Carbohydrates, along with proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, water and oxygen, are nutrients: We need them to live and grow. But even though we need carbohydrates, there still are carbohydrate-rich foods that are “good carbs” and “bad carbs.”
Carbohydrates are the main nutrient in bread, pasta, cereals, beans, vegetables and dairy foods. All sugars are carbohydrates. When you eat, your body breaks carbohydrates down into sugar molecules. The smallest sugar molecule, glucose, is absorbed from your gut into your blood. It travels through the blood to every cell, providing an important source of energy to each cell.
Some foods are easily and rapidly digested into glucose. Such foods have a high glycemic index. With other foods, the process of digestion goes slower. These foods have a low glycemic index.
Here is a list of foods with low glycemic load:
Dark chocolate is a better choice than milk chocolate because it is lower in sugar and provides a source of health-promoting antioxidants. But remember, one small square is all you need to get those health benefits!
Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, and even plain romaine lettuce are all rich in nutrients that balance the blood sugar. They’re also packed with fiber, which helps improve insulin function since fiber slows down the release of sugar into the blood stream, while still allowing it to reach the cells. Leafy greens have no sugar or fat, but plenty of magnesium to support your blood sugar, along with chlorophyll, iron, potassium, Vitamins A and C, and fiber. Enjoy them in a hearty, superfood salad, filling green smoothie, soup, or any other yummy entree of your choosing. Higher leafy green consumption is associated with a 14 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, and coconut, are all rich in fiber and healthy fats to slow down the release of sugars into the bloodstream. They’re also low on the glycemic index (GI) and rich in protein, iron, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals. A little bit will go a long way, so don’t eat these like candy. They’re high in fats so a small handful (about an ounce) will do the trick.
Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower tend to fare well in regards to their glycemic load. This includes the previously mentioned cabbage and kale. These types of vegetables are often brought up in health news for their anti-cancer and heart disease preventing characteristics. They have a unique blend of phytonutrients that is especially well-received by the body, and it makes a lot of sense to eat them regularly. You could even rotate them out so that you’re eating cruciferous vegetables daily, but not eating the same vegetable every day.
Carrots have a very low number on the glycemic scale at 19. Considering that 55 or lower means it’s low, that is exceptionally low. We all know that the beta carotene in carrots helps with eyesight, and there’s no doubt that it’s high in Vitamin A. There’s also some fiber in there as well to help with the digestive system.