Rice and potatoes have long been termed as the metaphoric villain for those trying to stay fit and healthy. That is because these two food items have a high glycemic index that increases the risk of diabetes and weight gain. But, should you avoid them completely? Perhaps, not! According to lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho, they “can actually be good for you if consumed the right way and with the right cooking methods.”
In an Instagram post, he wrote, “Our approach towards handling any gut issue is vast and considers every single aspect of your lifestyle that could be building or destroying your gut. One of them is the use of resistant starch.”
So, what can you do to make rice and potatoes friendly for your blood sugar, gut, and weight? “Cook and cool them in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours,” Coutinho suggested.
This is because cooking, followed by cooling, turns them into a rich source of resistant starch. “Cooling changes the chemical structure of foods like potatoes and rice, making them harder to digest. This delays digestion and absorption, lowering their glycemic index,” he explained.
Sharing the properties of resistant starch, the expert noted:
*It ‘resists’ the breakdown of starch into sugar in the small intestine and moves to the large intestine.
*There, it ferments and feeds good gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). “This is where the magic happens,” Coutinho wrote.
*SCFAs further break down into butyrate, which helps improve intestinal integrity, reduce inflammation and populate the good gut bugs.
Due to these features, resistant starch has the following benefits.
*Has a lower glycemic index.
*Reduces impact on postprandial blood glucose levels as compared to easily digestible carbs.
*Improves insulin sensitivity.
*Works as a prebiotic.
*Improves absorption of minerals.
*Boosts liver function.
“This makes resistant starch a preferable choice for diabetes, insulin resistance, obesitymetabolic syndrome, gut health and immunity,” he said.
Agreeing, Dr Vidhi Dhingra, Senior Dietician, vHealth by Aetna said, “When it comes to diabetes, we mostly avoid potatoes and rice, which are rich in starch. But, if we include these foods in moderation and try the cooling post-cooking rule, it helps in increasing resistant starch which may reduce the glycemic index and, in turn, improve insulin sensitivity.”
“Cooking and cooling rice for 8-10 hours can indeed help you. Cooled rice has more than two times the amount of resistant starch than freshly cooked rice. The resistance starch helps boost gut health, which means an increase in the good bacteria that help decrease levels of constipation. It also improves the body’s ability to respond to insulin. This means lower risk of insulin resistance and its accompanying diabetes chronic diseases like type 2,” functional nutritionist Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder, iThrive, added.
While the same is true for potatoes, Pradhan mentioned that potatoes also have antinutrients in them. As such, “it is recommended to reduce the number of potatoes consumed daily,” she told indianexpress.com.
Another way to make them healthier is by cooking and cooling them overnight before reheating them in the morning as this method “causes the lowest rise in sugar as compared to other forms”, Dhingra said.
According to Coutinho, some other sources of resistant starch include:
*Cooked and cooled potato
*Cooked and cooled rice
*Cooked and cooled oats
*Raw green bananas or plants (naturally occurring)
*Pulses and legumes
*Cooked and cooled pasta (wholegrain preferably)
*Starchy vegetables Sweet potato, yams, corn
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