In this article, you will find out why you should cool potatoes before eating them. But to understand it, you must first determine some concepts such as, for example, what starch is. We could define starch as the glucose reserve of some foods such as legumes, cereals, and tubers. This starch is digested in our small intestines and absorbed in order to provide energy to our bodies.
Starch is a tree-shaped molecule made up of thousands of glucose linked together. To understand its shape, we could compare it to a string of pearls. If starch were a necklace, each bead would be a glucose molecule. Because of this compact structure, these foods store large amounts of glucose.
When we ingest them, during the digestion of the starch, the different collars are broken, leaving free the beads (glucose) and it is when we can absorb them very easily and quickly. What happens? If there is an excess of glucose, these pearls are converted into triglycerides and, if we accumulate too much, it leads to overweight and obesity, among other effects.
RESISTANT STARCH CHANGES EVERYTHING
But there is a scenario in which our body is not able to break down these glucose balls and therefore, it is said that starch resists the digestive process. This starch is called resistant starch. This situation in which starch cannot be digested is very positive for our bacteria because it becomes a great prebiotic. In addition to this benefit, resistant starch causes the percentage of glucose in the blood to be lower.
There are 5 different types of resistant starch, depending on how it acts in our body. In current studies, scientifically, resistant starch type 3 is recognized as the most beneficial food for our intestinal bacteria and that, among other benefits, it helps to prevent pathologies such as type 2 diabetes or obesity.
HOW CAN WE OBTAIN RESISTANT STARCH?
When raw, the starch is hard, but once cooked, it acquires a gelatinous texture and softens. When stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours after cooking, it begins to change its molecular structure and that is when it changes from a starch to a resistant starch. To do this, it is sufficient to:
- Cook the potato. Better if it is whole (not cut in pieces) and with skin.
- Drain the potato and, once cold, put it in the refrigerator overnight, at least.
- It is already a resistant starch! To consume cold or heat but without exceeding 130º.
Once the potato is cooled, if it is heated to high temperatures, the structure will change again and, once again, it will be absorbable and lose its benefits. It is recommended to cook and cool with the skin on because it prevents oxidation of the potato and converses its texture.
WHICH FOODS GENERATE THE MOST RESISTANT STARCH?
Some foods generate more resistant starch than others when cooked and cooled. These are:
– Potatoes, especially the purple variety.
– The rest of the tubers.
To a lesser extent, although cooked and cooled they are also transformed into resistant starch, we would find:
– Cereals and derivatives such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or amaranth, among others.
– Legumes such as peas, lima beans, beans, etc.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF RESISTANT STARCH?
– It enhances the prebiotic effect, favoring our microbiota. The resistant starch knots are not digested and pass to our entire intestine, which serve as food for the “good bacteria” of the intestine.
– It reduces the absorption of carbohydrates and, therefore, makes this glucose unavailable to us (preventing it from being transformed into fat). On the other hand, it is available to enhance the prebiotic effect.
– It improves inflammation due to the action of butyric acid that protects the colon and improves inflammation.
– It decreases intestinal permeability, improving the intestinal mucosa and the functioning of the immune system.
– It helps regulate weight through the production of propionate, a healthy fat that bacteria produce thanks to resistant starch.
– It improves insulin resistance, so it is very interesting for diabetics because it reduces blood glucose levels.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO TAKE CARE OF THE INTESTINE?
A proper balance of the microbiota is not only essential for gut health, but also for extraintestinal health, as there is communication between the brain and the gut. According to Olalla Otero, a doctor and biologist, our intestinal bacteria produce neuroactive substances, such as hormones or neurotransmitters, which are capable of affecting the functioning of the central nervous system.
Therefore, Otero continues, stress sustained over time has a direct impact on the composition of the gut microbiota, while our gut “bugs” impact brain function. In short, in addition to providing good food for our gut bacteria, taking care of our emotional and mental health is vital.