism , improving athletic performance, increasing energy level, improving muscle mass, improving lifespan, and promoting satiety.

1. Important mood regulator:

Have you ever noticed how your mood can go from perfect to dirty in the space of a few hours? This is especially noticeable when you’re hungry. The reason? Carbohydrates  In addition to low blood sugar levels that make you feel irritable and lethargic, low carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher incidence of depressive illness and other mental disorders.

This is because they are believed to have a stimulating effect on the production of serotonin, one of the main regulators of a good mood in the brain. Low levels of serotonin in the brain are commonly found in people with depression and in less-than-ideal states of mind.

2. It can help prevent weight gain:

Carbs encompass a wide range of foods, in this case fiber . Fiber is a carbohydrate that is extremely slow to digest and has numerous health benefits.

People who consume a high fiber diet are much more likely to maintain an ideal body weight and even lose weight. fiber increases the satiety index of your meal, so you feel full eating less for a longer period of time.

Many types of fiber absorb water in your stomach and intestines, with the resulting bulk telling your brain that you’re still full. Remember, of course, that we are not referring to processed whole grains, as they lose much of their nutritional benefits.

3. Promotes heart health:

Yes, as two sides of the same coin, carbs can make or break your heart health. Of course, it depends on the carbohydrate you eat. If your preferred source is a can of soda, don’t expect to see any benefit.

However, if you opt for steel-cut oatmeal , you can expect better blood lipid values, in particular a reduction in the bad LDL and triglycerides aspects of your lipid profile. High circulating levels of these lipids increase the risk of atherosclerotic disease, causing damage to the heart.

4. Improves brain performance:

This is one of the main advantages that carbohydrates offer the body, with their unparalleled ability to sharpen mental function. People who follow low-carb or ketogenic diets know this firsthand, as tasks that require deep mental coordination or performance are typically inhibited.

If your job requires high mental performance, low-carb diets may not be your best choice. Couples with the fact that carbohydrates are the brain’s preferred energy source, take it away and you will suffer.

5. Reducing the risk of cancer:

This is a catch-22 and largely depends on which carbs you opt for. While most people think of things like potatoes when considering food options, there are actually a lot more options that may never have crossed your mind.

For example, onions, tomatoes, peppers, hundreds of vegetables can be considered at their core, although what they bring to the table are very different. And these are the carbs you should be aiming for. These are loaded with anti-oxidants and help fight abnormal cell growth. The high fiber nature of these foods also helps promote waste and cholesterol removal.

These healthy foods also fight early-stage cancer, as cells need glucose as their primary source of fuel.

Consumption of foods that convert very slowly to glucose can reduce the supply of nutrients to them, and cell death or apoptosis can occur.

Carbohydrate-rich foods:

  • Peanut:  It has a glycemic index value of 21 and 16 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams;
  • Apple:  It has a glycemic index of 52 and 19 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams of food;
  • Asparagus:  Its glycemic index is 20 and has 3.9 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams of food;
  • Wholemeal Bread:  It has a 48 glycemic index scale and 12.3 grams of carbohydrates for each average slice of the food;
  • Cabbage:  With a glycemic index of 20, cabbage has 6 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams;
  • Chickpeas:  Has a 42 glycemic index scale and 30 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams of food;
  • Carrot:  It has a 16 scale glycemic index and 5.84 grams of carbohydrates in a medium-sized vegetable;
  • Skimmed Yogurt:  It has a glycemic index scale of 33 and 7.8 grams of carbohydrates for every 160 grams of the product;
  • Broccoli:  It has a glycemic index scale of 20 and 7 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams of food;
  • Black beans:  It has a glycemic index scale of 30 and 63 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams of food;
  • Sweet Potato:  Has a 44 glycemic index scale and 20 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams of food;
  • Oatmeal:  It has a glycemic index of 55 and 56.5 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 grams of food;

Carbohydrate deficiency:

One of the main symptoms of carbohydrate deficiency is tiredness. Low energy and fatigue haunting you can be the result of insufficient amounts in your diet: as it’s the main source of energy, when it’s lacking, you start to feel cloudy and tired.

This feeling persists, but when the body becomes fat to get the energy it needs, you may start to feel better. So, if you don’t consume enough carbohydrate -rich foods , hypoglycemia can occur in response to your avoidance of starchy foods. Low blood glucose levels cause confusion, tiredness and dizziness.

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