Complex carbohydrate is a macronutrient made up of larger molecules of sugars (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides) found in foods such as flours, legumes, vegetables or fruits, among others.

Carbohydrates are a fundamental nutrient for the proper functioning of the body and the brain, as explained by the MedlinePlus website of the National Library of Medicine of the United States. Carbohydrates, simple or complex, are transformed into glucose and are one of the main energy sources for the body.

Carbohydrates should be present in all diets, as it is recommended that between 45% and 65% of the calories we eat per day come from this macronutrient. However, it is advisable that most of the carbohydrates eaten come from complex carbohydrates and natural sugars instead of processed and refined sugars.

Complex carbohydrates take longer to convert into glucose and be assimilated by the body, so blood sugar levels do not increase as quickly as when simple carbohydrates are eaten.

Foods containing this macronutrient include the following:

  • Vegetables: Some examples are spinach, artichokes, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, or chard.
  • Legumes: Examples include lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans, or soybeans.
  • Tubers: like potatoes.
  • Fruits: such as bananas, pears, figs or plums.
  • Whole-grain flours: such as corn, oat, or wheat, especially whole-grain flours.
  • Breads and pastas: only those made from wholemeal flours.
  • Dried fruits: such as almonds, nuts, hazelnuts, raisins or pistachios.
  • Dairy products: such as some cheeses, yogurt and skimmed milk.
  • Seafood: such as mussels or oysters and most edible bivalves


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