Did you know that your fuel for physical activity mainly comes from carbohydrates? But there are two types of carbohydrates you should be aware of – complex and refined. Our bodies process these two different energies in different ways, so it’s important to understand how they work.
Complex Carbohydrates come from whole foods like whole-grain flours, quinoa, nuts, starchy vegetables, and even seeds – these foods are fiber-rich and extremely high in vitamins and minerals.
Refined Carbohydrates come from processed food such as white flour, sugar, chips, cereals, and other fast foods. These refined carbohydrates provide minimum nutrition value while increasing your caloric intake.
Complex carbohydrates are important for us all, especially for the highly active like endurance athletes, these nutrient-dense carbs are digested slowly allowing our system to absorb the maximum amount of nutrition and useable caloric energy. Vegetables that are high in complex carbohydrates like parsnips, beets, potatoes, carrots, and squash. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Sprouted and whole grains, which are enzyme-rich and more digestible, are also a great source for long-burning energy.
When your energy dips, it’s tempting to reach for junk food, like sugary drinks, chips or processed snack bars, consider instead an apple, carrots or nuts – and drink plenty of water! Think about your energy in a 24-hour cycle, fueling the body with nutrient-dense, fresh foods throughout the day to maximize energy efficiency all day long.
Be mindful of what you eat and nourish yourself!