A carbohydrate is one of the three key macro-nutrients from which your body obtains food energy. Carbohydrates are separable into two main groups: simple and complex. A complex carbohydrate is one that contains multiple sugars, while simple carbohydrates contain one or two sugars. While your body is not able to digest some complex carbohydrates, there are a range of complex carbohydrates which it can.
Whole grains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, according to Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health. Foods such as brown rice, bulgar, millet, wild rice, quinoa, whole oats or oatmeal, whole-grain corn and whole wheat are ideal complex carbohydrates. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that at least half of your daily grains should be whole grains.
Legumes are also a good source of complex carbohydrates. Legumes include lima beans, black beans, lentils, soy bean products, peanuts and other beans. Legumes are also a good source of protein, another macro-nutrient typically found in meats, fish and poultry, but one which isn't often found in foods that contain complex carbohydrates.
While vegetables contain fiber, a form of indigestible complex carbohydrate, they also contain starches, a form of carbohydrate you can digest. Vegetables such as potatoes, corn, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes contain digestible starch. Some fruits, such as bananas, also contain starch in addition to their fiber content.
Fruits and Vegetables
While fruits and vegetables contain simple carbohydrates such as fructose, they also contain fiber, a complex carbohydrate. Though you cannot digest fiber, it plays an important part of your digestive process. Regularly eating fruits and vegetables is key to maintaining good health, as fiber helps you regulate your digestive processes and lowers your risk of developing medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and diverticulitis, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
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