If any nutrient could use a little PR help, it's carbohydrates. Most of us think carbs — all carbs — are bad news. They make us gain weight. They provide unhealthy amounts of sugar that our bodies use as quick energy, but that fail to provide sustainable fuel. These facts are true when it comes to refined and processed carbs like white bread and chips. But these four anti-inflammatory carbs are different — they're supremely healthy and natural and can even help get rid of belly fat.
Beans contain a wealth of fiber, folate, protein, iron, and potassium. A small portion of beans will fill you up fast, without loading you up on calories, fat, sodium, or cholesterol. With so many varieties of beans — everything from pinto and black beans to lentils — you can eat this food every day and never get bored of it.
It contains more potassium than a banana — and the incredible nutritional benefits you get from butternut squash don’t stop there. This veggie has a ton of fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. Substitute pasta with butternut squash noodles, add a scoop of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil to dress it up, and you won’t miss carb-heavy foods for even a second.
Technically, peas are a botanical fruit — but we won’t hold that against them because they’re also incredible sources of vitamins and minerals that are otherwise difficult to find in one sweet food. A serving of peas gives you vitamin K, folate, iron, vitamin C, magnesium, copper, and fiber — which is incredibly important for flushing out toxins and waste and helping you shed belly fat.
Regular potatoes can elevate your blood sugar levels and — if your goal is to reduce belly fat — should be eaten in moderation. But sweet potatoes are different. This sweeter potato cousin has fewer carbs and calories than a regular potato and is an amazing source of vitamin A. Use sweet potatoes in dishes that require a little heft and it will add depth and sweetness without weighing you down with carbs and calories.