Are you looking for resistant starch?

October 22, 2018 6:25 am Published by Leave your thoughts

More and more people are becoming quite particular about the type of carbohydrates they’re eating. In particular, they’re often looking for carbohydrates that are full of what’s termed ‘resistant starch’. But what is this? And where can you get it from?

What’s resistant starch?

Resistant starch is sometimes known by its initials (RS). It’s a type of starch, present in food, that humans can’t digest in the small intestine (that’s how it gets its name: it’s resistant to digestion).

Resistant starch passes through the small intestine intact. It’s then fermented in the large intestine, where it’s turned into short-chain fatty acids by our intestinal bacteria.

Why is it good for you?

RS has a number of health boasts made for it. First, the short-chain fatty acids mentioned above serve as an energy source for colonic cells. They’re thought to prevent the development of abnormal cells in the gut.

Second, RS has been found to be good for blood sugar. Rather than providing a short-term ‘sugar high’, as an easily digestible carbohydrate might, RS-rich food keeps blood sugar on an even keel –– and can improve our response to insulin.

The complicated journey resistant starch takes out of our bodies also makes us feel fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of us snacking on less nutritious things.

Finally, it’s believed to reduce inflammation in the gut. Those treating various digestive problems may recommend a diet high in resistant starch.

What products contain resistant starch?

You can’t buy resistant starch in a tub and sprinkle it on your food, of course! Instead, you have to obtain it from actual foodstuffs. It’s present in some raw foods, but not in a form you’re likely to find very palatable: uncooked potatoes and unripe bananas are a source.

A better way of obtaining your RS is through eating whole grains, seeds and pulses. The RS here is bound within the fibrous cell walls of these foods.

Interestingly, it’s recently been discovered that certain starchy foods like potatoes, rice and pasta, when cooked and cooled, are higher in resistant starch than they would be if they were eaten straight away while hot. It seems that this is because the cooling process turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starches. Potato salad – or yesterday’s reheated pasta – never sounded so good!

Finally, it is possible to make artificial resistant starch in a chemical process. But you’re not likely to find foodstuffs containing artificial RS for sale at Naturally Good Food!

What else should I be thinking about?

Resistant starch is a type of fibre and, in general, it’s important to eat a diet that’s rich in fibre. Fibre is vital for good digestive and bowel health and plays a role in preventing various diseases. For a diet rich in fibre, you need to concentrate on wholegrains and unprocessed wholefoods: food in which the whole of the food (including the outer parts, which are generally the most fibrous) is present. You also need to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Give me some good RS swaps!

It’s easy to build resistant starch into your diet – all you really need to do is to substitute it for some of the simple carbohydrates you might usually eat. So, instead of white bread, eat wholemeal bread made with stoneground wholemeal flour. Instead of eating white rice with your curry, choose brown rice (basmati brown is a good place to start), or a starch such as bulgur wheat. Instead of a biscuit made with white wheat flour, have a handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds. And instead of a ready meal, make yourself a wonderful bean bake!

Why not browse our full wholefoods section here, to get some ideas for some RS-rich meals of your own?

Naturally Good Reads v2

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This post was written by Yzanne

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