Why Your Gut Loves Resistant Starches
Ok, don’t freak out.
Yes, we’re talking about resistant starch which is a carbohydrate. But this kind of carb benefits your gut and overall health in a massive way. Resistant starch (RS) resists digestion, so it doesn’t get metabolized the same way other carbs do.
So, what are resistant starches, and why should you care about them?
Since resistant starch resists digestion, they also bypass absorption in the stomach and small intestine. They moves, unscathed, into the colon where they ferment and create “short chain fatty acids” (SCFAs). These are critical for our colon cells and health.
- Increases insulin sensitivity (1). Helps improve our sensitivity to signals like insulin and helps our bodies handle carbs better.
- Heals the gut (2). Evidence suggests that eating resistant starch improves the condition of the digestive tract. And, that’s what we’re trying to do! Heal. That. Gut.
- Improves cholesterol and blood sugar control (3). Helps lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which can indicate better heart health.
- Helps us absorb magnesium (4). Magnesium is a nutrient we use anytime we use energy (ATP). Most of us don’t get enough, and when our guts are in bad shape, we can’t absorb it well. RS helps your body get more magnesium.
- Lowers inflammation (5). When RS is metabolized, there is an increase in IL-10, which is an anti-inflammatory cytokine.
- Keeps you satisfied (6). Keeps you fuller longer. Evidence suggests RS improves satiety.
How do I get RS?
There are actually 4 different kinds of RS. Types 1-4.
Type 1: Found in seeds, legumes (beans), and unrefined whole grains. The RS is physically inaccessible.
Type 2: Found in foods like cornstarch high in amylose (a big carb), which makes it impossible to break down. Thus, a resistant starch.
Type 3: Found in carbs that are cooked and cooled, like rice, potatoes, and beans. The carb structure changes when it’s cooled, making it a resistant starch.
Type 4: Found in products that have been chemically changed to resist digestion. These are not naturally occurring in foods.
Food Sources of Resistant Starch?
- Green bananas
- Parboiled rice or other grains
- Raw white or sweet potatoes
- Cooked and cooled legumes or grains
- Flours or starches from these foods: tiger nuts, raw potato starch, cassava starch, tapioca starch, mung bean powder, plantain flour, and green banana flour.
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- Topping DL, Clifton PM. Short-chain fatty acids and human colonic function: roles of resistant starch and nonstarch polysaccharides. Physiological reviews. 2001;81(3):1031-64.
- Nofrarias M, Martinez-Puig D, Pujols J, Majo N, Perez JF. Long-term intake of resistant starch improves colonic mucosal integrity and reduces gut apoptosis and blood immune cells. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif). 2007;23(11-12):861-70.
- Park OJ, Kang NE, Chang MJ, Kim WK. Resistant starch supplementation influences blood lipid concentrations and glucose control in overweight subjects. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology. 2004;50(2):93-9.
- Coudray C, Demigne C, Rayssiguier Y. Effects of dietary fibers on magnesium absorption in animals and humans. The Journal of nutrition. 2003;133(1):1-4.
- Fan MZ, Archbold T, Lackeyram D, Liu Q, Mine Y, Paliyath G. Consumption of guar gum and retrograded high-amylose corn resistant starch increases IL-10 abundance without affecting pro-inflammatory cytokines in the colon of pigs fed a high-fat diet. Journal of animal science. 2012;90 Suppl 4:278-80.
- Sardá FAH, Giuntini EB, Gomez MLP, Lui MCY, Negrini JA, Tadini CC, et al. Impact of resistant starch from unripe banana flour on hunger, satiety, and glucose homeostasis in healthy volunteers. Journal of Functional Foods. 2016;24:63-74.