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Have you ever heard the term “resistant starch” and thought, “wait…resistant what?”.  It can be hard to keep up with all the new topics in gut health but resistant starch is something worth knowing about.

Keep reading to find out what resistant starch is and how it can help improve your gut health.

What is resistant starch?

Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that, just as the name suggests, resists digestion. This means that it is not broken down in the small intestine to be used by our bodies for energy like other carbohydrates. Instead, it travels to the large intestine where it feeds the helpful bacteria in your gut.

Why is it good for my gut?

When our gut bacteria digest the resistant starch, they produce something called short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). These SCFA’s benefit the health of our gut by:

  • Lowering inflammation
  • Providing energy for the cells that make up the gut lining and helping keep the gut barrier strong
  • Reducing risk of colon cancer

Where do I find it?

Foods that are high in resistant starch include:

  • Bananas or plantains
  • Beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas
  • Potatoes
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Barley

How do I make sure I get enough?

A good goal is to eat 1-2 cups (250-500 mL) of resistant starch rich foods every day.

Follow these tips to increase your resistant starch intake:

  • Cook and cool foods before eating to increase the resistant starch content.
    • Even if you reheat the food before eating, you keep the extra resistant starch benefits.
    • Prep a large batch of rice, oats, roasted potatoes or other resistant starch rich food at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge for quick and easy meals.
    • Enjoy cold dishes like potato salad, quinoa salad with chickpeas or banana overnight oats.
  • The greener the banana, the higher the resistant starch content.
    • If you don’t like your bananas on the greener side, try blending them into a smoothie rather than eating them whole. You won’t notice the difference in taste.
  • Resistant starch rich foods are sometimes also high in insoluble fibre or other types of carbohydrates that may not be tolerated in large amounts if you have active IBD or IBS.
    • If you aren’t used to eating these foods, make sure to increase the amount slowly and monitor your symptoms.

Now that you know resistant starch can help keep your gut happy and healthy, how will you increase your intake?

Nutty Banana Overnight Oats
  •  2/3 cup (40 g) uncooked oats
  • 1 cup (250 mL) almond milk or oat milk
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup or honey
  • 2 Tbsp (60 mL) almond butter
  1. Combine all ingredients together and stir well until combined.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight until liquid is absorbed and the oats are soft.