WHAT ARE CARBOHYDRATES?
Carbohydrates, commonly known as carbs, are a source of energy. These are made of sugar, starch, and fiber. Carbohydrates are one of the essential nutrients required by the human body. They are converted into glucose so that energy can be provided to the body.
There are three types of carbohydrates: sugar, fiber, and starch.
Complex carbs are found in starchy food and whole-grain food. Whereas, simple carbs are found in the form of sugar. Fruit, milk, and vegetables can serve as natural sugar. Sugar that can be harmful and known as added sugar can be found in sugary drinks, sweets, and processed food.
Carbohydrates are broken down into either glucose or blood sugar. Glucose is then converted into a source of energy and used by the human body. Consumption of a high-carb diet can raise blood sugar levels in the body and thus, result in diabetes or other health diseases. A low-carb diet can also cause health diseases therefore one should try to have a balanced diet.
BENEFITS OF CARBOHYDRATES
Since carbohydrates are a source of energy, they act as fuel in the functioning of several internal parts of the body like the brain, kidneys, nervous system, and more. Fiber is a rich source of carbohydrates. Food rich in fiber has several benefits. It helps in better digestion, keeps one full for a long time. Also, it helps in maintaining blood cholesterol levels of the body. One should select the carbohydrates wisely. Carbs that are rich in nutrients should be taken by a person so that one gets all the benefits out of them.
Food items like fruits and vegetables, starchy food, whole-grain foods, legumes, and milk products, contain around 12 grams of carbohydrates or even more per serving. Whereas, food items like non-starchy foods such as vegetables, seeds, and nuts, soya milk, contain carbohydrates about 10 grams or less per serving.
CONSUMPTION OF CARBOHYDRATES DURING PREGNANCY
Having control over blood sugar and glucose level is crucial, especially when a lady is pregnant . This phase of life is exciting but a pregnant woman needs to be more conscious and should keep a count of the food that is consumed at this time to make sure that it is beneficial. Pregnant ladies must keep track of daily carbohydrate consumption so that they can manage their pregnancy well.
Maintaining a healthy balanced and nutritious diet helps to keep both mother and baby healthy. A pregnant lady must include a variety of food in her diet, and should eat in moderation.
Pregnant women must consume carbohydrates in the form of whole grains . Carbs should not be taken in small quantities but must be divided into small portions and that portions can consist of about 9- 11 servings. A better way for managing carbs can be had by reading the nutritional facts of each product one buys . Also, a food tracker can be installed on the phone, which tracks meals for the whole day and tells one as to how much nutrition one is consuming in a day.
For the maintenance of better carb and healthy diet, one can consult a dietician and get a particular diet chart for oneself. Women should not cut their carbs intake during pregnancy nor go on a low-carb diet or dieting. Inappropriate diet or dieting can harm the baby’s growth. Due to a low-carb diet, the weight of the baby might fall which can make the baby weak.
Corns, potatoes, pasta, rice, sweet potatoes, all the starchy food can be consumed by a pregnant lady . All food items should be consumed in moderation. Food like milk, yogurt, kidney beans, contains carbohydrates in small quantities.
All this food should be a part of daily diet plan as it is nutritious. It is rich in fiber as well as vitamins, especially rich in vitamin C which is good for the healthy growth of the baby.
When a lady conceives a baby, it is necessary to increase the calorie count. A pregnant lady should add 200-300 more calories to the diet. If a pregnant lady is carrying twins then there is a need to increase the calorie count a little more. One can take suggestions from a doctor or a dietician.
Intake of protein is very important during the pregnancy as protein helps in the better growth of the baby. Protein helps to maintain the muscle mass and the body tissues. Meat, chicken, milk, yogurt, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, soy products are good sources of protein. Along with taking proteins, a physical workout is also important for the body. One should take proteins according to the physical workout in a day or as suggested by the doctor. Protein intake helps to provide essential amino acids to the body .
Calcium is necessary for women at any stage of life, especially when pregnant. It helps in developing the bones and making them strong. Women should include calcium-rich food in the diet and consume calcium daily. Even if one is unable to consume calcium in ones diet then one should take a calcium supplement. Milk, cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, peas, seeds, and nuts are good sources of protein. Pregnant women are advised not to consume raw milk.
Thus, there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. It depends upon an individual to choose the right carbohydrates. Each food rich in carbohydrates has its benefits. Carbohydrates that provide nutrition should be included in diet and carbohydrates that harm the body or deposit only fats in the body should be avoided. Inculcating a good habit of following a healthy diet or getting a personalized diet plan from a dietician goes a long way in helping to remain fit. Pregnant women must eat food that includes carbs, vitamins, minerals, and fiber and avoid food that contains added sugar.