Ever heard of resistant starches? Not many people have, but they can be an important part of a gut-healthy diet. Most people can benefit from adding some resistant starches to their diet.
Resistant starch is starch that doesn't digest in the small intestine. It is resistant to digestion. Since it doesn't digest in the small intestine, it continues along the GI tract to the large intestine where it has beneficial effects. In the large intestine, the resistant starch provides a food source for the beneficial species of the microbiome. When these species metabolize the starches a very important end-product results - short chain fatty acids. Butyrate is one of those short chain fatty acids, and it is the preferred fuel for the cells lining the large intestine. So by eating resistant starch you end up with two important things: a happy microbiome and happy intestinal cells.
GUT-HEALTHY RESISTANT STARCHES
Cooked and cooled potatoes
Potato and tapioca starch
Cooked, cold white rice
The problem with some of the resistant starch sources, is that they aren't very yummy. I don't know about you, but raw potatoes or green bananas aren't among the foods I like to eat. Potato and tapioca starch can be used in some gut-healthy, Paleo baking (once the baked item has cooled), and some people mix unmodified potato starch into a glass of water, but there are much tastier ways to get resistant starches. Here are my two favourites:
1 egg (optional)
coconut oil, ghee or butter for frying
Blend the plantains and the egg in a blender or food processor until creamy. If you can't eat eggs, then omit the egg and just puree the plantain. Heat oil in a ceramic or cast-iron frying pan over medium heat. Place a heaping tablespoon of puree in the pan and spread into a 3-4 inch circle using the back of a spoon. Cook until both sides are golden brown. Easiest pancake ever. These are great with nut butter, and leftovers are easy to pack for snacks or lunches. Makes 10-12 pancakes.
2 pounds cubed, steamed or roasted potatoes that have been refrigerated
2 tablespoons Primal Kitchen Mayo
2 tablespoons chopped dill pickles or Bubbies Kosher Dill Relish
chopped green onion for garnish (optional)
season with sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Everyone has their own way of making potato salad, so go ahead and follow your favourite way. I love Primal Kitchen Mayo, because it is the only commercially produced mayo I've found that conforms to a gut-healthy, Paleo diet. Unfortunately it's a bit tricky to get - I have my husband get it whenever he travels to the States on business. Using Bubbies Relish is another shortcut I like to use to cut down on preparation time. It's available in local health food stores.
With BBQ season around the corner, potato salad is a nice addition to whatever you are throwing on the grill. Potatoes are not normally part of a gut-healthy protocol, but eaten cold they are great.
WHO SHOULDN'T EAT RESISTANT STARCHES?
If you suffer from IBS then eating resistant starches may aggravate your condition, so use caution and avoid them if they contribute to symptoms.
So add some resistant starch sources to your grocery list, whether it's plantains or potatoes.
Do you have a recipe that uses resistant starches that you like?
Happy Healthy Eating!