5 Best Carbs for Athletes

Carbohydrates yield the quickest energy production in the body. However, choosing the best food sources can be a challenge. Athletes need to consume more carbs than the average person to properly fuel and recover.  

In addition, active individuals look for foods that help promote overall health and well-being, to keep them feeling good enough to enjoy their sport. When it comes to comparing foods, it's important to look at the total nutrient composition. For example:  

  • What does this food have to offer?
  • What does it contain besides its carbohydrate content?

More: Are You Eating Enough Carbs?

Here is a list of minimally or unprocessed foods that you are able to find in the perimeter of your local grocery store:

1. Sweet Potatoes

The bright orange color of these root vegetables is a visual cue that they are an abundant source of the high-powered antioxidant, vitamin A. They also are a great source of potassium to help soothe sore muscles and maintain the right amount of fluids in the body. One cup provides 27g of carbs, 4g of which are fiber.

More: Why Are Carbs Important?

2. Oats

This breakfast staple has been promoted as a "heart-healthy" food due to its high soluble fiber and low saturated fat content, both of which have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.

Besides keeping your ticker kicking, the magnesium found in oats helps to maintain nerve and muscle function and is involved in over 300 metabolic reactions in the body. One 1/2 cup of dry oats provides 27g of carbs.

More: A Smarter Way to Carbo-Load

3. Wild Rice

Going a little wild on your rice gives you an edge over the commonly hyped brown rice. Wild rice has the added bang for your calorie buck by providing 6g of protein and double the amount of fiber (3g) for 35 less calories than brown rice per 1 cup serving.

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