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Don't Bother Resisting: Certain Starches Are Good

The right carbs can help with weight loss, gut health and more

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Green ­bananas are an excellent source of resistant starch, which has numerous health benefits.
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While carbs get a bad rap when it comes to health and dieting, there are certain members of this food family that provide resistant starch (RS), which offers a slew of weight loss and health benefits, according to nutrition experts. 

“Resistant starch lowers blood sugar ­after a meal, helps ­reduce appetite, is anti-­inflammatory, improves gut health, and may even help prevent colon cancer,” Jamie Kane, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine in New York, tells Consumer Reports.

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RS is a dietary fiber naturally found in many carbohydrate-rich foods, including grains, beans and potatoes. It gets its name because it "resists" digestion in the body, Prevention reports. 

RS keeps your microbial balance healthy, and provides a greater proportion of “good” to “bad” gut bacteria, nutritionist Martica Heaner writes for Consumer Reports. RS passes undigested through your small intestine, where the ­nutrients are absorbed, and then goes to the ­colon, where it fuels your body’s good bacteria.

Healthy gut microbes help almost every organ in the body, including the gastrointestinal and immune systems, Kane said. Blood sugar (glucose) levels also rise more slowly after meals with RS, which helps the body better use insulin, potentially helping to manage type 2 diabetes control and weight.

Grab some green bananas

RS can be found in whole grains and seeds, legumes and under­ripe bananas. Green ­bananas are actually the best source of resistant starch, Heaner writes. As the fruit ripens and turns yellow, the starch turns to sugar. 

Certain cold dishes are also an option for RS. Pasta, potatoes and white rice are good sources of RS that forms when foods are cooked, then cooled. The process ­alters the chemical structure of the carbs in these foods and provides health benefits.

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