Resistant Starch- Is it Healthy?

Resistant Starch- Is it Healthy?

If you are like other people, the word “starch” will conjure up images of high-calorie treats and guilty pleasures like pasta, pizza, and donuts. It has been fed to our brains over and over again that starch is unhealthy and has to be avoided at all costs.

But this concept is not entirely true. While too much starch is definitely not good for a healthy lifestyle, some particular types of it can be beneficial. For example, resistant starch is a beneficial form of starch that can exert a whole range of positive effects on your body.

In addition to the fact that resistant starch can help you lose weight and control the blood sugar level, it is also quite easy to consume it every day.

Resistant starch is present in a number of natural sources. It is possible to be a part of certain food items that you are eating already. Keep reading to know more about this healthy and nutritious type of starch and different methods of including it in your diet.

What is Resistant Starch?

The first question that may have popped up in your mind is what is resistant starch and how does it really work?

Resistant starch is a form of starch which does not break down completely in your body. Therefore, it is not fully absorbed by your stomach and intestines. Instead, it moves towards the colon and gets converted into short-chain fatty acids.

These short-chain fatty acids work as prebiotics to support the beneficial bacteria of your gut.

Because resistant starch is metabolized and processed in a way similar to that of dietary fiber, it also possesses a similar set of health benefits. In fact, it has been suggested that resistant starch can support satiety, balance blood sugar, and improve the digestive health.

Sometimes, it is also considered as a keto-friendly food item and is perfect for those following a low-carb diet. This is because it does not get digested and absorbed in the digestive system hence, does not produce spikes in blood sugar levels. Best of all, this type of starch is present in so many natural sources so, it becomes easy to incorporate it as a part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.

What is Resistant Starch?

What are Resistant Starch Foods?

Your diet consists of four types of resistant starch foods which are explained below:

  • Type I resistant starch which is commonly found in seeds, whole grains, and legumes
  • Type II resistant starch can be obtained from green bananas, raw potatoes, and maize starch rich in amylose.
  • Type III resistant starch is produced through a process known as retrogradation of the cooked starches rice and potatoes and involves cooling them down.
  • Type IV resistant starch which is a chemically modified variant found in specific processed foods

So, which food items have the highest levels of resistant starch and how can you make the best use of them? Keep reading to know about the list of foods rich in resistant starch and start picking them up from the nearest grocery store now.

  1. Cooked and Cooled Potatoes

When you cook and cool down potatoes, they undergo a procedure termed as retrogradation. This causes the amount of resistant starch present in them to increase drastically.

Resistant starch can also be found in other tubers such as sweet potatoes, however, white potatoes have it in the highest quantity. Other ingredients such as raw potato starch that has been derived from potatoes also contain resistant starch.

  1. Cooked and Cooled Rice

Any type of rice that has been cooked and cooled off is said to be high in resistant starch. Always prefer brown rice over white rice to get extra benefit in the form of minerals, vitamins, and fiber content.

  1. Legumes

Different varieties of legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils are extremely high in resistant starch. Moreover, they also have high levels of fiber and proteins which can improve the health of your heart, maintain muscle mass and boost the regularity.

  1. Oats

Oats are an excellent way to obtain resistant starch. They are also rich in beta-glucan, a form of soluble fiber that can treat different conditions such as metabolic syndrome and even obesity.

  1. Green Bananas

Unripe bananas are a great way to get the maximum amount of resistant starch. Even though they are not as sweet as the ripe ones, green bananas can be boiled, baked, or added to different smoothies to get a high dose of resistant starch.

  1. Hi-Maize Flour

This particular type of hi-maize flour is manufactured from corn and is normally used in different food items to improve the fiber content in them. All you need to do is to swap out some of your regular flour and replace it with hi-maize flour to enjoy the benefits.

  1. Other Starches

All thanks to the process of retrogradation, other cooled and cooked starches also contain a good amount of resistant starch, for example, resistant starch pasta. All you need to do is to select a whole-grain variety and pair it up with a good portion of protein food, vegetables, and healthy fats. This will amp up the total nutritional content of your meals.

The Importance of Resistant Starch in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda

The term “resistant starch” has been introduced and used during the last century only. However, these foods have been a part of the holistic medicine for long now.

The traditional varieties of rice consumed normally as a part of the ayurvedic diet, such as basmati, contains a high quantity of resistant starch as compared to the white rice which is heavily processed.

RELATED: Bananas- The Fruit Of Wise People

Other types of resistant foods such as potatoes have also been a part of the Ayurveda diet. This food is said to have sedative, grounding properties which can help satisfy the stomach and aid in the alkalization of your body.

In a similar manner, the traditional Chinese Medicine has also been using a lot of foods rich in resistant starch for a long time. Rice has been used to soothe and improve the stomach, relieve indigestion, and strengthen the spleen.

At the same time, other resistant starch foods like oats help in reducing blood pressure, treating diarrhea, and stopping spontaneous sweating.

Precautions

Generally speaking, resistant starch is a safe and rather healthy agent for your health. It can boost the overall functioning and maintain a healthy life. However, it is always advised to be used in moderate amounts.

This is because consuming resistant starch in high amounts can sometimes prove to be rather risky. The consumption of too much of this starch type can lead to certain digestive problems which include gas, abdominal pain, and bloating.

What is Resistant Starch?

If you wish to prevent developing these die effects, it is better to start off with a rather low amount of resistant starch and gradually work your way up to higher amounts. At the same time, be sure to follow the rule of moderation and reduce the dose immediately upon suffering from any kind of negative effects.

Unless you are following a low-carb diet, it is usually recommended not to go for a resistant starch supplement. Rather, opt for whole food sources. In addition to increasing the consumption of resistant starch, these food sources can provide your body with beneficial minerals and vitamins which are important for health.

 

Nancy holds a Pharmacy degree from University of Michigan and Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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