My journey to gut health started when my Littles was less than 2 weeks old. I recall her painful screams that would last between 5 to 10 minutes. With it being so random, it was hell. Health professionals deemed it normal but I found otherwise…

The dietary influences from my diet shaped my human milk ogliosaccarides (HMO) as I noticed almost immediately her pained cries stopped once I increased my probiotics and prebiotics, specifically with green banana resistant starch powder from Amazon and unsweetened coconut yogurts.

My experience came from finding any publications that presented promising results of how to grow beneficial bacteria (such as Bifidobacteria and Akkermansia) and the correlation between mom and breastmilk. Now I’m writing this as I ‘discovered’ specific areas of health that wasn’t taught to my people, but the knowledge was imbedded in traditional foods…

What Is Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is a complex carbohydrate that passes through the small intestine into the large intestines where it slowly ferments in the colon. Our gut bacteria then consume these prebiotics to turn them into several types of short fatty chain acids (SFCAs) which provides additional health benefits.

The type of gut bacteria that munch on these fibers are commonly seen in indigenous populations who eats a diet rich in resistant starches. Members of the Clostridiaceae, lachnospiraceae, ruminococcaceae, and Prevotellaceae families then produce groups of short fatty chain acids called butyrate, acetate, and propionate.

Because resistant starch resists digestion, instead of turning into sugar, it becomes a preferred energy source. This is a type of starch that paleo and plant based communities should look into.

The Types of Resistant Starches

Most topics about resistant starch is usually general information and lack the diversity of sharing other cultural foods pertaining to American Indian, African, Caribbean and other eumelanin diets.

We want to be healthy using our foods too! Therefore we gotta talk about it.

Many of these food sources can be found in Caribbean, South American, Indian, and Asian stores that’s nearby to you. The benefit of these traditional foods is that they are usually less commercialized and have a higher nutritional profile than standardized foods too.

For example, breadfruit contains 3x MORE potassium than a commercialized organic banana!

What’s not mentioned are ancient varieties of corn, cassava, burro bananas, asian sweet potatoes, and even taro contains high levels of type 2 and 3.

Type 4 are one of those ‘ingredients’ I do my best to avoid.

Health Benefits for Resistant Starch

The average eumelanin (black or brown) populations in the Western world do not have our ancestral’s diverse gut flora anymore. Many of us adapted or were forced to incorporate potent antibiotics, dairy, infant formula, and medications that negatively impacted overall health.

The prevalence of disease are often misdiagnosed and not treated properly which results in our population to have higher mortality rate, as it is documented we are less likely to seek medical attention or be attended to.

  • Colon cancer is one of the top 5 cancers that the Black Americans are commonly diagnosed with. We are 40% more likely to die from this disease.
  • According to Minorityhealth, in 2018 Black people are 60% more likely than non-Hispanic adults to be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Black adults and children are more likely to have severe cases of eczema and it’s is common within our ethnic group compared to others.

The average American, not considering the black diet, eat around less than 5g of resistant starch a day. Our people habitually used to eat around 30g and above a day. And it makes sense that these illnesses are not as prevalent in groups who primarily stuck to their diet without too much influences from western induced changes to the environment and indigenous lifestyle.

So when we talk about the benefits, resistant starch has high potential in remedying these multifactorial diseases.

The introduction to the health benefits of resistant starches starts from maternal nourishment via the placenta. After our babies are born, we nourish our babies from breastmilk. The third largest component called Human Milk Oligosaccarides(HMOs) functions like fiber by bypassing their digestive tract and feeding our heavily influencing our baby’s gut microbiome. All these benefits we see in adulthood start from youth! So it’ll only make sense that we see adult-like symptoms in infants if they were not given that chance to reap the benefits from infancy.

There’s a correlation between HMO and maternal diet in my post Does fiber pass through breastmilk? Yes and here’s why… with solutions for restoring ancient bacteria for breastfed and formula fed babies. In breastfeeding spaces, we often leave out formula fed babies when their parents need solutions too. A lot of the deficiencies or side effects from formula can be remedied with a diet close to their ancestors that prioritized nutrient densed foods through childhood years.

Resistant starch health benefits for digestive health, mental health, and general health

With continuation of these plant foods from the womb into adulthood, we reap the rewards of having a functional digestive system for overall wellness.

Our digestion system is one of the main causes to disease, or bodily dysfunctions.

