Dr. Piazza’s 6 Best Carbs for Your 6-Pack Abs

I used to eat a low-carb high-protein diet.

I restricted my dietary intake, missing out on the nutritionally satisfying meals that are abundant in the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that my body craved and benefited most from. With adding these carbs, I’m leaner and more toned now than I ever have been before. My personal experience, and the nutritional impact of these foods is why I’m sharing this list with you today. 

The carbs in this list are highly digestible, nutrient dense, and a great source for sustained energy. Don’t cut out carbs, reassess them, and incorporate the best choices to make the most of your diet.

 

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1. Organic Fruit

As I’ve recommended in my previous blogs, it’s best to eat fruit alone, and early in the day. Doing so helps increase your chance of swift digestion, clearing a path for the more dense foods you eat as the day goes by. This aids in the building of your abs through muscle repair provided by nutrients in fruits. 

Some fruits, like apples, plums, blueberries, and cranberries are high in ursolic acid, a nutrient that helps by enhancing your hormones to secrete insulin that increases muscle weight (while keeping overall weight down). It helps reduce the chances of muscle atrophy, and has been tested exclusively in its ability to do so. Muscle atrophy is the decrease or wasting away of muscle due to malnutrition and aging. The best way to prevent this is through exercise and a high intake of whole, raw foods, like fruits and vegetables.

Studies by the University of Michigan’s Dr. Seymour involved rats who ate a diet high in blueberries, and found that they lost fat in their abdominal region. Other improvements involved glucose control, and a lessened risk for heart disease. This is because fruits high in anthocyanins, like blueberries, can alter how your body stores and digests sugar.

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2. Lentils

Lentils are a powerhouse carbohydrate, since they are filled with molybdenum, folate, fiber, manganese, iron and protein, among many other nutrients. Rather than being fortified, lentils are naturally consisting of these nutrients, ensuring that your intake is naturally plant-based.

By presenting nutrients that all work in tandem in your body to bring cell nutrition to your organs, lentils are a quick way to get everything you need, when you need it. Lentils contain virtually no fat, which is perfect for a post-workout dinner. The dietary fiber in lentils carries out waste that can bloat you after a meal. Your abs will be more pronounced when you incorporate this food into your diet.

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3. Quinoa

This is another food I’ve mentioned in the past that can act as a terrific alternative to commonly consumed carbs devoid of nutrients. One cup of quinoa provides 36% of your recommended daily carbohydrates. Because these carbs are digested slower than “empty” carbs, like that in white rice, white bread, and white pasta, you have more energy to burn throughout the day.

Quinoa is a super food, and while high in carbohydrates, it is also considered a “whole” protein, although it is not from animal origin. It is a food high in amino-acids, including lysine, an essential component of protein in the body. If you are looking to define abdominal muscles, you will need this specific kind of protein to do so. Quinoa doesn’t have all of the setbacks of dairy and meat, which is known to back up digestion, and it is even more effective in helping grow muscle.

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4. Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are created when you steam oat groats and roll them out to be flat. By doing this, the natural oils in the oats are preserved, yet easier to cook. Oat groats, although equally as healthy, take quite a long time to cook. I like to eat rolled oats after I’ve had my fruit in the morning, making digestion easier. Avoid instant oats at all costs; they have a higher glycemic index than natural rolled oats, and can spike your blood sugar levels. I like natural, raw, rolled oats like that provided by Blue Mountain Organics.

What is special about this brand of oats is that they maintain their concentrated nutritional value since they’ve never been steamed or exposed to high temperatures. Eating oats can lower your cholesterol, help you maintain a stable sugar level, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and even boost your immune system!

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5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a wonderful alternative to potatoes, especially because they contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. They are a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidantsThese vegetables are “stem tubers,” or tuberous roots,” organisms that utilize storage organs to make them reoccur annually. In doing, so these vegetables store a greater source of the vitamins and nutrients that we extract during digestion. 

Sweet potatoes are the highest among other root-vegetables in beta-carotene, which is a high-antioxidant compound. Due to that, you will have better acute eye-sight, glowing skin, and be protected from lung and oral cancers. Pantothenic acid, B-6, B-1, niacin and riboflavin are all included in sweet potatoes, and are essential vitamins found only in outside sources that your body needs to replenish itself. It’s a great starch to eat if you’re prepping to do a high intensity workout.

 

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6. Sprouted Bread and Pasta

Sprouted bread consists of grains that have been partially grown (or “sprouted”). For this to happen, the sprout must digest some starch inside of the seed for fuel in order to shoot out of its shell, making the overall grain lower in starch. This means the bread it will eventually be cooked into is higher in protein than your typical loaf. Sprouting also neutralizes phytic acid, something known to prevent minerals from absorption, making digestion easier.

Due to having a lower glycemic index than regular breads, your blood sugar levels will be better controlled when you switch over to sprouted grains. With more protein in this bread, you will have greater amino-acids working on repair and assimilation.

There are also several different kinds of pasta that you can eat which are gluten-free, and easily digestible, like those made of brown rice, sprouted grains, and quinoa. This kind of pasta tastes virtually the same as processed pasta, with the exception of their nutritional value. I’ve covered the benefits of eating alternative pasta extensively in other blog posts (see: Dr. Piazza’s Healthy Pantry Makeover), but it’s worth noting again that both brown rice, sprouted grains, and quinoa are high in a myriad of nutrients, including, but not limited to fiber and iron.

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The key to that coveted 6-pack, and really the overall building of muscle mass, is digestion. You have to select carbohydrates that will further enable the digestive process begun with vegetables. Doing so takes energy away from having to process foods, and focuses it on building the muscle definition that you want to see– especially in your abdominal area. Food is fuel. What you put into your body will show through your features, like muscle definition, skin color, and tightness.