JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Many people worry about what carbohydrates can do to their waistline, but there are unhealthy carbs and then there are healthy carbs.

Unhealthy carbs, like pasta and processed snacks, can raise blood sugar and can lead to weight gain and inflammation linked to various diseases, but healthy carbs, also called resistant carbs, are actually good for your overall health.

Starchy vegetables and whole grains could actually be good for you. Healthy carbs can help prevent colon cancer by sweeping away toxins. They also promote healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. Eating a plant-based diet could cut colon cancer risk by 50 percent.

They can also reduce the risk of diabetes. They don’t convert directly into sugar, so they prevent dramatic blood sugar spikes and protect the pancreas from overproducing insulin.

When choosing healthy carbs, stick to the three Bs: barley, beans, and whole-wheat bread. They have more fiber than other starches and trigger less glucose breakdown.

To reap all the disease fighting benefits, Gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan recommends under-cooking whole-wheat pasta. When pasta is firm, digestive enzymes in the gut take longer to break down the starch into sugars, so sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream and will cause less insulin release, making it easier to prevent weight gain.

Also, let your food cool. By cooling healthy carbs, you increase their nutritional value and make them even more powerful.