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6 Incredible Clean Carbs Sources That Build Muscle and Improve Performance

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Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your brain, body, and overall athletic performance, but not all carbs are created equal. Clean carbohydrate sources, aka complex carbohydrates, provide the long-lasting, sustained energy you need for prolonged workouts, such as running, cycling, and high-intensity functional training. They also help you build more muscle and optimize workout recovery. The question is, what carbohydrates are best for building mass, optimizing body composition, and improving performance?

The Problem with Simple Carbs

Chances are you’ve had a snack or chugged a sugary carb drink before a workout or run and found yourself gassed-out midway through your training. Simple carbohydrates and supplements such as maltodextrin, dextrose, and cyclic dextrin spike your insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar, leaving you feeling fatigued and lethargic.

Most people, athletes included, will have some kind of simple carbs an hour or two before their training session to get that midday pick-me-up. This stokes a vicious cycle that we call the blood sugar roller coaster.

After you finish your pre-workout snack, your body is flooded with carbohydrates, resulting in a short boost of energy, followed by a devastating crash and burn. Your body releases the hormone insulin to regulate the amount of sugar, or glucose, in your bloodstream. Insulin sends the sugar out of your blood into the liver and muscle and stores it as body fat, resulting in low blood sugar, which translates to low energy.

As a result, you have mood swings, feel hungry all the time, and/or become fatigued and have low energy. Maintaining steady insulin and blood sugar levels depends on the type of carbohydrates you consume. When you hear that certain carbs are “high on the glycemic index,” it means that they will spike blood sugar and insulin more quickly than other types of carbohydrates.

You Need Complex Carbs

Complex carbs digest much more slowly than simple carbs, due to their longer-chain molecular structure. Complex carbs are also made of sugars, but they do not spike blood insulin; they keep your blood glucose stable and provide a sustained energy release. These types of carbohydrates work best for prolonged training, improving endurance, building more muscle, and optimizing body composition. Complex carbs slow the absorption of sugar, slowing digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. There’s no blood sugar roller coaster with complex carbs.

Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bread, and oats.

What are the best clean carbs for building more muscle and performance?

1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have naturally occurring sugars and are full of dietary fiber and micronutrients. They are chock-full of vitamin B6, which can help maintain brain health, improving mood and energy levels. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which can help with immune health and eye health.

2. Yams

Nutritionally, yams resemble sweet potatoes. Both are low on the glycemic index, making them good choices for long-lasting, sustained energy without spiking blood sugar. Yams, however, have a higher vitamin C content than sweet potatoes but not nearly as much vitamin A.

3. Oats

Oats are an amazing source of complex carbohydrates and protein that can help build more muscle and optimize body composition. Oats are classified as a soluble fiber, which can help suppress appetite and slow digestion. Several studies have shown that oats can also protect against heart disease, reduce chronic inflammation, improve gut flora, help with inflammatory bowel disease, and provide sustained energy.[1-4]

4. Clean Carbs

Swolverine’s Clean Carbs is different from other carbohydrate supplements. Other products use maltodextrin, dextrose, and simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, creating more body fat and giving you an energy crash.[5] Clean Carbs is made with 100 percent natural whole foods from pure complex carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, yams, and oats. Research indicates that your body burns rapidly through glycogen stores during high-intensity functional training, resistance training, and endurance workouts. Replacing glycogen after strenuous exercise is vital for optimal performance and faster recovery.[5]

5. Brown Rice

Brown rice is another great clean carb for mass building and weight management. Whether you’re shredding down or looking to increase size, brown rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates and will sustain a low insulin release for longer-lasting energy. Although similar, white rice is stripped of most of its nutrients and will trigger a blood sugar spike, as opposed to stable glucose levels.

Brown Rice

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the only plant-based carbs that is considered a complete protein. With all the essential amino acids present, in addition to micronutrients such as manganese, magnesium, and iron, quinoa is a great clean carb source for athletes.

