Most of us have heard of probiotics and understand the health benefits they have, in particular on
our gut health…But what about prebiotics, have you considered the important role of these in our diet? What exactly is a prebiotic, pre-biotics are compounds found in a variety of foods including whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes that can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These foods contain different prebiotic fibre but today l want to talk about resistant starch.
Resistant starch is a type of food starch that remains intact through the stomach and small intestine, reaching the large intestine (colon) in its whole form. So as the name suggests, RS goes through the digestive system undigested and becomes food for the bacteria in the colon.
Research is showing that a diverse microbiome, rich in a variety of prebiotic fibres, is associated with good health.
Once in the colon (large intestine) a fermenting process occurs allowing the colon bacteria’s to break it down into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) The beneficial bacteria in the colon use the SCFAs as their main source of nutrition which in return promotes healthy gut function, improves gut motility and decrease the risk of leaky gut and inflammatory conditions of the bowel. It can also improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels due to its indigestible nature, If they are so good how do l have them?
There are different types of resistant starches available and some are good and some not so good,
when our gut bacteria’s are given the right types of RS they are nourished and in return flourish creating a diverse and health promoting environment in our gut.
There are 4 types of resistant starch,
Type 1 RS: starch bound within cell walls, found in grains, seeds and legumes. Some of these foods can cause digestive issues in many individuals due to processing
methods and the gluten content, therefore this type of RS is not ideal for everyone.
Type 2 RS: intrinsically indigestible starch due to high amylose content, found in foods such as green (unripe) bananas and raw white potatoes. This type can also be
found in a powder form, such as green banana starch or unrefined potato starch. This is a great option, just make sure you opt for unrefined and natural powders that
are made from the type of RS in isolation and no other added ingredients.
Type 3 RS: formed after one of the above starches have been cooked and rapidly cooled such as cooked and cooled sweet potato, potato or white rice. This is a very
cost-effective method of consumption and a great way to begin testing out RS.
Type 4 RS: industrial starch that has been chemically modified and should always be avoided. Don’t get to excited l’m not giving you permission to rush out and fill your plate with mashed potato,
potato salad and carbohydrates that have been cooked and cooled in excess, there is a balance and like lots of new thing its best to go low and slow. Start with very minimal amounts, for example half a teaspoon in powder form (Type 2) and increase as tolerated, aiming for 1-2 tablespoons per day. Alternatively, add in 1/2 cup of cooked & cooled sweet potato or white (Basmati) rice (Type 3) into a main meal 2-4 times per week and increase as necessary. By going low and slow and following this guide you will avoid symptoms such as bloating or gas which can often be a side effect if not consumed correctly.
If you need further guidance on how you can incorporate RS into your diet book an appointment
with our nutritionist Kylie.