Resistant starch foods work their way through your small intestine without getting broken down. They enter your large intestine where they ferment and help with vitamin and mineral absorption from other foods. They aren’t breached by your digestive enzymes.
That means they aren’t converted to glucose. Instead, they’re broken down by the large intestine and converted into fatty acids. That makes them a carbohydrate you can consume without the resulting insulin spike!
Considered prebiotic carbohydrates, resistant starch foods are excellent for your health because they promote the growth of good gut flora while also acting as a food source for probiotic organisms (those you eat as well as those naturally produced by your body).
Now, one disclaimer. Those of you who have read my writing know I’m not a fan of “white” foods like rice, flour, or potatoes. However, in the context of resistant starch foods, there is no denying that these function differently than most carbs and starches.
Top 7 Resistant Starch Foods
- Oats (cooked or uncooked)
- Beans and legumes
- Bananas and plantains
- Potatoes (cooked and cooled)
- Raw potato starch or hi-maize flour
- Rice (cooked and cooled)
- Teff grain
Maintaining good gut flora has been proven to…
- Ease diarrhea
- Deter urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Aid in digestion
- Prevent yeast infections
- Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Boost your immune system
- Lower the risk of systemic inflammation
Resistant starch foods are being studied for the possible ability to flush pathogenic bacteria from your gut and inhibit further growth. They also stimulate blood flow to the colon.
When prebiotics and probiotics are consumed together, they form what is known as a synbiotic. This means the energy source live “good” bacteria need to flourish live side by side, helping your gut microbiome.
There are four distinctive forms of resistant starch foods but researchers are not yet certain which have the most positive effect on your body and your gut flora, or why they function so well. For now, they simply know they’re good for you, proven in study after study.
The Benefits of Teff Grain
This whole grain food is new to the Western world but it has been considered a staple of the North African diet for thousands of years.
Naturally gluten-free, packed with fiber, high in vitamin and mineral content, and an excellent source of protein, teff grain has a mild nut flavor and is approximately the size of a poppy seed.
You’ll see it more and more in gluten-free foods such as bread, pancakes, and cereal. Already, experts are touting this resistant starch food as an excellent way to protect your colon, help control blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight.
The versatility of this dietary fiber source makes it excellent when used to make porridge, as a safer thickening agent for sauces and stews, and to make flatbread.
Grown primarily in Ethiopia, the grain can withstand the harsh climate and survives both flood conditions as well as drought. It represents two-thirds of Ethiopian citizens’ nutritional consumption and farmers struggle to meet the demand of their own people.
Unlike rice and wheat, teff grain has not been studied extensively and there has been no funding to boost production because there was little profit to be gained. Now that doctors, celebrities, chefs, and athletes around the world are singing its praises, teff grain will hopefully get the recognition it deserves.
With a higher nutritional content than quinoa and the durability to thrive in the unforgiving desert, teff grain is set to become Ethiopia’s primary export – funded by companies anxious to add it to their food manufacturing – which will provide more for local citizens as well.
This is wonderful news for a country that has struggled against famine for decades as well as their national economy.
To get the best results from resistant starch foods, make sure you increase your consumption gradually to prevent gas, bloating, and cramping. These foods are best when consumed with other foods as well – as part of a balanced plate – to boost nutritional absorption.
Get started today…your gut will thank you.