The basics of resistant starch foods and cooking them


Barley is just one high resistant starch food that can help your diet. Image: Flickr / daryl_mitchell / CC-BY-SA

Resistant starch foods, simply put, contain lots of starch that is not easily digested. The theory is that resistant starch foods are “better” calories and help you feel full for longer.

Resistant starch foods theory

The theory of resistant starch foods is that the sugar in some starches is “better” than others. Foods usually break down into several elements – fat, carbohydrates, fiber and nutrients. Carbohydrates include sugar and starch and are often vilified in diets. Sugar is quickly digested and rapidly absorbed into the body, providing energy or being stored as fat. Resistant starch, on the other hand, is a carbohydrate that is not easily broken down or stored. It’s not quite fiber, which does not break down, but it isn’t as easily absorbed. This helps you feel full longer and helps you stick to your diet.

What are resistant starch foods?

Resistant starch foods are usually foods that also contain a lot of fiber. Whole grain breads and grains contain the most resistant starch as a group. Navy beans, bananas, yams and oatmeal all also have resistant starch. Pearl barley, brown rice and lentils also have a lot of resistant starch. There isn’t really anything on the list that is generally considered “unhealthy” — but if you are trying to stay low-carb in your diet, resistant starch can be a “cheat” that doesn’t ruin your diet.

Cooking to eat more resistant starch

Resistant starch foods can be difficult to incorporate into an everyday diet because they take longer to cook. The whole grain or complete fiber and starch takes longer to break down, but also means it takes more cooking. The good news is, crock pot meals are practically perfect for resistant starch cooking. Switching to whole grain bread rather than white bread can increase your fiber and resistant starch intake. Start breakfast by cooking two parts water with one part oatmeal and some dried fruit in a crock pot overnight on low.For  dinner, beans, lentils, brown rice or whole barley combined with broth and vegetables makes for a high resistant starch meal that is tasty and easy.


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