Healthy Carbs for Your Six Pack
Carbohydrates, carbs, have had a bad press over recent years. Because of their overuse in low budget processed food they have shouldered the blame for the growing obesity crisis and the corresponding sharp rise in worldwide diabetes. When health-conscious people strive to cut down on carbs, they forget our bodies actually need them.
When we digest carbohydrates they are converted into complex sugars and into energy and thereby lies the problem. Whilst we need carbs to fuel our brains, kidneys, heart, digestive and central nervous systems as well as, amongst other things, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, we need the right carbs as part of a balanced healthy diet. When consumed in the right way and in the right amount, carbs can actually help you keep your six-pack on track. Here are some foods packed with friendly carbs that are perfect for boosting energy levels and building muscle and keeping your whole body working at maximum efficiency.
Barley is one of the most popular carbohydrates known for its health benefits and its key role in retaining energy and boosting metabolism. It’s a fiber-rich grain and it’s the fibrous bulk that keeps you feeling full since it takes a while for it to be digested. It a good choice if you want to avoid unhealthy snacking and sugar cravings which is where the bad carbs tend to lurk. Like any fiber-packed food, it keeps your gut moving and clear and comes with the added benefit of being a natural immune booster.
There are various other health benefits of barley besides helping you in getting rid of belly fat and attaining six pack abs. Barley is also one of a small collection of foods proven to be beneficial in controlling bad cholesterol by binding to the lipids and blocking its absorption.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Whole wheat pasta or brown pasta is another healthy carb option. It is made up of three parts of grains, the outer fibrous bran, the nutrient-rich germ and the starchy energy packed endosperm. As with barley, the fiber keeps you feeling fuller for longer. You can go super healthy and give you body a pre-workout boost by pairing your whole wheat pasta with other healthy carbs like chickpeas and lentils.
Lentils not only contain proteins but also provide a sufficient amount of natural carbohydrates to your body. They organically contain nutrients like molybdenum, folate, fiber, manganese, and iron. Lentils are a centuries-old staple food in many countries because they are such a great source of energy and provide the body with almost all of its essential minerals. Lentils prevent your body from bloating with its gut beneficial dietary fibers and helps in regaining energy fast after a workout.
Acorn squash is a naturally sweet vegetable which fulfills around 30 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C and of course, dietary fiber. It assists in boosting the body’s metabolism to aids burning fats faster during exercise and workout. Acorn squash is a very nourishing veggie helping with muscle growth and repair as well as aiding the circulatory, immune and central nervous systems.
Legumes are a collection of four magic ingredients, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and beans, which trigger a fat reduction process in your body. It mainly targets belly fat and gives you flat tummy if a regular part of a diet. It takes at least four servings week of legumes to achieve the benefits. This fiber-rich carb diet improves cholesterol levels and plays a role in regulating blood pressure. It increases metabolism to help in weight control and assists in building muscles particularly the abs. When combined with workouts with ab machines it gives best results.
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread is another ally in your clean eating regime and fitness journey. It is the best replacement for processed white bread, which contains a high amount of fructose and significantly less nutrition and fiber. It contains all three parts of the grain and is rich in fiber that aids digestion and promotes regular and thorough bowel movements. It’s not to be confused with processed brown bread, which does not have the benefit of the whole grain. Insist on whole grain and do not get duped into thinking a loaf is good for you just because it has a brown color and is topped with a few seeds.
Quinoa is a recognized superfood, and it is so carbohydrate-rich that it even tops the whole-wheat grains and pastas. One typical serving provides 36 percent of your daily needed carbs. It is digested very slowly and which is how it helps burn fats. Quinoa is also a great source of whole proteins and it contains a high amount of amino acids including lysine. This protein component is ideal for developing muscles especially along the abdominal cavity and is essential for developing six packs and abs. Unlike other sources of whole proteins, like meat and dairy, quinoa is easy to digest.
Low-fat chocolate milk is an ideal source of boosting energy before and after a workout. It is a whey protein enriched drink that speeds up the metabolism and helps in muscle building. One serving of chocolate milk contains approximately 8 grams of active whey protein. You have to consider that our recommended daily intake of proteins is up to 20 grams for building strong muscles and abs, which means that you can take 2 to 3 servings of chocolate milk daily. Consuming chocolate milk as your first drink in the morning will help kickstart your metabolism and keep you energized throughout the day.
Sweet potato is another sweet vegetable full of carbohydrates and packed with fiber. It is considered the king of slow digesting carbohydrates for burning fats and boosting metabolism. It contains carotenoids and antioxidants which help regulates blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance and fat deposition in your body. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins A, C, and B6 which further boosts your energy level and immune system.
TEFF is a nutty whole grain meal rich in carbohydrates and proteins. It contains whole proteins with fiber and vitamins. What distinguishes it from other carbs is that it’s iron and calcium-rich. It is a great source of energy and is ideal for building muscles as well as contributing to the bone strength and overall immunity.
Other Foods to Help You Build Lean Muscle
When your goal is to gain more muscle while keeping your abs flat, you need to stick to a right combination of physical exercise and nutrition. Along with eating the right types of abs, you can also include some other foods in your diet that will help you build lean muscle. For instance:
- Eggs: Thanks to their high protein content and healthy fats, eggs can always find their way in a healthy diet plan. They are also high in choline, B-vitamins, and amino acids that promote muscle gain.
- Salmon: You get about 17g of protein along with 2g of omega3 fatty acids from a 3-ounce serving of salmon, and it is enough to promote muscle building and overall health.
- Greek Yogurt: The combination of slow-digesting casein protein and fast-digesting protein is the reason why Greek yogurt is extremely beneficial for muscle building. It keeps you fuller for long and saves you from eating additional calories, which in turn will help maintain your six packs.
- Shrimps: Even though shrimps contain no carbs and very little fat, they are extremely rich in protein with every 3-ounce serving offering 18g of high-quality protein, which is going to promote lean muscle mass. It also contains leucine, an amino acid, which is essential for optimal muscle growth.
- Turkey Breast: When you want to gain muscle without having to worry about eating bad carbs, you can opt for turkey break, as a 3-ounce serving contains a whooping 25g of protein with no carbs or fat. You will also get niacin from each serving that facilitates the process of digesting carbs and fats to help you have lean muscle.
- Scallops: When your goal is to load up on protein without having to increase your intake of fat, you can trust scallops. A 3-ounce serving of scallops is enough to get 20g of protein. This low-calorie food option works great for people interested in gaining muscle without getting that dreaded belly fat.
The fact of the matter is that both physical activity and nutrition are important if you are interested in gaining lean muscle and maintaining your six-pack abs. You have to challenge your body through strenuous workouts, but you can perform those workouts only when you have enough energy, and that is when you have to think of including enough of right types of carbs in your diet. Keep in mind that without good nutritional support, you cannot gain muscle and your progress will stall big time. So, don’t just throw carbs out of your diet declaring they are bad; look for the right types of carbs to get the best results.