Resistant Starch and Digestive health!

What is Resistant Starch?

Resistant Starch is a type of Prebiotic that is not digested by the stomach or small intestine BUT reaches the colon intact. Here it feeds many specific strains of beneficial bacteria. It essentially ‘resists’ digestion.
 
There are four types of resistant starch:
 
  1. RS Type 1: Physically inaccessible, within the fibrous cell walls of plants e.g grains, seeds and legumes.
  2. RS Type 2: Starch with a high amylose content which is indigestible in it’s raw state e.g raw potatoes, green (unripe) bananas. If you cook these foods the heat makes the starch digestible to us removing the resistant starch.
  3. RS Type 3: Retrograde starch. This is the cooked and COOLED version of Type 1 and Type 2 RS. Once the Resistant starch once cooled has beneficial properties that feeds our gut bacteria.
  4. RS Type 4: A synthetic from of RS e.g hi-maize RS.

WHY IS RESISTANT STARCH GREAT?

RS selectively feeds our good bacteria in the intestines, contributing to a healthy balance of bacteria.
 
Once the good bacteria feed on the Resistant Starch they produce essential Short chain fatty acids (SCFA). Maybe THE MOST significant SCFA produce is Butyrate due to its amazing effects on colon health and health overall.
 
Please see graph for the many wonderful benefits of Butyrate!


ADDING RESISTANT STARCH TO YOUR DIET

The best and most common food sources of Resistant Starch are:
 
  • cooked and cooled rice
  • Cooked and cooled legumes
  • cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Unripe (green) bananas
  • Plantain flour and green banana flour (be mindful that the Resistant starch quality is not the same when these are reheated above 130 degrees) So baking with banana flour will not have the same benefits of just adding a tsp to a smoothie.
 
TAKE IT SLOW
 
You definitely don’t want to go from zero to hero with Resistant Starch! If you choose to start including some of these foods into your diet start with SMALL amounts! Some increased gas and bloating is expected as your gut flora changes and adapts BUT you do not want to feel uncomfortable which can be common if you have a a very compromised gut already.
If you do experience discomfort, then like always DECREASE the amount you are having for a few days until your symptoms resolve and then try increasing SLOWLY again.
 
If you do experience notable GI distress then this could be a really good indication that you have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or microbial dysbiosis. There are not enough good bacteria for the Resistant starch to fee. In this case you need to take a step back and establish a more balanced gut micro biome through other nourishing food and antimicrobials!