Although fiber is essential for optimum intestinal health, what makes certain types of fiber even more beneficial than others is its ability to ferment . Unripe tropical fruits, such as bananas, papayas and mangos, contain starches resistant to digestion 1 – indigestible low viscosity fiber that is slowly fermented in the large intestine.

These resistant starches feed the healthy bacteria, basically as if they were prebiotic.

Also, they increase the volume of bowel movements to facilitate them a more timely eliminations without making you feel inflamed or full of gas. Best of all, they don’t maximize blood sugar levels the same way as fully mature fruits and other foods high in starch, so they help optimize insulin regulation. 2 , 3

In many ways, resistant starch could be considered as a third type of fiber (in addition to soluble and insoluble fiber).

However, unripened fruits are not the only foods that have this capacity. Researchers have found that even high carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, 4 rice, bread and pasta become more resistant to digestion when prepared in a certain way.

Check out our guide to Low carb breakfast ideas

Specifically, the processes of cooking, cooling and reheating these foods seem to produce beneficial changes in their composition, so saving leftovers could be very useful in more ways than one. Not only will you save money by consuming the food that was left over from the previous day, but these leftover are high in starch will actually be healthier and less dense in calories.


What are the benefits of starches resistant to digestion?

starch resistant foods

The starches are composed of glucose, the main carbohydrate component. While carbohydrates are a source of cellular energy, glucose is not an ideal fuel for the body. Healthy fats are much better, because when they burn they produce less reactive oxygen species (ROS) than glucose.

When you consume a food high in starch, such as pasta with a garnish of bread, your blood sugar levels increase. When that happens on a regular basis – like several times a day – your body gradually becomes more resistant to insulin, which is released in response to the increase in blood glucose levels.

In turn, insulin resistance is one of the main causes of most chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes , 5 heart diseases , cancer and dementia .

On the other hand, resistant starches pass through the digestive system without decomposing; therefore, they do not raise the levels of blood sugar or insulin. In contrast, resistant starches end up fermenting and feeding beneficial intestinal bacteria.

The derivatives of this intestinal fermentation process are the short chain fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, 6 normalize blood pressure 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 and decrease the risk of heart disease and heart attacks .

The short chain fatty acids produced through fiber fermentation also serve as substrates for the liver, to create ketones that efficiently feed the mitochondria and function as powerful metabolic signaling agents; and science suggests that resistant starch may help prevent colon cancer 12 and inflammatory bowel disease . 13


Retrogradation of starch improves the nutritional quality of starchy foods

This Simple Hack Could Reduce The damage of Unhealthy carbohydrates

While some starchy foods are naturally resistant to digestion, others become more resistant to digestion through cooking and cooling, a process known as starch retrogradation. 14 , 15

Other research shows that the content of resistant starch increases even more when cooked and cooled foods, such as potatoes , rice and pasta, are reheated.

As one of these studies pointed out, 16 “[E] cooling the cooked white rice increased its resistant starch content.The cooked white rice that was cooled for 24 hours at 4 ° C and then reheated, decreasing the glycemic response, compared to the freshly cooked white rice. “

Cooked and refrigerated rice had 2.5 times more resistant starch than cooked rice, and when consumed, resulted in lower blood glucose levels in the test subjects.

The research carried out on animals 17 also found that, on several occasions, consuming heated and cooled rice produced less weight gain, better intestinal function, higher stool production and lower cholesterol levels, compared to consuming a greater quantity of rice in common form.

Similar results were obtained in cooked and refrigerated wheat, barley, legumes and potatoes. For example:

  • In one study, cooking and then cooling the potatoes overnight increased their resistant starch content by 280%. 18
  • In addition, research has confirmed that consuming potatoes high in resistant starch causes a lower blood sugar response than eating foods rich in carbohydrates without resistant starch. 19
  • It has been shown that cooking and cooling wheat that is commonly used to make bread more than doubled the content of resistant starch, since it increases it from 41% to 88%. 20 It is believed that the same thing happens with wheat pasta.
  • Cooking and chilling barley, peas, lentils and beans also creates a more resistant starch content.

As indicated in one study, 21 “The average content [of resistant starch] of freshly cooked legumes, cereals and tubers (respectively, 4.18, 1.86 and 1.51% dry matter) rose respectively to 8.16, 3.25 and 2.51%, respectively. after three cycles of heating / cooling with a maximum increase of 114.8% in peas and a minimum of 62.1% in sweet potatoes “.


Cooking rice with coconut oil favors the conversion of resistant starch

In another study, boiling traditional unfortified rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil added in the water and then cooling for 12 hours, increased its resistant starch content by 10 times, which decreased its calorie content by up to 60%.

In this question, the cooling process was not the only key strategy, but also add coconut oil. As stated in a press release: 22

The oil enters the starch granules during the cooking process, which alters its structure to make it more resistant to the action of digestive enzymes, which means that in the end, fewer calories are absorbed in the body.

‘The cooling process is essential because the amylose; that is, the soluble part of the starch is removed from the granules during gelatinization ‘, explains James Sudhair [team leader].

‘Cooling the food for 12 hours will cause the formation of hydrogen bonds between the amylose molecules on the outside of the rice grains, which will also transform them into resistant starches’ “.


How the processes of freezing and roasting could generate a glycemic effect in white bread?

