One of the 6 essential nutrients needed by our body for its healthy functioning is carbohydrates. Our body uses these carbohydrates from monosaccharide glucose. Glucose is usually in blood and other extracellular fluids and can also be made from glycogen. This glycogen is normally stored in the muscles, our liver and other organs and the tissues of our body. Glucose provides the body much needed energy by splitting its molecules into compounds and then oxidizing these to make water. This is one of the main reasons why our diet should have the adequate quantity of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates have a very important role in our body and are extremely essential for a number of functions.

Source Of Energy – Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel in our body. As we consume food rich in carbohydrates, our body starts to break down the sugar and starches which is then absorbed in our blood. This becomes glucose which is extremely essential for breathing and a number of activities for which we need energy. If our body suffers from carbohydrate deficiency it gets weak, lethargic and suffers from poor concentration.

Good for Heart – Carbohydrates are good for our heart as the dietary fiber present in them prevents the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. If cholesterol accumulates in the arteries these lead to blockages which can further lead to strokes and heart attacks. Fresh fruits, whole wheat, bran and whole grain foods gives our body the much needed carbohydrates that helps in protecting the heart. However, carbohydrates consumed through processed foods like cookies and cakes need to be avoided as these are low in fiber and rich in added sugar and fat.

Helps in Improving Digestion – Carbohydrates are rich in fiber which helps in preventing indigestion and other digestion related problems like constipation. Insoluble fiber which does not easily break down during digestions helps in pushing food through the digestive tract which helps in speeding the digestion process. This ensures easy bowel movement and helps in keeping the digestion system quite regular.

Protects Muscles – Carbohydrates help in protecting our muscle tissues. Whenever our body needs energy, it helps itself to the glucose which is stored as glycogen. If this need is not met the body will start burning protein tissues present in muscles. Thus sufficient amount of carbohydrates are essential for higher energy levels and in preventing the muscles from breaking down.

Help in Weight Management – Carbohydrates are often said to be responsible for weight gain but this is actually not true. Carbohydrates help in controlling your weight if you have them in the right quantity. You need to select carbohydrates smartly which will help in reducing your weight. A diet rich in carbohydrates in the form of fibrous foods, fresh vegetables and fruits will certainly help in weight loss.

How to Choose Carbohydrates?
It is always recommended to select natural sources of carbohydrates and not the refined ones. Refined carbohydrates do not contribute to long term health benefits. Simple carbohydrates are always recommended for instant energy and good health.