One type of resistant starch—there are five types—is found in whole grains and seeds, another in certain legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils) and underripe bananas.
In fact, green bananas are the best source of resistant starch. (The starch turns to sugars as the fruit ripens.)
Unprocessed foods are generally the healthiest way to get resistant starch, but there are exceptions. Pasta, potatoes, and white rice are excellent sources of the type of resistant starch that forms when foods are cooked, then cooled—a process that alters the chemical structure of the carbs in these foods.
Eating them cold or at room temperature can be appetizing, too: Reckon pasta or potato salad.
How much resistant starch should you get? You need to consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, but there’s no such recommendation for resistant starch.
“We don’t really know how much we need because we don’t even really know how to measure it properly,” says Diane Birt, Ph.D., distinguished professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University.
The best way to get enough to reap its benefits is to increase your fiber intake, and to eat foods that contain it.
What about resistant starch supplements (notably from potato starch)? “It’s hard to get too much of a nutrient when you get it in food,” Birt says. “But with supplements we don’t know how much is too much, and they may interfere with absorption and bioavailability of other nutrients.”
And when you get resistant starch from foods, you get many other vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting compounds along with it. Plus, some evidence suggests that the other fiber in foods works along with resistant starch in beneficial ways.
Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the November 2017 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.
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