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Resistant starch – what is it?

Resistant starch was not discovered until 1982. Before that, we thought all starch could be digested by the digestive enzymes in our small intestine.

Subsequent studies confirmed that there are indeed starches that resist digestion and end up in our large intestine where they can feed our good bacteria, just like fibre does. Resistant starch is found naturally in many common foods, including grains, vegetables, beans, seeds, and some nuts, but in small quantities, just a few percent of the total.

Most starches are digested in the upper gut but a fraction that passes through to the large bowel provides fuel for the resistant bacteria (Microbiome) which break them down via fermentation to products that support a healthy digestive system and protect the gut.

Why do we call it resistant starch?
Because resistant starch is a carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine. As the fibre ferments, it acts as a prebiotic and feeds good bacteria in the gut.

What foods contain resistant starch?

  •  Plantains, green bananas, green banana flour – as a banana ripens the starch changes to a regular starch
  • Legumes and beans – like black beans, mung beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas, white beans, fava or broad beans and lentils (white beans and lentils are the highest in resistant starch)
  • Gluten free whole grains – like quinoa, millet and buckwheat
  • Cooked and cooled veggie carbs and root veggies – like sweet potato, corn, lotus root, lotus seeds, yams, taro, jicama, cassava …

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