Why is it so important to include resistant starch in your diet?
When you eat food, digestion can begin as early in the mouth, driven by enzymes in the saliva. Next, the food is often partially digested in the stomach and finished off in the small intestine.
However, some foods contain resistant starches that aren’t fully digested into they reach the colon. These resistant starches get broken down, fermented, and act as food for beneficial bacteria.
These types are so vital for gut health that it upsets me to see all the anti-carb sentiments out there. I know from years of personal and professional experience, health, high-quality carbs do not make you fat. I’ve been eating bananas, oats, and potatoes all my life, and my gut health is great.
Resistant starches are a vital part of the diet that help regulate your appetite. They also help to bind cholesterol and pull it out of your body. If you eat a generous serving of rolled oats every day, there’s a good chance your cholesterol will come down.
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Food is medicine. Medicine is food. Rolled oats are a fantastic food. Another great source of resistant starch is plantain. I don’t recommend eating green bananas or other under-ripe fruit. In my opinion, some of the best resistant starches are oats, potatoes, sweet potato, pasta, brown rice, and white rice.
When you let a potato cool, and then cook it, it doubles the fiber content. That’s a pretty neat trick. You can make patties out of rice and sweet potatoes, and they’re delicious. Eating resistant starch is very healthy for the gut because it’s what the beneficial bacteria want. As their levels go up, you’ll have higher energy and better cognitive functioning.
When I move people from high-protein diets to one that includes resistant starches, they sometimes have side effects because their bacteria aren’t yet up to speed. That’s why it’s important to start low and go slow. If you haven’t’ been eating resistant starch, begin with tiny portions. This is particularly good advice if you already have problems with gas and bloating.
You may even want to do a stool test to make sure your levels of the pancreatic enzyme PE1(elastase) are sufficient. If PE1 is very low, you may need to take some digestive enzyme supplements to avoid side effects like bloating and flatulence.
Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are high in vitamin A and potassium, as well as containing fiber and resistant starch. In my opinion, they are one of the best root vegetables you can include in your diet.