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Time for a Comeback: 6 Carbs You’ll Want in Your Diet

Time for a Comeback: 6 Carbs You’ll Want in Your Diet

As early as 1972, Robert J. Atkins’ food plan suggested limiting carbohydrates in favor of proteins and fats as a way to lose weight. More recently, the popular paleo trend has promoted the health benefits of returning to the diet of our hunter-gather ancestors. However, a new study from The Quarterly Review of Biology suggests that complex carbohydrates played a crucial role in the development of the human brain. The findings suggest that we have been too quick to slash carbs from our grocery lists.

In today’s gluten-free world, many nutrient-rich starches have disappeared from the carts of health-conscious shoppers. As a result, diets today are missing the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutritional values that cannot always be recuperated with artificial supplements.

Here is a list of six carbohydrates that deserve a spot in your weekly rotation:

1. Purple Potatoes: not your average spud

This more vibrant cousin to the white potato packs a serious punch of antioxidants. When steamed or boiled, they can protect against free radicals. Plus, studies have shown that the high levels of potassium found in purple potatoes can reduce blood pressure.

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Purple potatoes

    Dr. Joe Vinson from the University of Scranton hopes to bring them back into favor. “Mention ‘potato’ and people think ‘fattening, high carbs, empty calories.’ In reality, when prepared without frying and served without butter, margarine, or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins.”

    2. It’s a seed, not a grain, it’s buckwheat!

    This fruit seed is often mistaken for a grain since it is commonly used as a healthy, gluten-free substitute to flour. Popular uses of buckwheat include French galettes and soba noodles, both wholesome alternatives to wheat-based batters or pastas.

    Buckwheat

      “Buckwheat is loaded with health benefits… it is a great source of heart-healthy fiber, which helps keep you full longer. It also provides hunger-satisfying protein without any of the cholesterol or saturated fat that animal protein contains. Plus, it offers eight essential amino acids, making this complete protein a smart nutritional choice for vegetarians,” says Elaine Gordon, a master-certified health education specialist.

      3. The return of Quaker’s Oats

      While often paired with rich ingredients like honey, brown sugar and cream, oats are an important addition to your diet given their content of soluble fiber. Beneficial side effects of increased oats intake, according to The Whole Grain Council, include lowering bad cholesterol, reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and controlling blood pressure.

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      Oats

        Most recently, oats have made a big comeback as a healthy breakfast that is simple to prepare and a wonderful alternative to sugary cereals.

        4. Farro, it’s not just an ancient king in Egypt

        A wonderful alternative to pasta, Farro is an ancient Etruscan grain that is chock-full of nutrients like vitamins B and E as well as fiber. A study from Harvard Medical School notes that vitamin E “acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Protects vitamin A and certain lipids from damage. Diets rich in vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.”

        Farro

          For a heartier meal, try adding farro to your regular soup or salad recipes. Or, create a healthy dessert by adding warmed fruit and honey to the cooked grain.

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          5. Change up your bean routine

          Despite being a carbohydrate, kidney beans can actually help you lose weight given their high levels of soluble fiber. Beans and legumes are harder to digest which can suppress appetite. The iron content in kidney beans is a bonus too. Daniel Pendick, executive editor of Harvard Men’s Health writes, “one-quarter of the world’s population is anemic, meaning they don’t get enough iron to produce the red blood cells and oxygen-carrying hemoglobin needed to nourish their myriad cells.” A diet of iron-rich foods, however, is the best way to combat deficiency.

          Kidney beans

            Get creative with kidney beans as you would with black beans. They can be used for more than chili and soups. Try adding an extra dose of iron and protein to salads or sauces.

            6. Fill up on fiber with butternut squash

            Butternut squash contains high levels of Vitamins A and C. Jessica Kovarick, a licensed and registered dietician says, “Beta carotene imparts the orange-yellow color of butternut squash. In the body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health. Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin, also is important in maintaining healthy mucous membranes and other soft tissues, and it plays a role in promoting healthy skin.” Of course, if that is not enough, this healthy carb’s fiber content aids digestion and its high levels of potassium maintain heart health.

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            Butternut squash

              Butternut squash is delicious when simply roasted in olive oil and garnished with salt and pepper. If you are looking for a prepare-ahead meal, try making soup and stock your fridge or freezer for Fall and Winter meals.

              The Verdict: Eradication is extreme

              While it is not recommended to start reaching for white bread and plain pasta, there are benefits to adding nutrient-rich carbohydrates back into your shopping basket. Often, understanding the vitamins found in the groceries you buy can greatly improve your overall diet, health and happiness.

              Whether you are gluten-free, paleo or in search of the next big trend, the message is clear: some carbohydrates are just too good to pass up.

              Featured photo credit: Melissa’s Produce, mylifeisdelicious, vegancoconutzone, Jason Sani, helloantioxidants, Barley Swine via Instagram

              Featured photo credit: Cutting Bread by dinner series via flickr.com

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              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

              Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

              If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

              1. Breathe

              The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

              • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
              • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
              • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

              Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

              2. Loosen up

              After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

              Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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              3. Chew slowly

              Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

              Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

              Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

              4. Let go

              Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

              The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

              It’s not. Promise.

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              Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

              Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

              21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

              5. Enjoy the journey

              Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

              Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

              6. Look at the big picture

              The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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              Will this matter to me…

              • Next week?
              • Next month?
              • Next year?
              • In 10 years?

              Hint: No, it won’t.

              I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

              Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

              7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

              You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

              Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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              8. Practice patience every day

              Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

              • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
              • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
              • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

              Final thoughts

              Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

              Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

              Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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