Carbohydrates

AzimaWellness Talks 16/2017

Carbohydrates

In our last article, we discussed  the flow of activities from the moment we go to sleep to the breakfast table. This is the easiest part to master and follow. It’s a routine that your subconscious mind will save  as your default setting if you do it repeatedly for 66 days.

We learn by repetition. To get it right, just commit to follow it for 66 days. You can use the alarm on your phone to alert you when to do any of the activities at the same time until it becomes your new normal.

The most complex part is to master what to eat. We have discussed in our previous articles that we eat to nourish the body not for enjoyment or satiety. Hunger pangs is communication from our body system that it has exhausted certain nutrients. Your response should be informed by proper knowledge of what the body require and why.

Adequate research has been done and collaborated to confirm the daily recommended average of what the body require per day. These are mainly Proteins, Fats,  Carbohydrates and Vitamins. We have already discussed Amino Acids and Vitamins in previous articles.

Join me today as we discuss carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are a group of organic compounds that include Sugars, Starches and Cellulose. These  are the major sources of energy in the diet of animals. They are formed by plants. They contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the ration of 1:2:1.

These are the fuel that keep life rolling. Carbohydrates are present in most foods that we eat from fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes and nuts. Carbohydrates come in three major groups: Monosaccharides, Polysaccharides and Disaccharides. They also include starch and maltose. We will discus each in details later.

The most common carbohydrate foods in East and Central Africa include potatoes, sweet potatoes,  whole grains ( rice, wheat, maize) beans, lentils, vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and fruits like apples, mangoes, bananas among others.

The main sources of carbohydrates are maize, wheat and rice. In Kenya, Ugali is the main staple food for the majority . In much of Africa we use maize and rice. In Europe and America they use wheat and pasta. In Asia they use rice and pasta as the main food. Other items like potatoes, bananas, cassava and other tubers are consumed as alternative diet to the majors.

Ugali and bread are made from either refined or whole meal flour.  Before maize was introduced in our region, we used to make ugali with unga from finger millet flour, cassava or other tubers. These are still made but in very small quantities.

The carbohydrates are prepared and served with vegetables which give the body vitamins, proteins and fats to make a balanced diet.

Carbohydrates are basically sugars that are broken down in the body to glucose. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain, muscles, organs and body cells.

There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. The more refined a carbohydrate is, the more quickly it is absorbed, converted to glucose and released to the blood stream. This can cause peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels and results in variable energy levels. Subjecting the body to constant spikes and crashing of sugar levels leads to onset of diabetes type 2.

One of the carbohydrate we abuse is sugar because it is sweet. Sugar comes in many forms.

Almost all carbohydrates contains a form of sugar. We have simple and complex sugar . Refined or simple sugars should form at most 10% of our daily carbohydrates intake. The other should come from complex carbohydrates such as those found in starchy foods like ugali, chapatti, bread, rice, whole grains, pasta and oats. These release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream providing more stable and sustainable energy levels to the body.

They also provide fibre which is crucial  for digestion and waste elimination. It is advisable to limit or avoid refined maize/wheat meal and choose whole grain. Similarly, go for brown rice not the refined one which is deficient of fibre.

We are what we eat and do after we eat. The amount of calories we consume should not exceed the energy we use in a day.  If we eat more than the body consume to generate energy, the excess is converted to fat and stored. This is how we put on weight. A lot of health complications are directly connected to excess weight.

Similarly, if you eat less than you are burning , you deny your body the building blocks for muscles and  become weak. If you eat food that is deficient of required nutrients- (empty calories) you become malnourished. These conditions lead to poor health and all manner of opportunistic infections sets in.

Carbohydrates  are prepared by boiling, baking or frying with fat. The modern way is to fry the food with all manner of fats most of which are unhealthy. Ugali may be a healthy meal but it is escorted with animal products like meat most of which has a lot of fat.

Animals are produced using  antibiotics and hormonal drugs which affect human beings. Most farmers do not observe the withdrawal period for drugs. Vegetables are also grown with chemicals that affect human beings. Preparation of food with fat is a source of health concern. Most cooking fat in use contribute to current health complications Choose what you use wisely and use it in the right way.  To be continued…..

With profound regards,
Maina  Azimio
Founder and CEO
Azima Wellness Consultants LTD
Conference Speaker & Corporate Trainer in Total Wellness

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