Why We Eat Resistant Starch for Gut Health. Health benefit and example recipes.
This time around I want to talk about the wellness of your gut flora and the benefits of resistant starch. Sounds exciting, I know! But really, I have a feeling you’ll like this topic.
First off, what the heck is resistant starch?
Resistant starch is “the sum of starch and products of starch degradation not absorbed in the small intestine of healthy individuals.” Instead of being cleaved in twain by our enzymes and absorbed as glucose, resistant starch (RS) travels untouched through the small intestine into the colon, where colonic gut flora metabolize it into short chain fatty acids. Thus, it’s resistant to digestion by the host. Definition Source via Marks Daily Apple
Sounds bad, right? Actually it’s not.
If it can’t break down, it ferments. Remember, certain fermented food is GOOD for us!
If it ferments, then that means it is GOOD food for our GOOD bacteria. Hence, feeding the gut!
Wanna know more?
Resistant starch may also actually help “flush out” the bacteria (according to Mark’s Daily Apple). And when you flush out the bad bacteria, it means more room for GOOD bacteria to heal and repair the gut. This is crucial for those struggling with Celiac, food allergies, leaky gut, and other digestive issues. Plus it can help reduce inflammation in the gut (source )
But not all starches are the same. Let’s take a look at the best resistant starches that feed your gut.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to eat resistant starches.
- potato starch (like Bob Red Mills)- you can add to smoothies for supplement
- green bananas – Why so unripe? Well, the more ripe it is, the more it turns into a regular starch versus a resistant starch.
- plantains – bakes then cooled or raw
- cooked-and-cooled potatoes –> cooling these starches turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starches via a process called retrogradation (3).
- parboiled rice
- Properly prepared cooked, then-cooled, legumes.
This is why we eat these naturally GLUTEN FREE starches regularly. They worked wonders for my personal gut healing. And when my husband is training heavily, rice cakes (cooked then cooled) become a staple on the bike. Yes, they are energy/calories but they also help keep his gut healthy or healthier.
Are there side effects?
I think this one depends on the person and what their gut flora is like to begin with. If it needs more flora then it might be a little a gassy to begin with, just like eating fermented foods. But as you build up the gut lining and good bacteria, those side effects should disappear. Heck, I can now drink 28 -32 oz of kombucha, eat cold rice, and a kefir smoothie in one day now without any side effects. But… it took little by little increases of these foods to finally get my gut adjusted and (mostly) healed. Make sense?
For more info on resistant starch, check out the sources and articles below:
- Authority Nutrition Resistant starch 101
- US Resistant Starch Research
- JJ Virgin – Resistant Starch and Optimal Health
- Mark’s Daily Apple Resistant Starch Guide
- Update–> I’d also check out this new article by Mark Sisson that backs up another Resistant Starch article on cancer.
Either way, these foods are naturally gluten free and great to add to the diet. But the main reason why resistant starch works so great, is that it functions like soluble/fermentable fiber.
Like all foods, it’s best to test them out and see how they really react to YOUR own body, yes?
Do you eat Resistant starches for gut health?