Today’s class was all kinds of special. We got to welcome Salima into the spotlight as our guest nutritionist – who better to elaborate on the importance of complex carbs and the role they play in our energy supply! We also received several new team members into the Cook Together kitchen and celebrated two birthdays…lucky for me there is a little leftover prosecco.
Did you know that your fuel for physical activity mainly comes from carbohydrates? But there are two types of carbohydrates you should be aware of – complex and refined. Our bodies process these two different energies in different ways, so it’s important to understand how they work.
Complex Carbohydrates come from whole foods like whole-grain flours, quinoa, nuts, starchy vegetables and even seeds – these foods are fiber rich and extremely high in vitamins and minerals.
Refined Carbohydrates come from processed food such as white flour, sugar, chips, cereals and other fast foods. These refined carbohydrates provide minimum nutrition value while increasing your caloric intake.
Complex carbohydrates are important for us all, especially for the highly active like endurance athletes, these nutrient-dense carbs are digested slowly allowing our system to absorb the maximum amount nutrition and useable caloric energy. This Cook Together emphasizes vegetables that are high in complex carbohydrates like parsnips, beets, potatoes, carrots and squash. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Sprouted and whole grains, which are enzyme-rich and more digestible, are also a great source for long-burning energy.
When your energy dips, it’s tempting to reach for junk food, like sugary drinks, chips or processed snack bars, consider instead an apple, carrots or nuts – and drink plenty of water! Think about your energy in a 24-hour cycle, fueling the body with nutrient dense, fresh foods throughout the day to maximize energy efficiency all day long.
Be mindful of what you eat and nourish yourself!
Licorice root – Licorice root has immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties from its glycyrrhizic acid. It is used to soothe gastrointestinal problems, can speed the repair of stomach lining and restore balance in the gut. It can also help the body produce healthy phlegm to keep the respiratory system functioning. Licorice root can also help reduce stress by supporting the adrenal glands by promoting a healthy level of cortisol in the body. (https://www.healthline.com/health/licorice-the-sweet-root )
Ginger – Ginger is used so widely in Ayurveda that it is an entire medicine chest in itself. There is an ayurvedic sutra (verse) that says that everyone should eat fresh ginger just before lunch and dinner to enhance digestion. Not only does ginger stoke the digestive fire, but it also whets the appetite, improves assimilation and transportation of nutrients to targeted body tissues, and clears the microcirculatory channels of the body. (http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/food-tips/the-healing-power-of-ginger.html )
Peppermint – Peppermint is able to provide relief from stress, depression, and mental exhaustion due to its refreshing nature. It is also effective against anxiety and restlessness. Furthermore, it stimulates mental activity, clears the mind, and boosts cognition. (https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-peppermint-oil.html )
Orange – Orange peels are rich in flavonoids, like hesperidin and polymethoxyflavones (PMFs), and other phytochemicals, which contribute many of their health benefits. Orange peel also contains considerable amounts of calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin A, folate and other B vitamins and dietary fiber. Orange peel contains higher amounts of certain nutrients, like vitamin C, than its flesh. (https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/11/orange-peel.aspx )
Ashwaganda – Emotional, physical, and chemical stress can all have damaging effects to the brain and nervous system. Recent research has proven ashwagandha is more than a stress reliever, it also protects the brain from degeneration and improves symptoms of alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety. Studies have shown that ashwagandha can boost endurance during physical activity by sharpening brain function and reducing bodily pain. Due to its positive calming, energizing, effects on the brain and ability to lower stress hormones, ashwagandha showed improvements in concentration, motivation, and stamina in conducted studies. (https://draxe.com/ashwagandha-proven-to-heal-thyroid-and-adrenals/)