Resistant starches are more common than we think-from grains and legumes to potatoes
and rice that have been cooked and cooled. For years, the realm of dieting and healthy
eating painted a bad picture of carbohydrates. Mention anything carby, and we generally
associate it with something negative or, at the very least, fattening. How about resistant starches?
We wouldn’t go so far as to consider resistant starches as superfoods, but they are a form of
dietary fibre and hold a myriad of digestive health benefits. They also have fewer calories than regular starch, which make them an ideal addition to your diet if you’re watching your weight.
There are 4 types of resistant starches (RS):
Most of the carbohydrates in your diet are starches- long chains of glucose found ingrains, potatoes and various foods. What’s important to remember is that not all the starch you consume gets digested.
Some of these starches are resistant to digestion and pass right through your digestive tract and cannot be digested in the small intestine. Therefore, it functions like a soluble, fermentable fibre. In the large intestine, resistant starch helps nourish the good bacteria in your digestive system.
Resistant starch has been gaining more importance with its positive benefits on our gut and its myriad of health benefits- from prebiotics, laxation, hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycemic effects and reducing the risks of ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.
As mentioned earlier, resistant starch’s resistance to enzymatic digestion allows it to pass right through your digestive tract to your colon. There, it helps nourish the good bacteria in your microbiome. This fermentation process releases short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are thought to play an important role in colon health, cancer prevention and reducing inflammation.
Resistant starch helps to:
Some examples of foods high in resistant starch include:
Too much fibre can worsen IBS symptoms. Resistant starch may actually be good for the colon and aids in various digestive disorders.
That said, when resistant starches are broken down during fermentation in the gut, gas is produced, which may cause bloating and pain.
Ultimately, it is dependent on the symptoms you experience. It is best to include more resistant starch in your diet slowly to ensure that your body can tolerate it without aggravating your IBS symptoms.
There is generally very little risk with consuming too much resistant starch. Too much resistant starch may lead to gas or bloating.
Resistant starch is paramount in supporting a healthy gut microbiome, and an intake of 15-20g a day would suffice.
Hopefully, this article helped shed some light on some staple foods we might already have in our kitchens, such as green bananas and whole grains such as barley and oats.
If you’d like to know more about your gut health, book a consultation with us for a thorough examination with Dr Aaron Poh.