Carbohydrates are made out of sugars and they include polysaccharides, saccharides, starches, sugars such as fructose and glucose. The word saccharide comes from the sacchararum from sugar’s sweet taste.
The carbohydrates are built up of units which can be classifieds into Monosaccharides, Disaccharides, Polysaccharides.
Monosaccharides are fructose, glucose and galactose which are referred to as single sugars which are derived from milk and agar agar which is an isomer. There are wood sugars known as arabinose, ribose, xylose and also from the celery and parsley known as apiose. Primroses and witch hazel are the sources for hamamelose. There is however not recognized pharmacological action and most are got through the metabolism of the normal processes of carbohydrates.
Disaccharides include fructose and glucose to combine into sucrose, two sugar units. There is maltose (glucose and glucose) and lactose from milk (galactose and glucose). These are generally broken into monosaccharides and some called raffinose which is found in most of the tissues in the plants causing antifreeze effect. These also make up for the roughage which is the undigested residue.
The polysaccharides are often the large-moleculed multi-sugar units. The group includes the amyloses which are made up of the glycogen, starch and carry the storage glucose molecules. The glycogen and starch are present in animals; the inulin and cellulose are present in marigolds and dandelions. The group includes components other than the units of sugar that are the galacturonic acids and glucuronic acids. The category includes mucilages, gums, pectin and hemicelluloses.
There are some significant properties that show immuno-stimulating characteristics in vitro with molecular weights in the range of twenty five thousand to half a million and recent work reveals that the number of acidic, water soluble polysaccharide molecules is on an increase. There is a lot of reference to Echinacea, the North American herb (Echinacea angustifolia), and similar constituents have been found in Eleutherococcus senticosus or the Siberian ginseng, Serenoa serrulata or saw palmetto, Baptisia tinctoria or wild indigo, Calendula officinalis or marigold flowers, Matricaria recutita or chamomile. The point is to that if these are taken orally they would be largely kept confined in the area of the gut. The polysaccharides are absorbed poorly or they are broken down in the digestive process. There is immuno-stimulation occurring in attempting to absorb.
In the plant wall, there is cellulose which are present in the form of polysaccharides and that provides part of the roughage in the diet. These are glucose molecules, the heterogeneous and hemicelluloses mixture of uronic acid and sugar. This heterogenerity and the fact that they are very difficult to characterize and isolate do not yield themselves to the research pharmacologically.
A soft portion of the stool constitutes the plant fibres. Bran is quite a problem for many bowels because of the chemical constituents in the bran. There is the hemicellulose that is present in the cereal’s softness that is beneficial and also in the vegetable fibre. They are insoluble in water and that is the reason why, they play very little role in the herbal prescription on an average.
The pectins are carbohydrates that are based on galacturonic-acid which is present in the fruits, roots and in the plant cell wall. These are produced as the protopectin which is insoluble and while in the process of ripening of fruits, these become pectins that are water soluble and also gelatinous. The same process takes place in the jam making process in the boiling water as in the stomach’s acid environment. Pectin can also be used as a healing ointment and antiseptic for deep wounds and indolent ulcers. This is a major constituent of pectin, the dietary fibre has shown that it works well and is beneficial for slowing the absorption of glucose from the gut. This helps in supporting control of the blood sugar in the pancreas. Pectin also lessens the cholesterol level in the blood stream. This is very relevant information for those suffering from cardio vascular disease. Pectin cannot be found in any quantity like the hemicelluloses for the herbal preparation. It is to be featured in tableted and capsulated prescriptions.
The seaweed gums which are laxatives to a good extent are found in the intracellular regions or in the cell walls of seaweeds and algae. They can expand when they are mixed with water. The most prominent example is agar agar which is a very good gel with concentration of water. Carrageen is a similar constituent which is derived from Irish moss. The seaweed gum is algin and this has the general properties of strontium the heavy metal in order to stop its absorption to the body. Seaweeds also play a very important part in medicine and diet and they also affect the other conditions and not just the bowels.
Functions of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are essential for our body and they have a prominent role in supporting our health and fitness. Carbohydrates constitute an important portion of our daily food and immensely facilitate in augmenting the strength of our body by means of energy generation. Precisely speaking, they are one of the three major macronutrients that work excellently to provide energy to our body – proteins and fats are two other such macronutrients.
Intake of carbohydrates can occur in dissimilar forms, for instance, as sugar, fiber, starch and others. Carbohydrates have multiple functions and this makes it further essential to include these macronutrients in our daily diet. As far as generation of energy is concerned, sugars as well as starch work as ideal fuels that make it possible for us to undertake our physical activities effectively as well as efficiently. Similarly, fibers are wonderful for sustaining the smooth functioning of the bowels. Carbohydrates are very important for the normal functioning of our body. Besides the benefits obtained directly, consumption of carbohydrates also offers us additional advantages and that is to facilitate the trouble-free ingestion of other vital nutrients. Hence, we ought to essentially look for excellent dietary sources of carbohydrates and include them in our meals.