  • Decrease disease like cardiovascular disease
  • Improves insulin sensitivities
  • Balances “good” and “bad” fat
  • Helps absorbs left over nutrients in the colon
  • Boosts immune system
  • Vitamin production
  • Protect against kidney disease
  • Strengthens the gut-brain axis
  • May help shrink endometrial lesions

The main health benefits is the increased amount of SCFAs produced by the bacteria in the colon. These fatty acids may relieve or remedy modern chronic illnesses relating to the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, and detoxification system.

Our children will benefit from these foods as well. Especially since a good chunk of them, like mine, favor starchy foods anyway.

Everyone will benefit, but consider these benefits if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or formula feeding, struggle with insulin resistance, poor fecal matter output, from a ethnic group who are a diet high in this fiber, moderately impaired gut and colon wall, aiming to improve cognitive function, menstrual dysfunctions, asthma and overall health.

The health benefits surrounding resistant starch is pretty extensive in relation to indigenous diets. I will later discussed as I continue to update.

Little studies shows direct modulating effects of fiber in mice, however the overall health benefits improves the longevity of our young.

Resistant Starch Tips

The resistant starch content varies and I will talk on that soon. I’d like to share some real advice I take to ensure I get the most amount of resistant starch.

It’s normal for us to be on the go or have our lazy moments. Sometimes cooking, cooking, then reheating just ain’t doable sometimes and I get it.

There are yam, cassava, green banana, raw potato and green plantain powders (or supplements) that can be added to thick beverages like smoothies, soup thickeners, or used in baking. Depending on the powder and brand, cooking temps may vary. Banana and plantain powders are sensitive to heat so it’s best to heat around 130 degrees or below.

Nuts, beans, and seeds are great for resistant starch but some may have digestive problems that may worsen from its high phytic acid (and other phytochemicals) levels. I tend to make sure I maintain above the RDA limit of vitamin D, A, C and iron for less impact. I also purchase sprouted or “charged” nuts and seeds as well. For my beans love to use dawadawa (locust beans) for several traditional West African cuisines as an alternative to natto. This means I receive some additional vitamin K2 mk-7 (biggest benefit for me is that it stays in the body longer than mk-4!).

As I am on a low “anti nutrient” diet temporarily and avoiding potent molds (seen in wheat and oats). I do have some root veggies as I prepare in particular ways. One of the root veggies I use are Japanese white, Yukon, or Russet potatoes. Reheating does not affect much, but eating them cold or allowing it to sit after refrigeration preserves the most amount of resistant starch compared to reheating. But reheating is still not bad!

If you are strictly avoiding all anti-nutrients primarily seen in root vegetables, then your best choices of high resistant starches would come from starchy fruits like green plantains or bananas, breadfruit, and American Indian winter squashes! Another thing I noticed is those with IBS, endometriosis and or sensitivity to nightshades like potatoes, they have better success with the fruit anyway.

For gluten free, phytic acid free diets, my top 2 choices are basmati rice for containing the lowest arsenic levels and sticky rice that are grown in low arsenic soils (California, USA and India) which contains the most amount of resistant starch in this category. To maintain the most RS it’s best to reheat below around 175 °F. The type of rice and specific cooking methods (steaming, pressure cooking, or stir frying) does seem to improve RS compared to simply boiling. So something to think about when incorporating rice. I currently source both rice from Whole Foods using reputable brands Lundberg Sushi rice and aged basmati rice.

Resistant starch can be potent for some. The average intake of RS for the Standard American Diet (SAD) is around 5g. Depending on any existing conditions and whole food you consume, it’s usually best practice to start off slow then increase intuitively OR instructed by your care provider. Hydration is our best friend to mediate the side effects (bloating, gassiness, etc) so I personally take it alongside my resistant starchy foods.

Resistant starch is one of the most underrated conversations around indigenous health and I think it’s time we talk about. Soul food is heavily integrated in Gullah Geechee and Louisiana creole techniques that paved a foundation of survival tactics while in captivity and it is an honor to still use their techniques to break down these health problems.

So tell me, what are your thoughts about resistant starch so far?

About the Author Sol Divyne

Sol Divyne is a multi-cultural mother who practices intuitive, traditional, and ancestral living in modern day life. Using the knowledge of her Geechee grandma and aunt, she focuses on raising her daughter with old and modern traditions. She figured with her discoveries and passions she could help other families with and without her community on spreading awareness of low tox and cultural living by documenting her findings on GeecheeGreenHouse

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