Why do we need to consume fiber in our diet?
The consumption of fiber has unquestionable health benefits. The higher the fiber consumption, the lower the risks of chronic health problems such as: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, diabetes, allergies, cancer, etc.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are important carbohydrates in our daily diet because they provide us with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, anti-inflammatory agents and fiber.
But, what is a fiber?
Fiber or roughage is the indigestible part of plant food that does not undergo the normal digestion process when ingested in our diet, resulting in various health benefits for the body. And, it is classified as soluble (dissolves in water), and insoluble (doesn’t dissolve in water).
Therefore, not all fiber is equal, and when we think in terms of our health, the most important thing to consider in a fiber is the level of fermentability that it has.
According to scientific studies, resistant starch is a fiber that has many physiological benefits because it resists our normal digestion, being slowly fermented in the large intestine and preventing health problems and chronic diseases.
What is resistant starch?
It is called resistant starch because as the name says, it resists our normal digestion that occurs with most of the carbohydrates, made in the stomach and small intestine, and it reaches the large intestine intact.
Besides that, resistant starch is slowly fermented all through the large intestine and serves as food to our beneficial bacteria that are also in charge of digesting this food to us, benefiting us with “bioproducts” of this process.
That is why resistant starch is considered a natural prebiotic or, a food that provides a suitable environment in the large intestine, selectively stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in our flora and inhibiting the development of pathogenic bacteria ,and consequently, strengthening our immune system.
Thus, including resistant starch in our diet provides us health benefits such as:
- Improves gut health in general - reducing symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, gas, etc.;
- Weight loss - Increases feeling of satiety and keep you satisfied longer because a high-fiber food tend to be more filling than a low-fiber food;
- Improves mineral absorption (calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc);
- Changes the composition of the intestinal microflora with the increase of beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria (responsible for the production of vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, biotin):
- Reduces pathogenic intestinal flora or unwanted bacteria;
- Decreases glucose (sugar) levels in the blood, and consequently improves insulin sensitivity;
- Prevents allergies and asthma;
- Helps prevent metabolic sindrome (cardiovascular problems; diabetes and obesity)
- Production of fatty acids (butyrate, acetate, propionate).
Fatty acids (butyrate, acetate, propionate) are bioproducts produced by microbial fermentation of resistant starches, with innumerous health benefits as: regulatory role on inflammation in the gut and other tissues, reinforces the epithelial defense barrier, modulation of visceral sensitivity and intestinal motility, prevention and inhibition of colorectal cancer, etc.
So, Where do we find Resistant Starch?
Resistant starch can be found in foods like boiled and cooled potatoes, rice, lentils and beans (properly prepared), and all cooked and cooled. (cannot exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit when heated to keep resistant starch). Also, we found it in a potato starch brand called Bob’s Red Mill, and in some uniped fruits, as in the case of banana, papaya and mango.
These fruits when green, besides being rich in resistant starch fibers, they have low amounts of sugar and, more concentration of minerals and vitamins than when they are ripped.
Why the Green Banana Biomass?
A great way to include resistant starch in our diet is through the green banana biomass. As you can imagine, a green banana is not appetizing to the palate however, when cooked and cooled, it becomes again a resistant starch that can be easily used in recipes because doesn’t have strong smell or flavor. In addition to that, it incorporates their nutrients and fiber into the recipes. Also, very accecible to everybody.
How to include resistant starch in your diet?
The best way to include resistant starch in your daily diet is slowly adding it in order to avoid unwanted symptoms such as gases, bloating, gut discomfort and pain.
Always remember that any change in our diet will include changes in our gut microbiota. So, expect some gas and bloating until your flora adapts. However, if you feel uncomfortable stop resistant starch for a few days until symptoms resolve, and restart with a smaller dose.
Besides that, if you experiment any major gastrointestinal discomfort when introducing resistant starch in your diet this may be an indicator that you have SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth) or, may be dysbiosis in your flora bacteria (imbalance of beneficial bacteria). Then, consider working with a healthcare practitioner to help you balance your gut microbiome, and help you be able to tolerate prebiotics in your diet.
Again, if you include resistant starch foods in your daily diet, you should GO SLOW, and build up the dose in order to avoid unwanted gut symptoms.
For example, if you decide start taking Bob Red Mill potato starch remember that 1 tablespoon of it has around 8 grams of resistant starch. What I recommend to my clients is starting with 1 teaspoon of it a day, and if don’t notice any gastrointestinal discomfort increase a little bit the dose every three days, until reaches the recommended dose.
Also, the ideal is varying and rotating two or three types of foods rich in resistant starch, and not depending on a single source.. And, the recommended daily dose of resistant starch is between 15 and 30 grams a day. Equivalent to 2 to 4 tablespoons of Red Mill potato starch.
In conclusion, consuming fiber in our diet that “resists” normal digestion and are fermented in our large intestine (resistant starch) helps us prevent chronic diseases and improve our quality of life. And a few ways to include resistant starch in our diet is through recipes with green banana biomass, cooked and cooled potatoes, rice, lentils and beans (properly prepared and cooled), uniped fruits as banana, papaya and mango, and also from Bob’s Red Mill potato starch.
Armed with this information, how about preparing green banana biomass to be including in your recipes this week? Or cooking some potatoes and letting them cool to prepare a good salad? I would love to hear from you how do you will include resistant in your diet. Please, leave me a comment.