Carbohydrates have numerous functions and some of the important ones are discussed briefly here. For instance, carbohydrates enhance the flavor as well as the appearance of foods, thereby making the preparations alluring as well as delectable. Occasionally, carbohydrates are employed in the form of sweeteners and flavours.
This essential macronutrient helps in keeping the blood glucose levels under control and also helps the body by disintegrating fatty acids into simpler substances, which helps us to avoid ketosis (build-up of surplus ketones in the body). Therefore, it is advisable that you ought to consume lots of foods that have high ‘carbs’ content. However, you also need to be careful to only include only natural carbohydrates in your diet that are also slow digesting.
As discussed earlier, carbohydrates are important as they also provide the vital fuel/ energy necessary to ensure the normal functioning of our body. Carbohydrates break down glucose into simpler compounds and they are oxidized with a view to create water and carbon dioxide (CO2). The energy generated as well as released during this process controls all the cellular functions.
In addition to adding flavor to our foods and facilitating in maintaining the stability of blood glucose levels, carbohydrates are high energy sources too. In fact, they can be described as the main source of power for all diets and when ingested in appropriate amounts, carbohydrates also supply us with the proper levels of energy. Consuming carbohydrate in excess may, however, result in undesirable mass accumulation within the body and this, in turn, may cause several severe health conditions, for instance, diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension) and others.
Among other things, carbohydrates also possess excellent anti-coagulant properties. They are effective in averting the formation of a severe type of blood clotting disorder known as intravascular clotting. When carbohydrates are broken down into simpler forms of sugar, the process releases glycoprotein as well as sugar, which makes sure that the entire process progresses smoothly.
Besides making the appropriate framework available for the system and supplying the energy required by our body to undertake all its physical functions, the sugars and the glycoprotein released during the breaking down of carbohydrates ensure they provide the blood with appropriate immunity against serious ailments and diseases. These functions of carbohydrates are attributed to the oligosaccharide characteristics of glycoprotein which guarantees as well as facilitates this process. Therefore, carbohydrates also work in the form of an antigen.
Carbohydrates are essential for fertility in women. In fact, when consumed in an augmented amount, carbohydrates have the ability to ensure women’s fertility. Although it may seem strange, carbohydrates help to regulate as well as control vital hormones, for instance, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which are essential elements of the reproductive procedure. These hormones make sure that ovulation takes place propery and also ensures a fit uterine system. In addition, FSH and LH also augment the possibilities of conceiving as well as healthy pregnancy.
In addition, carbohydrates form the vital aspects that enhance the appropriate functioning in the gastro-intestinal region. When carbohydrates are broken down into simpler sugars the process also releases lactose, which makes sure as well as supports the development of a specific type of bacteria within the intestine. This particular bacteria form helps in the unhindered circulation of B complex vitamins to the body parts that require them.
Apart from this, carbohydrates also help the system to absorb additional amounts of calcium, which, together with fiber obtained from cellulose, ensures the proper and efficient functioning of the gastro-intestinal region. They also promote peristalsis as well as the discharge of vital digestive enzymes.
Carbohydrates are also essential for the proper monitoring and regulation of the nerve tissues associated with the brain. It is worth mentioning here that only carbohydrates provide the energy required for the functioning of the brain. The energy released from the brain facilitates the thinking ability in people, in addition to taking decisions as well as surviving.
As carbohydrates are one of the three major energy sources of the body, they are vital for diminishing the chances of developing severe ailments like cancer, diabetes, and heart disorders in the future. These ailments can be avoided provided we ensure a regular and limited supply of carbohydrates to the system.
Carbohydrates function individually to provide the requisite energy to the body and make sure that all its functions are carried out without any hindrance, whatsoever. Hence, carbohydrates also allow all other vital nutrients like vitamins, proteins and fat to carry out their respective functions smoothly and carbohydrates also do not get in the way of the functioning of these essential elements. In addition, carbohydrates also ensure that the body does not use fat excessively to generate energy. In effect, this offers the appropriate balance for supplying energy only from the carbohydrates we consume, thereby, diminishing the effects of ketosis as well as preventing the development of this condition.
In fact, carbohydrates are vital for all living systems as well as living beings. Hence, carbohydrates are essential for sustaining the appropriate balance of our body, devoid of which people would not be able to last or survive. On several occasions, there has been stiff opposition against the use of carbohydrates and they have been alleged to be one of the major reasons for undesirable weight gain and accumulation of excessive glucose in our body. Carbohydrates do have some negative effects and it is possible to minimize them considerably provided we correct the way and the amount of carbohydrate consumption.
Most importantly, you should only depend on the natural source of carbohydrates and avoid all those that are prepared synthetically. In addition, you ought to consume carbohydrates in appropriate amounts daily, at the appropriate time and in a proper balance with all the other nutriments that are vital for our body, in fact, for our survival.