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“ Excessive eating and lack of exercise are to blame for weight gain, not carbohydrates.” – Quote by A. J. Odudu

A balanced diet is made up of many components, one of which is carbohydrates. The types of carbohydrates present in foods include fiber, starch, and sugar. They are the petrol needed by human body for any kind of physical exertion, organs to function and brain to work optimally. Carbohydrates should be ideally taken in the form of fruits and veggies. They provide the much needed energy, aid weight maintenance, as well as deal with disease such as Type 2 Diabetes as well as cardiac problems. As they come with a high glycemic level, they are a favourite of sports personnel who need to maintain high energy always.

The many benefits of carbohydrates are listed below:

· Energy. Carbohydrates provide the much needed energy for the body. Therefore, its consumption is required but in measured levels. This is because carbohydrates if not used / burnt converts into fat and is stored throughout the body. This leads to weight gain, obesity and beginning of many ailments.

· Elevates mood from low to good / high. The mood enhancing compound is known as serotonin. This is present in certain carbohydrate foods. Consuming them leads to the mood being elevated in certain people.

· Aids in deeper and restful sleep. As we all know that sleep is very very important for human beings. Deep and restful sleep for minimum 6-7 hours at night is vital for good health. Without good sleep, man performs below par, is irritable and susceptible to other ailments. If you have sleep issues, it is good to consume some food items with high glycemic index to have better sleep. These can be grapes, raisins, bananas, and dates that are natural in source.

· Fiber. Also known as roughage or bulk, they are vital for keeping bowel movement regular and healthy. Fiber comes from natural sources. Barley, oats, lentils & psyllium are good sources of soluble fiber that provides moisture to the stool. The cholesterol levels can be lowered as they stick to the bile salts. Insoluble fiber is found in nuts, grains and vegetables. More fiber = lower cholesterol and lowering the risk of Diabetes.

· Prevent blood clots. Consume carbohydrates to prevent plaques forming within the body that cause blood clots. Blood clots cause heart attacks. Plaque is cholesterol and fat in the body simply put.

· Maintain body weight. If eaten in moderate amounts, carbohydrates are effective in maintaining weight as well. Healthy carbohydrate are fruits and veggies. Lose and hold onto your weight the natural way.

· Sharp memory. For all of us who need to have a sharp memory, consumption of carbohydrates is required. Keep your brain functioning optimally. Have a good memory.

As for the side effects of consuming too much of carbohydrates, it includes diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cholesterol. Avoid consuming carbohydrates with high glycemic index. These include potato, white rice, white bread, and sugary drinks.

Let’s not give carbohydrates a bad name, they are vital for body as you can see from the above list. Eat in moderation, exercise daily and avoid foods that are high on the glycemic index.

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