Resistant Starch 101 – A Superfood for the Digestive System
Resistant starch is a type of starch that does not break down (it literally “resists” digestion), instead of being absorbed as glucose like most starches. Resistant starch travels through the small intestine to the colon where it is turned into beneficial, energy boosting, inflammation squashing short-chain fatty acids by intestinal bacteria.
There are actually hundreds of different species of bacteria in the intestine. In the past few decades, scientists have discovered that the number and type of bacteria can have a profound impact on health.
Resistant starch feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine, having a positive effect on the type of bacteria as well as the number of them.
When the bacteria digest resistant starches, they form several compounds, including gases and short-chain fatty acids, most notably a fatty acid called butyrate.
So… when we eat resistant starch, it ends up in the large intestine, where the bacteria digest it and turn it into short-chain fatty acids. The most important of these short-chain fatty acids is butyrate. Butyrate is actually the preferred fuel of the cells that line the colon. Therefore, resistant starch both feeds the friendly bacteria and indirectly feeds the cells in the colon by increasing the amount of butyrate.
Resistant starch has several beneficial effects on the colon. It reduces the pH level, potently reduces inflammation and leads to several beneficial changes that should lower the risk of colorectal cancer, which is the 4th most common cause of cancer death worldwide.
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