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What Are Starch Resistant Foods, and Why They Are Good For You

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Most of the carbs you consume, such as those in grains, pasta, and potatoes, are starches.

Some types of starch are resistant to digestion, hence the term resistant starch.

However, only a few foods contain high amounts of resistant starch.

Furthermore, the resistant starch in foods is often destroyed during cooking.

 Close up of bread

Sometimes a small part of it passes through your digestive tract unchanged.

In other words, it is resistant to digestion.

This type of starch is called resistant starch, which functions kind of like soluble fiber.

Many studies in humans show that resistant starch can have powerful health benefits.

This includes improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite and various benefits for digestion.

Below are 9 foods that contain high amounts of resistant starch.

1. Oats Oats are one of the most convenient ways to add resistant starch to your diet. Three-and-a-half ounces (100 grams) of cooked oatmeal flakes may contain around 3.6 grams of resistant starch. Oats, a whole grain, are also high in antioxidants (11). Letting your cooked oats cool for several hours — or overnight — could increase the resistant starch even more.

2. Cooked and cooled rice

Rice is another low cost and convenient way to add resistant starch to your diet.

One popular preparation method is to cook large batches for the entire week.

Not only does this save time, but the resistant starch content is also increased when the rice is left to cool over time.

Brown rice may be preferable to white rice due to its higher fiber content. Brown rice also provides more micronutrients, such as phosphorus and magnesium (12Trusted Source,

3. Some other grains

Several healthy grains, such as sorghum and barley, provide high amounts of resistant starch (11, 14Trusted Source).

Although grains are sometimes mistakenly believed to be unhealthy, natural whole grains can be a sensible addition to your diet (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).

Not only are they a great source of fiber, but they also contain important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6 and selenium (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).

4. Beans and legumes

Beans and legumes provide large amounts of fiber and resistant starch.

Both should be soaked and fully heated to remove lectins and other antinutrients (19Trusted Source).

Beans or legumes contain around 1–5 grams of resistant starch per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) after they’ve been cooked (11, 20).

Good sources include:

  • pinto beans

  • black beans

  • soybeans

  • garden peas

5. Raw potato starch Potato starch is a white powder that looks similar to regular flour. It’s one of the most concentrated sources of resistant starch, with about 80% of the starches in it being resistant (11). For this reason, you only need 1–2 tablespoons per day. Potato starch is often used as a thickener or added to:

  • smoothies

  • overnight oats

  • yogurt

It’s important to not heat the potato starch. Instead, prepare the meal and then add the potato starch once the dish has cooled. A lot of people use raw potato starch as a supplement in order to boost the resistant starch content of their diet.

6. Cooked and cooled potatoes If prepared correctly and left to cool, potatoes are a good source of resistant starch (11). It’s best to cook them in bulk and allow them to cool for at least a few hours. When fully cooled, cooked potatoes will contain significant amounts of resistant starch. In addition to being a good source of carbs and resistant starch, potatoes contain nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C (21Trusted Source). Remember not to reheat the potatoes. Instead, eat them cold as part of homemade potato salads or other similar dishes.

7. Green bananas Green bananas are another excellent source of resistant starch (11). Additionally, both green and yellow bananas are a healthy form of carbs and provide other nutrients such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source). As bananas ripen, the resistant starch transforms into simple sugars such as:

  • fructose

  • glucose

  • sucrose

Therefore, you should aim to buy green bananas and eat them within a couple of days if you want to maximize your resistant starch intake.

8. Hi-maize resistant starch Hi-maize resistant starch is also referred to as hi-maize fiber or hi-maize flour. It’s made from corn. Like potato starch, hi-maize resistant starch is a very condensed form of resistant starch. It can be easily added to yogurt or oatmeal. Most commercial varieties of this product may be composed of 40–60% resistant starch. The remainder is mostly digestible starch (24Trusted Source). 9. Other cooked and cooled starchy carbs Cooking and cooling other starches will increase their resistant starch content (25Trusted Source). As with the food sources discussed above, it’s best to heat them and then allow them to cool overnight. This can be applied to most of the food sources discussed in this article (such as rice and potatoes) as well as pasta, sweet potatoes, and corn tortillas (1, 11, 26). One time-saving technique is to prepare a large batch of pasta, rice, or potatoes over the weekend, then cool them and eat them with vegetables and proteins for complete meals during the week. Last medically reviewed on September 17, 2020 Written by Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN — Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D., Nutrition — Updated on September 18, 2020


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