The more you train, the more carbohydrates you'll need to fuel your muscles. However, it's important to remember that not all carbohydrate dense foods will give you the same benefits. If foods are high in sugar they will give you a spike of energy but then it will drop quickly.
Here are 10 examples that will give you the most nutritional benefits:
- Quinoa - part of the superfood family and for good reason. Not only is quinoa a great low GI (low sugar = energy is released slowly) carbohydrate source, it also contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.
- Brown rice - extremely rich in B group vitamins which increase energy levels has made this food a staple in the training world. It is also high in fibre thanks to the 'husk' on the outside which helps to remove cholesterol from the body thus reducing the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
- Sweet potatoes - have an extremely low GI rating therefore they give you long lasting energy. They are also high in vitamins including A, B6, C and D. Benefits include: maintaining energy levels, stabilising moods, as well as building healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth.
- Oats - a personal favourite and another member of the superfood family. Oats are a great complex carbohydrate source rich in soluble fibre that release energy slowly, and reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. The perfect breakfast choice!
- Blueberries - most people forget to include produce in their daily carbohydrate count as they don't realize sugar is a carbohydrate. Although blueberries have a high GI rating, they are packed with antioxidants and flavanols which have been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and some cancers.
- Carrots - vegetables are a great carbohydrate source as they are low in sugar and slowly digested by the body thanks to their fibre content and dense nutrient value. Carrots are also rich in vitamin A, C, K , and B8, folate, potassium, and iron. Being so nutrient rich, carrots have been shown to prevent heart attacks, ward off certain cancers, improve vision, reduce the signs of premature aging, and much more.
- Broccoli - one of, if not the best vegetable to include in your food plan. Broccoli is extremely low in carbohydrates, and has approximately 10 times more protein than carbohydrates per serve. It has also been linked heavily to reducing the risk of cancer due to its ability to combat inflammation, oxidative stress and detoxification in the body.
- Spinach - has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium. Studies have also shown daily consumption increases muscle efficiency as less oxygen is required to power the muscles while exercising.
- Mushrooms - are fat free, cholesterol free, have very low levels of sugar and salt, provide a valuable source of dietary fibre, as well as several vitamins and minerals including potassium. Potassium aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps to control blood pressure. *One medium Portobello mushroom contains more potassium than a banana.
- Pumpkin seeds - a great snack to keep on hand as they contain Omega-3 fatty acids (as well as carbohydrates) which boosts brain power. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the "sleep hormone" which is crucial for your body to repair itself between training sessions.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.