April 08, 2016
There are few edible foods that actually contain resistant starch. So when a food is discovered that contains the highest concentration of resistant starch, not only should that product be celebrated but we should be spreading the superfood word. Green banana flour is the latest food source of resistant starch. Africa and South America have been producing green banana flour for some time now, but Australia has become the latest producer of this still relatively unknown food product.
Resistant starch is also found in tapioca flour and green potatoes. Green potatoes are not a good idea to source resistant starch and tapioca flour is not processed to preserve resistant starch. So when I discovered an Australian organic green banana flour nearly 3 years ago, I was excited to give it a go.
Not only is this latest superfood gluten and grain free, it is the highest source of resistant starch of any food product in the world. Other green banana flours have either been heat treated whilst processing, to make it easier to remove the skins, or the bananas have been allowed to ripen more on the tree, again to make the skin removal a lot easier.
So firstly...Why resistant starch?
The CSIRO have produced a great study on resistant starch.
Resistant starch is resistant to digestion because it is digested in the large intestine instead of the small intestine. It also most importantly a prebiotic, meaning it is food for the gut microbiome. While we are continually increasing the probiotic enriched foods in our daily diet, we are still eating a relatively high processed diet. The healthy bacteria needs to be fed in order to continually proliferate and protect the immune system.
While the CSIRO's study focused on a grain product that they produced, I choose to eat a grain free diet as much as possible and definitely a completely gluten free diet. As much as I agree that scientific studies are important, I also believe that when testing if a product is right for your body and diet you need to test and measure in your own daily diet.
Many of the other health benefits to resistant starch are lowered blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol (triglycerides) levels, an increase in mineral absorption, particularly calcium and therfore a reduced chance of developing Osteoporosis.
Resistant starch can reduce inflammation in the large intestine and feed the cells lining the colon wall. The by-product of the healthy gut flora produces short chain fatty acids called butyrate. These fatty acids are then food for the cells in the colon wall reducing the chance of inflammation and reducing the risk of bowel cancer.
Resistant starch when consumed regularly will continue to promote weight loss by feeling fuller for longer.
So that's the scientific part, my own personal story testifies to these facts.
Three years ago I was admitted to hospital with a serious Crohn's flare up. I had only recently been diagnosed and had been managing my health relatively well with a combination of medication, diet and lifestyle. During this visit my entire large intestine was removed leaving me to re-evaluate how I thought about and consumed food.
My body no longer removes water from the foods I eat.
Since the large intestine is where the gut microbiome live my question has been where does my gut flora reside? I stopped asking that question a year ago and just got on with knowing my can and cannot foods. Not only do I need to know what I can eat, but also how.
When I drink a smoothie the water from the fruit and vegetables are not removed. I needed to work out how to drink smoothies, juices and even soups. There can be major food groups I would avoid otherwise. So when I discovered green banana flour I rejoiced at the freedom I could now have with whole foods, but when I discovered how easy it was to bake with this amazing superfood, my life changed.
Lucky for you I have been baking with green banana flour for nearly 3 years now. I have learnt from my mistakes and developed a large database of banana flour recipes.
But don't just listen to me, do your own reading about resistant starch. I follow the evidence (or science) based approach to nutrition, if you have more questions about resistant starch before adding it to your daily diet visit another one of my favourite websites, Authority Nutrition. They discuss here the types of resitant starch and where it can be found. I should add here that green banana flour is a type 2 resistant starch (RS2). RS2 will form into a type 3 resistant starch (RS3) once heated over 90C, but amazingly will reform back to an RS2 again at 90C. Since we eat hot food, at most around 70C, the RS2 is still present in the baked foods we can produce from green banana flour.
Over the coming months I will be sharing these recipes loved by my family and friends and some of the tips I have learnt when baking for a gluten and grain free diet.
I hope I have helped explain why green banana flour is a must try for everyone's diet.
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