Many of today’s most popular diets keep a tight ceiling on carbohydrate intake to force the body to turn to its stores of fat to fuel energy, which leads to at least short-term weight loss and may benefit heart health.
But carbs are the most efficient type of fuel available for our bodies, especially our brains. It’s very difficult to eliminate them completely, and the complex carbs and fiber found in many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are digested slowly and can keep us fueled and full between meals.
Refined or simple carbs as found in most white breads, pastas, baked goods, candy, soda, and other processed foods are what you need to watch out for. Here are some very healthy high-carb foods worth including in your diet:
APPLES The quintessential fruit is usually about 13% to 15% carbs, with lots of healthy fiber to slow their digestion and a variety of nutrients, including antioxidants which protect your heart and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating the skin ensures you get all the benefits.
BEETS These are a lesser-known, powerful source of vitamin C and have loads of folate, which protects us from cognitive decline.
BUCKWHEAT The core ingredient of Japanese soba noodles, these are filled with phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and benefit the immune system and repair DNA damage from toxins.
OATS These are some of the best-for-you grains on the planet, with 10 grams of heart-healthy soluble fiber and 6 grams of protein per half-cup, along with healthy amounts of manganese, vitamin B1, iron, phosphorous and other minerals.
PRUNES With their high stores of potassium, calcium, and magnesium these fruits build up your bones, regulate your digestion, metabolize glucose, and help lower your blood pressure. And the fiber— one cup of pitted prunes has 12 grams!
SWEET POTATOES One regular-sized sweet potato has 27 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, and 2 grams protein; those carbs will be digested slowly to provide steady fuel and come with 400% of the recommended daily value of heart-healthy, immune-boosting vitamin A.