Fueling Up with Carbs
If you're feeling down and lacking energy, eat more fruits, vegetables, and grain products. In addition to being convenient and loaded with vitamins and minerals, these foods are low in dietary fat and are good sources of complex carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are an important energy source because they supply the fuel necessary for the nervous system to function properly and for muscles to work during physical activity. During digestion, starchy carbohydrates are broken down into sugars and are used by the body for energy.
Carbohydrates also help the body use vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
Despite the clear benefits of eating carbohydrates, many Americans fall short of the recommended daily intake. Most Americans eat four or five servings of grain products per day when, in fact, they should be eating six to 11 servings per day; three of these should be whole grain products. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel - the bran, germ, and endosperm.
Examples of Whole Grain Products
- whole wheat pasta
- whole wheat flour
- bulgur (cracked wheat)
- whole cornmeal
- brown rice
- whole wheat tortillas