Interestingly, even bread could become healthier by heating and cooling it. In a study conducted in 2008 and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 23 ten healthy participants consumed homemade and commercial white bread prepared in four different ways:

  • Recently made
  • Frozen and thawed
  • Freshly made and toasted
  • Frozen, thawed and then toasted

After repeatedly and randomly providing these foods, the increase in blood glucose levels and maximum glucose levels were measured. Compared to fresh bread – whether home or commercial – both freezing and roasting produced lower postprandial levels of blood glucose. In comparison with fresh homemade bread:

  • Frozen and thawed homemade bread decreased blood glucose levels from an average of 259 millimoles per minute / liter (mmol min / L) to 179 mmol min / L
  • Toasted homemade bread reduced blood glucose levels from 259 to 193 mmol min / L
  • Toasting the bread after freezing and thawing it alone produced 157 mmol min / L of glucose in the blood

Similarly, compared to freshly made commercial white bread, which produced an average of 253 mmol min / L of glucose, the roasting process decreased it to 183 mmol min / L, while commercial bread was frozen, thawed and toasted had a level of 187 mmoles min / L of glucose. According to the authors:

The three procedures investigated, freezing, thawing and roasting, used in fresh bread, as well as the roasting process after freezing and thawing, favorably altered the glucose response in the bread.

This is the first study known to the authors that shows a lower glycemic response as a result of the alteration in storage conditions and preparation of white bread before consuming it.

Also, the study highlights the need to define and maintain the storage conditions of white bread, if it is used as a reference food to determine the glycemic index of foods “.


Unripe tropical fruits are a good source of starches resistant to digestion

This Simple Hack Could Reduce The damage of Unhealthy carbohydrates

As mentioned above, unripened bananas and green mangoes are excellent sources of starches resistant to digestion. In addition, they are high in vitamins, and are three options for preparing salads of “green” fruits.

For example, green mango is exceptionally rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C content of a single green mango (immature) is equivalent to 35 apples, 9 lemons or 3 oranges. 24 In India, unripe mango is used as a natural remedy to:

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders . The green mango, consumed with salt and honey, is used to treat a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, morning sickness, indigestion, and constipation.

Liver problems. The green mango acids stimulate the secretion of bile and act as an intestinal antiseptic. In the same way, they help to purify the blood and function as a tonic for the liver. The green mango with honey and pepper is used to treat stomach pain due to poor digestion, urticaria and jaundice.

Blood disorders . The high vitamin C content of green mango helps to improve the elasticity of blood vessels and increase the formation of new blood cells.

In addition, it helps the absorption of iron and reduces bleeding. According to the Indian magazine, Deccan Herald, 25 “Consuming a green mango every day during the summer season prevents … infections and potentiates the body’s resistance against tuberculosis, cholera [and] dysentery …

Strengthens the heart and nervous system, and heals heart palpitations, nervous tension, insomnia and memory weakness … Consuming raw mango with salt quenches thirst and prevents the loss of sodium chloride and iron during the summer by sweating excessively . It strengthens the body and helps to tolerate excessive heat. “

However, there is a warning you should consider: Avoid consuming more than one green mango per day, as it may cause throat irritation and / or indigestion when too much is consumed.

Likewise, you should avoid drinking cold water immediately afterwards, as it coagulates the sap, which increases the risk of irritation.

The fiber content is what differentiates ‘good’ from ‘bad’ carbohydrates

Potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates. However, from the point of view of health they are not the same, and their fiber content is what differentiates mainly the “good” from the “bad” carbohydrates.

Most vegetables and certain fruits are very high in fiber, which means that they have a very low net carbohydrate content, and in this matter, the net carbohydrates are what you should focus on.

To determine the net carbohydrate content of a food, simply subtract the amount of fiber in grams from the total carbohydrate amount. Generally speaking, in terms of high fiber content, vegetables top the list, but certain unripe fruits also have high levels, in addition to adding variety to diet.

As for rice, pasta, potatoes and bread – typical foods among people who are addicted to carbohydrates – remember that cooking them, cooling them down and reheating them could drastically improve their nutritional profile by increasing their resistant starch content.

The potato salad would be a way to consume the amount of potatoes you want, instead of eating them hot, whether cooked, roasted or baked. Alternatively, you could make a certain amount of roasted potatoes, cool them overnight and then reheat them in a pan.

The purple potatoes are my new favorite and excellent complement for most of my salads.

Also, reheating cooked and refrigerated rice is better than consuming fresh cooked rice.

With respect to bread, greater benefits were observed when the bread was frozen, thawed and then toasted. Simply, be careful when toasting it since this process could also produce the harmful acrylamide – a carcinogenic substance – since the more the bread is burnt, the more acrylamide is produced. Therefore, if you toast it, be careful not to brown it excessively.

In general, most people don’t get enough fiber from their diet. So it could be beneficial for your health to increase the amount of fiber by consuming more soluble and insoluble fiber of vegetables and organic psyllium, and prepare foods rich in starch, such as rice, potatoes and pasta, in such a way as to stimulate their resistant starch content.

Although, there are particular differences, as a general rule, most people could benefit:

  • By restricting the net carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day (if you exercise a lot or are very active, you could increase the amount to 100 grams). However, this is a general recommendation. This amount could be increased a couple of times a week, especially when doing strength training
  • By increasing fiber intake to approximately 50 grams per 1,000 calories

– Sources and References

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