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Why you should have PREbiotics every day

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Ever had green banana flour? Here's why you should try it....

Most of you have probably heard about the importance of prebiotics or resistant starch in our diet to feed the good gut bacteria, but some of you might wonder… what the hell is resistant starch? And yes I did mean PREbiotics not probiotics even if my computer keeps on auto-correcting that word!!!

As the word PRE suggests, these nutrients actually are feeding the PRObiotics (the actual bacteria) which will then produce the POSTbiotics (beneficial metabolites like butyrate that our bacteria are producing from the fiber in our colon and that are needed for nutrient absorption). That’s how the gut ecosystem works - isn’t that fascinating?

Butyrate is the preferred energy source of the cells lining the colon and it also plays a number of roles in increasing metabolism, decreasing inflammation and improving resistance.

So resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate or prebiotic that our gastric juices and digestive enzymes cannot break down in the stomach or small intestine. So they actually reach our colon undigested - yes you could say that they have been “resisting” digestion.

You might be thinking: that sounds suboptimal, so why is that so great?

  1. You’re eating carbs but without taking up most of the calories and therefore they're also not spiking your blood sugar or insulin.

  2. The good bacteria in our colon love these resistant starches so if we eat them, we are feeding these good bacteria in our gut! And the more of the good bacteria we have, the better our ecosystem which means we have a strong immune system and a happy brain which means a base for happy hormones, less inflammation, anxiety etc.

  3. They will help bind and expel the bad bacteria

  4. Resistant starch may encourage the production of the enzymes involved in estrogen metabolism and may support a healthy estrobolome. Many of the enzymes required for estrogen biotransformation are also used in the clearance of xenoestrogens and other toxins. So it can be beneficial for those struggling with estrogen dominance.

  5. They'll help improve the integrity and function of the gut ecosystem

  6. Consuming resistant starches will increase satiety

The focus here is on resistant starches not starches: every carbohydrate contains starch but only some carbohydrates contain resistant starch.

There are 4 types of resistant starch:

Type 1: grains, seeds & legumes: the starch is bound inside of the cell walls of the plants is physically inaccessible.

Type 2: potatoes, green bananas & plantains contain starch with a high amylose content, which is indigestible when raw.

Cooking these foods will modify the starch, so that make it becomes digestible and remove the resistant starch.

Type 3: is actually what you can obtain from type 1 or 2 foods after you cooked and cooled them. If you would cook rice for instance and eat it right away, there will be no resistant starch in that rice. However, if you put it in the fridge and then eat it either cold or at room temperature, you will maintain the resistant starch. The same applies to potatoes, quinoa, and lentils or other grains & legumes. Heating at higher temperatures will again convert the starch into a form that is digestible to us rather than “feeding” our gut bacteria.

There’s a 4th type that I wouldn’t recommend though: it is a highly processed form that you can find in cooking aids like Maizena or « hi-maize » (it’s an isolate derived from corn).

In a nutshell: how can you incorporate this in your daily meals?

So in the end, you could conclude for the sake of simplicity that there are 2 types (that matter for you):

  1. eat your grains, potatoes, plantains and legumes cooked and cooled

  2. use green banana flour in a smoothie, nut milk or (plant-based) yogurt

There are other types of prebiotics that our bacteria need to thrive, however most of these are high in FODMAPs and are therefore often problematic for people, especially when suffering from IBS or leaky gut. And resistant starches are not, that's why they're a preferred source everyone can use....

  • fructo-oligosaccharides (FOSs) ->found in Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, garlic & onion, they can cause gas in many people

  • galacto-oligosaccharides (cow's milk)

  • glucomannan -> found in konjac root

  • acacia fiber

  • inulin

Fiber and resistant starch can upset your digestive tract if you are not used to it, so if you incorporate these, do it gradually.

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