Dr. Jamie Kane, from Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine in New York, discusses the benefits of some carbohydrates and suggest that they shouldn’t all be shunned. He states that “resistant starch lowers blood sugar after a meal, helps reduce appetite, is anti-inflammatory, improves gut health and may even help prevent colon cancer.” Whole grains, some legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils), green bananas and cold pasta contain resistant starch.

Resistant starch (and fiber in general) helps keep your microbial balance healthy, so you have a greater proportion of good to bad gut bacteria. When you eat resistant starch, it passes undigested through the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed, to the colon. In the colon it becomes fuel for our body’s healthy bacteria. Dr. Kane explains that “our gut microbes are involved in nearly every organ system from the endocrine to the nervous to the GI and immune.” Resistant starch helps improve the protective lining of your intestines, which helps reduce inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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