All about Resistant Starch

sweet-potatoes

What is resistant starch?
Resistant starch (RS) is a type of starch that is not digested in the stomach or small intestine, reaching the colon intact.  Simply put, it “resists” digestion. This explains why we do not see spikes in either blood glucose or insulin after eating resistant starch, and why we do not obtain significant calories from resistant starch.

There are four types of resistant starch:

  • RS Type 1 – Is found in grains, seeds and legumes and resists digestion because it’s bound within the fibrous cell walls;
  • RS Type 2 – Is found in some starchy foods, including raw potatoes and green (unripe) bananas;
  • RS Type 3 – Is formed when certain starchy foods, including potatoes and rice, are cooked and then cooled. The cooling turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starches via retrogradation;
  • RS Type 4 – Is man-made and formed via a chemical process.

However, this classification is not so simple, as several different types of resistant starch can co-exist in the same food.

Depending on how foods are prepared, the amount of resistant starch changes. For example, allowing a banana to ripen (turn yellow) will degrade the resistant starches and turn them into regular starches.

Where to find resistant starch
Resistant starch occurs in a number of natural foods. Some legumes, many tubers such as potatoes, and many fruits, especially unripe bananas and plantains.

There are several supplementary sources such as raw potato starch, plantain flour and tapioca starch. Raw (not sprouted) mung beans are also a good source of resistant starch, so mung bean starch (found often in asian grocery stores) can also work.

Food for your gut
Just like anything other living organism, your gut bacteria requires a food source. They need to eat to survive, and certain food sources are better than others. Simply put, resistant starch is a high quality food for your gut bacteria. This is the very basic, but most important function of resistant starch.

How does it work?

A healthy human gut has hundreds of bacterial species, outnumbering all other cells approximately 10 to 1. The overall balance of these bacteria has an important effect on health and wellbeing. Resistant starch resists digestion until it reaches the colon where it feeds your good bacteria.

The good bacteria feeds on resistant starch and produce short chain fatty acids, with butyrate being the most significant due its beneficial effects on the colon and overall health.  Butyrate is the prefered energy source for the cells lining the colon, it also has a role in increasing metabolism and decreasing overall inflammation.

Below are just some of the health related benefits backed by science to consuming resistant starch.

Improve gut integrity and overall gut function
As mentioned earlier, resistant starch improves the overall quality and functionality of your gut bacteria. It also inhibits endotoxins from getting into circulation and can reduce leaky gut, which could have a positive effect with regards to allergies and autoimmune conditions.

Improved insulin sensitivity
Consuming Resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity, even in people with metabolic syndrome.

Lowers the blood glucose response to food
A popular reason people avoid even minimal amounts of  dietary carbohydrate is the blood glucose response. It’s too high. Resistant starch lowers blood glucose spike after meals. This reduction may carry over to subsequent meals.

Reduces fasting blood sugar
This is one of the most commonly mentioned benefits of resistant starch. With a reduction in blood sugar levels, resistant starch may help you avoid chronic disease and improve your quality of life.

Increases satiety
In a recent human study, a large dose of resistant starch increased satiety and decreased subsequent food intake.

Enhanced magnesium absorption
Most likely because resistant starch improves overall gut function and integrity, resistant starch increases dietary magnesium absorption.

Consuming resistant starch may also have the following benefits:

  • Improved body composition;
  • Improved thyroid function;
  • Improved sleep.

Adding resistant starch to your diet

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In a modern diet a person may only consume about 5g of resistant starch daily, compared to many traditional diets where 20g or 30g was consumed per day. You can add resistant starch to your diet by either consuming it from a food source or through supplementation.

Several commonly consumed foods are high in resistant starch. These foods include, raw potatoes, cooked and then cooled potatoes, yams, green bananas, various legumes, lentils and raw oats.

These foods are commonly high-carbohydrate foods, making them out of the question if you are following a low-carbohydrate nutrition plan. However, even if you are eating a low-carbohydrate diet, you can still see some benefit from consuming some resistant starch.

You can add resistant starch to your diet without adding any dietary carbohydrates. This is where our supplements, such as raw potato starch come in to the equation.

Raw potato starch contains approximately 8g of resistant starch per tablespoon and almost zero digestible carbohydrate.

It is cheap. It does have a fairly bland flavour, but it can be added into your diet in a variety of ways, such as by adding to foods, smoothies or mixing it with water.

Four tablespoons will give you about 32g of resistant starch. Like most supplements, it is important to build up, as too much too soon may have disastrous results.

There doesn’t seem to be any reason to consume much more than that anyway, as excess amounts seem to pass through your body when you reach about 50g per day.

Why you should be eating cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cauliflower, like broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family, contains an impressive array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytochemicals.

Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with an adequate defense against attack by excessive amounts of reactive oxygen species. Without an adequate supply of antioxidants to help suppress excess free radicals you raise your risk of oxidative stress, which leads to accelerated tissue and organ damage.

Why it’s a superfood?

  • High in Vitamins C and K;
  • Good source of Vitamin B6, folate, fiber, manganese, potassium, sulforaphane and omega-3 fatty acids.

Healthy evidence
Numerous studies have linked sulforaphane to reduced cancer rates in humans. A study in the Journal of Nutrition reported that treating liver cells with compounds contained in cauliflower reduced the production of lipids that increase heart disease risk when present in high levels in the blood. Other studies have reported that high intake of cauliflower was associated with a lower risk of an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Here are some of the science backed health benefits of cauliflower:

  • Fights cancer;
  • Heart health;
  • Lowers inflammation;
  • Supports detoxification;
  • Improves digestion.

Making the most of Cauliflower
The best way to eat cauliflower is raw in fresh salads, as this will retain the vitamin C and other water-soluble nutrients. Cauliflower can be used as a great substitute for potatoes in low carbohydrate nutrition plans.

Steaming cauliflower better preserves the anti-cancer compounds rather than boiling. Better again is a healthy saute. This is done by bring either some bone broth (beef or chicken) or water to boil in a pan then lightly saute the cauliflower florets for approximately five minutes.

Why you should be eating broccoli

broccoli

Vegetables have an impressive way of offering a widespread benefits to your health. Broccoli is no exception. When you’re eating broccoli, you’re getting dozen, maybe even hundreds, of super-nutrients that support optimal health and performance.

Why it’s a superfood?

  • High in Vitamins A, C and K, along with fiber and folate;
  • Good source of magnesium, manganese, potassium, sulforaphane, quercetin and other antioxidants.

Healthy evidence

Broccoli contains phytochemicals. It is high is the flavonoid quercetin and in sulforaphane, both protect the body against cancer. Potassium and folate also help prevent cardiovascular disease. Other antioxidants provide anti-bactierial and anti-viral activity.

Here is a short list of some of the science backed health benefits of broccoli:

  • Arthritis;
  • Cancer;
  • Blood pressure and kidney disease;
  • Anti-aging and immune system health;
  • Heart health, especially for diabetics.

Making the most of Broccoli

Broccoli’s phytochemicals and heat sensitive nutrients such as folate are best retained by either not cooking, steaming or lightly sauteing.

Boiling Broccoli reduces the level of active anti-carcinogenic compounds, with losses of approx 20% after 5 min and 40% after 10 min.

Another way to enjoy the many health benefits of broccoli is by eating its sprouts. Fresh broccoli sprouts  are FAR more potent nutrient dense than mature broccoli. They have about 50 times the amount of cancer fighting power of mature broccoli. This means more bang for buck.

Broccoli sprouts can be grown at home quite easily. They don’t have to be cooked and can be added to salads.

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