Grains, Starchy Vegetables, and Your Health

Grains, Starchy vegetables and your health

Grains and starchy vegetables are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet when chosen correctly and consumed in reasonable portions. 

Many of them are also excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (health beneficial substances).

What are starchy food items?

Starches occur naturally in a large range of foods including nutrient-rich foods like:

  • Root vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Cracked wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Pearl barley
  • Quinoa
  • Oats

Starch is also found in refined products such as:

  • Cornflour
  • White bread
  • Many breakfast cereals
  • Potato crisps
  • French fries
  • Rice crackers/cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Pastries

What is resistant starch?

Resistant starch is a polysaccharide that is not digested in the small intestine instead, fermented in the large intestine. They are ‘resistant’ to digestion. The digestion process of resistant starch is slower and longer in comparison to regular starches.

Since it goes through the stomach and small intestine undigested and digested in the large intestine, this process of resistant starch is long and slow. It supports beneficial bacterias in the gut and increases satiety.

Which starches have high amounts of resistant starch?

  • Cooked and cooled rice
  • Cooked and cooled pasta
  • Green, unripe bananas
  • Beans and lentils
  • Cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Overnight oats

What does whole grain mean?

The term “whole grain” means that the product contains all three parts of the wheat grain, and at least 51% of the serving is whole grain ingredient.

Look for products that claim to contain 100% whole grain, and that have whole grain listed as the first few ingredients on the list. 

How much whole grain should I eat?

Women should consume about 70 grams of whole grains per day, and men about 90 grams. 

The brand, type and composition of the product will change the amount of whole grains you consume. 

Amount of Whole Grains in Common Food Items

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