References
  1. Chappell, A. J., Simper, T., & Barker, M. E. (2018). Nutritional strategies of high level natural bodybuilders during competition preparation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 4.
  2. Rebello, C.J., Johnson, W.D., Martin, C.K., Xie, W., O’Shea, M., Kurilich, A., Bordenave, N., Andler, S., Klinken, B.J.W.V., Chu, Y.F. and Greenway, F.L. (2013). Acute effect of oatmeal on subjective measures of appetite and satiety compared to a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(4), 272-9.
  3. Valeur, J., Puaschitz, N. G., Midtvedt, T., & Berstad, A. (2016). Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(1), 62-67.
  4. Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods-a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(2), 662-675.
  5. Alghannam, A. F., Gonzalez, J. T., & Betts, J. A., (2018). Restoration of muscle glycogen and functional capacity: role of post-exercise carbohydrate and protein co-ingestion. Nutrients, 10(2), 253.

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NUTRITION

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

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Yes, your dishwasher is made for washing dishes, but what happens to all the bits of food and other grime that get washed away? Sadly, they don’t magically disappear. Just like the sink, giving your dishwasher a good cleaning keeps it from being a deceptively dirty spot, and should also stop it from developing any smells which can transfer to your (otherwise clean) dishes. This cleaning solution uses natural ingredients and is complete after a single dishwasher cycle with absolutely no scrubbing.

  1. Empty your dishwasher, and remove or pull out the lower dish rack as far as possible. Locate the drain, and clean around it, removing the filter and thoroughly washing. Check all the spinning arms, and clear holes of debris or buildup with a paper towel.

  1. Place 250ml of plain white distilled vinegar in a container on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Now pour 100g of bicarbonate of soda into a small dish and place it on the top rack, or swap for two dishwasher-cleaning bombs.

  1. Run the dishwasher, and let the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda work their magic. Vinegar is naturally antibacterial, breaking up buildup while cleaning. Bicarbonate of soda helps break up limescale caused by hard water, and works together with the vinegar to deep clean the inside of your dishwasher.
  2. Once the dishwasher has run through the cycle, let it sit closed for 20 minutes and continue to steam clean. Now open the dishwasher, and wipe the inside with a kitchen towel or soft sponge. Along with being shiny clean, your dishwasher will work wonders on your dishes!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sarah Lipoff



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How to Keep Your Bathroom Clean

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I’ll start with a confession: I have a cleaning lady. She comes every other week and has me thanking my lucky stars, because with four kids, I so need the help. In between her visits, the house stays relatively clean except for the floors and the bathroom sinks. Within hours (sometimes minutes) of my cleaning lady leaving, the sinks get gross. They’re caked with toothpaste residue, soap scum, and hair. Since we have hard water where we live, the sinks and bathroom counter tops are even more difficult to keep clean. It’s so frustrating. And for me, nasty sinks can make me feel like my whole house is a mess, probably because we use the sinks so much and I’m constantly looking at how dirty they are.

I don’t have time to do a full cleaning of our bathrooms every day. Nor do I feel like lugging a big bottle of bathroom cleaner and a sponge from bathroom to bathroom. I used to wipe around the sink with a towel after I’d use any of the bathrooms, but it was hardly enough to do more than a surface clean, and the inside of the sink basins were still icky. So I had an idea to keep a small bottle of bathroom cleaner under every sink in the house so I could basically clean the sinks on demand. I’ve since found that Clorox or Lysol cleaning wipes actually work best, because you can buy them in bulk, and there’s no sponge involved.

Now, once a day I’ll just quickly wipe up the sink basin, tap, and counter top. It takes less than a minute per bathroom, but I really feel like taking that time has made a big difference in how I feel about the cleanliness of my home. Walking into a bathroom with a clean sink just makes me happy.

The best part about this simple cleaning hack is everyone in our house can do it. So, here’s hoping you’ll try this hack and feel just a little bit better about the state of your house, too. I’m telling you: little effort will equal a big reward, especially when a friend stops by unannounced and asks to use your bathroom!



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