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Resistant Starch

An excellent hindgut fertiliser

14.11.21

Image - Psyllium

There’s a new word on the block - Resistant Starch.

I know, you’ve all heard me banging on about refined carbs being beyond evil for the gut system, and now I'm talking about a powdery starch?! But - resistant starch is different – it’s a special type of starch, with profound unique gut repair properties, including improving the metabolism, blood sugar levels, and even optimising the friendly hindgut microbes in a way to help weight loss.

So what is resistant starch, and why is it important? Well, it’s a kind of starch that isn't digested in the small intestine, hence its name – it resists digestion in the small intestine so doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin. It arrives in the hindgut where the friendly fibre-fermenting bacteria process it, creating beneficial molecules that promote balanced blood sugar and healthy gut flora.

Resistant starch is actually a prebiotic, prebiotics coming in many forms including dandelion leaves and soluble fibre from psyllium, hence why we include psyllium in our gut restoration and metabolic (EMS/IR) herb blends - note; our psyllium is, of course, human grade. 😉

Resistant starch is also available as inulin from chicory or Jerusalem artichokes, and for us humans, high-amylose plants such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green bananas.

Resistant starch is like feeding the hindgut with compost, a super-fertiliser for the friendly gut bacteria in the gut microbiome - feed the bugs good food and they’ll profoundly look after every part of the body’s health.

When this starch gets into the gut, the friendly bacteria start to ferment it, producing many beneficial compounds – postbiotics. It also stimulates the growth of the friendlies, crowding out the pro-inflammatory, gut-damaging bad bacteria. It can speed up metabolism and reduce inflammation in the gut, helping prevent leaky gut.

It also improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar - in other words, it helps reverse insulin resistance and cellular fat storage. What's not to love?!

For us humans?

In human health, science now recognises the link between gut biome imbalances with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, depression, anxiety and autism.

So how do we get resistant starch into our gut? We cook it. 😉 It's made by cooking and then cooling starches like potatoes or rice – this transforms regular starch into resistant starch. Top tip – don’t reheat them, and ... a little word of caution when you first start to take it; it will switch up the bugs in your gut so it’ll create a bit of gas as the good and bad bugs start fighting it out! But you’ll get used to it as your gut bugs adjust ... 😉

Here are some ways to incorporate resistant starch into your diet:

  • Cook, then cool your starches. This process changes starches and how our body digests them, decreasing insulin spikes and feeding the friendly gut bacteria.
  • Mix it into a glass of water or a glass of cold or room temperature almond milk. It offers a pleasant potato taste and is the simplest way to start adding it into your diet. You can also add it to smoothies. Start with 1-tbsp and work up to 2-tbsp. It’s also (apparently) useful to take before bed.

And staying with us humans, here's where it's my kind of food -

  • Eat lots of prebiotic-rich foods – add raw chicory and dandelion leaves into salads, and aim for eating bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic and leeks every day.
  • Also eat plenty of complex carbohydrates – optimal gut health demands a balanced diet with plenty of nutrient-dense, fibre-rich foods like broccoli, aubergine, courgettes, green beans and asparagus.

What’s not to love? 😉