The healthiest starchy foods come from a variety of grains and vegetables. They have often been vilified for the sugar that comes with it. However, starch is an important part of nutrition and there is a fine line between the good and the bad kinds of starch. This is what makes it even more important to know your starchy foods well.
What are Starchy Foods?
Starch is a component of carbohydrate and is present in carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes or pasta. It has been a part of the human diet for centuries. Any grain or vegetable which is rich in carbohydrates will be a source of this substance.
The starch that fulfills dietary requirements and is healthy for us comes mainly from sources of complex carbohydrates. It is also present in processed foods like bread which are sources of simple carbohydrates, but they are not as beneficial to us. While starch may not meet all our nutrition requirements, it does keep you satiated and acts as a source of dietary energy. Hence, choosing the right source of starch becomes important.
Apart from fulfilling dietary requirements directly, starch is also used in industrial products, edible or otherwise. The starch industry is involved in making glucose syrup, caramel, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrins, and isoglucose. Other uses of starch include antifungal body talcs, detergents, paper, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, and animal food.
8 Best Starchy Foods
Here are the top starchy foods that you can incorporate in your daily diet.
Potatoes are primarily composed of carbohydrates. Depending on the type of potatoes, the content of starch will differ. However, what makes them one of the best starchy foods is that it could be your source of resistant starch. It the starch which ferments in the large intestine to act as a prebiotic, thus giving you some unexpected health benefits. To enjoy this, potatoes are best had cooked and cooled. Apart from this, potatoes are also rich in vitamins B and C.
While they are a versatile ingredient that can not only keep you full, thanks to the starchy carbohydrates, but they are also capable of fulfilling some nutritional requirements. But too much can flip the situation quickly, so be careful and add them to your plate as a part of a balanced diet, rather than relying on the palate satiety they offer.
Rice, in all its variations, is a staple of several cultures across the world, and thus the primary source of starch. While white rice is commonly used in various Asian cuisines, types of brown rice and wild rice are garnering popularity across the world. No matter the color, cooked and cooled rice is also a good source of resistant starch, similar to potatoes.
One of the starchiest wholegrains, rice is also a good source of fiber. Moreover, it is also gluten-free, and thus available for people with gluten intolerance. Preparation possibilities with rice are virtually infinite, and almost all of these are yummy. Rice starch is also traditionally used as a fabric stiffener.
Sweet potatoes are looked at as a healthier potato, and to some, it is also more flavorful. Apart from starch, they have a high fiber content as well. This makes it more suitable for people with cardiovascular or metabolic conditions, as compared to regular white potatoes.
However, with its high nutritional value, it is also important to keep its quantity in check. Be sure to have a reasonably sized portion after considering your health conditions.
Whole grains refer to a wide class of grains, where each one is rich in starch. However, the variety in taste, as well as the nutrients that each one provides, is an added pro. Some of the options on this list are
Whole grains are essentially these or other grains in their whole form, the way they appear as a seed. This includes the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. From here on, they can be prepared in numerous ways. You can bake them into bread, or cook them to complete your meal. Some of these contain gluten, and people with celiac disease should choose carefully.
All types of bread are mainly carbohydrates, which means it is full of starch. The best kind of starch source would be one that offers an optimized bouquet of other health benefits or at least does not do any further harm to your health.
An array of bread options are available today, from the basic white which is low on fiber to sprouted, multigrain, and also several traditional varieties such as pita and naan. All these not only good accompaniments to the protein on your plate, but they are also very enticing. But be careful, for processed bread is not the best choice for your weight or cardiovascular concerns.
Legumes include beans, peas, and lentils. While their starch content is considerable, they are primarily known as a good source of protein. In their various forms, legumes find a place in cuisines around the world. Lentils are made into nutritious soups in the Indian subcontinent, whereas edamame is a popular Japanese export to the world. Beans are also popularly found in Latin American cuisine.
They are a vibrant option for vegetarians and vegans, as these are sourced entirely sourced from plants, are highly nutritious, appetizing, and have little known side effects.
Bananas & Green Bananas
While the overall benefits of green bananas and ripe bananas can differ, they are both a rich source of starch. The difference we need to know is that green bananas are a source of resistant starch, which means they are capable of acting as a prebiotic. If you haven’t already tried, now is a good time. They can also help lower insulin levels.
Nonetheless, if you are looking for a good combination of starch and fiber, you can also give ripe bananas a try. They’re sweeter, and a great addition to your breakfast. Or have it as a quick snack with a small dollop of nut butter.
Tapioca is the extracted starch of cassava, which is the root of the cassava plant. It originates in the hot and humid tropical regions. To add starch benefits to your diet you can either have cassava as chips or other preparations. You can also opt for tapioca, whose most popular use these days is in bubble tea, but you can also use it in puddings.
To have a full, healthy diet, it is important to include all nutrient groups, including starch. While there is a lot of negatives associated with it, having it in a balanced manner can keep you healthy. Preferably, look for locally available starchy foods and balance them with other foods as well.