Oh carbohydrates, we have such a love hate relationship with you. We know that there’s a whole laundry list of bad refined carbs, and healthy complex carbs, but what about starch?! Have you ever heard of resistance starch? Not only does it fall into the healthy carbohydrate category, it is a stellar ingredient for gut-health, and it’s found in a whole variety of foods. To help keep up my own gut health and digestion, I make sure that I’m eating foods that contain resistance starch every day.
What is resistance starch?
Resistance starch is a powerhouse to help with our digestion. I know that digestion is an uber common complaint from readers and women when it comes to how they want to feel. Resistance starch is an insoluble dietary fiber that stays undigested once consumed until it reaches its way to our large intestine. Once it makes its way to our large intestine, that’s where the magic happens. Resistance starch is also a prebiotic, which feeds and fuels our good bacteria in our digestive tract (large intestine) and provides nourishment for the probiotics that are present. Because resistance starch ferments as it makes its way to our large intestine, it creates nourishing sources for our gut.
There are various types of resistance starch that come from different food sources and they are categorized into four types. The first type is starch that is found inside pant cell walls such as legumes, seeds and grains, and digestive enzymes can’t reach this type of starch. The other types of starch are modified when foods are cooked or cooled – but all of them resist being broken down or digested in the small intestine.
An interesting thing to note though, is that resistance starch found in foods can be destroyed when the food is cooked. BUT the levels can be brought back up if the cooked food is then cooled off in the refrigerator.
What digestive health benefits can I get from resistance starch?
Gut health: As mentioned above, resistance starch can nourish your gut to maintain or create a healthy microbiome. It feeds the probiotics in your gut, thus balancing out your healthy bacteria levels. For those that experience “leaky gut”, which can lead to inflammatory issues, eating resistance starch helps the function of our intestines. It also helps with insulin sensitivity which prevents weight gain or even obesity.
Assist with healthy weight loss: Consuming resistant starch can also help minimize obesity by keeping your gut microbiome in check and preventing blood sugar spikes (which can lead to weight gain). It helps keep you feeling fuller longer, and also helps your digestive system absorb nutrients like zinc, iron and calcium. It has also been linked to helping reduce fat retention and maintain good levels of lean muscle mass when consumed in conjunction with a regular fitness routine.
Resistance starch rich foods.
You can find both foods that are already high in resistance starch when consumed raw, or foods that can be easily prepared to increase its resistance starch content.
- Cooking and then cooling specific foods also helps naturally increase resistant starch levels. Once thing I love to do is bake sweet potato chips in the oven and then tossing any leftovers I have in the fridge. By cooling the baked sweet potato in the refrigerator, you are naturally increasing its starch levels.
- Unripe bananas are naturally high in resistance starch. I know personally that I love OVERLY ripe bananas, but now I’ll have to start incorporating unripe bananas into my day. You can blend these in with your smoothies if you have an aversion to the unripe-y taste.
- Cooked and cooled brown rice also contains resistance starch. If you’re not a fan of cooling your grains, you will still get good levels of resistance starch in cooked brown rice as well. ALSO – sushi contains great levels of resistance starch as well since the rice is typically cooled in your rolls!
- Hummus made from fresh chickpeas is a great snack to enjoy with sliced veggies.
- Making overnight oats is a wonderful way to get resistance starch in your diet. Cooking the oats and then placing them in the refrigerator over night with whatever other ingredients you’d like maintains the starch levels.
- Red potato salad contains resistance starch – but be sure to cook and cool off your potatoes! I love making this for summer BBQs with healthy ingredients.
So I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be whipping up all sorts of healthy lentil pasta and potato salad this summer to get my daily dose of resistance starch in my diet! Do you have any favorite recipes that you now have realized contain resistance starch? Share with me in the comments below of tag me on insta @balanced_babe!