People tend to be scared away from eating starchy foods based on many fad diets for weight loss. The fact is that starches are an important component of our diets and when we choose the right types of starches we gain great benefit from their vitamin, mineral and fibre content and from the energy they provide for our bodies. We need to focus on including starchy foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes everyday.
Some benefits include:
1. Protection against heart disease and strokes- Starches are low in fat, high in fibre and in vegetable proteins and phytochemicals. The soluble fibre found in starchy foods (e.g. oat bran, barley, legumes) has a role in reducing cholesterol and thereby reducing risk of heart disease and strokes.
2. Reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus- Soluble fibres slow the absorption of glucose by delaying transit through the GIT, thereby preventing a glucose surge.
3. Improved gastrointestinal health- dietary fibre enhances the health of the GIT by preventing constipation and GI disorders.
4. Protection against colon cancer- the fibre that we get from whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes helps remove cancer causing agents from the GIT
5. Weight management- starchy foods contribute less energy per bite than fats and create a feeling of fullness.
Try to include at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day and grains at every meal e.g. brown rice, quinoa, oats, rye, wheat, millet, barley. Also make sure to add legumes into your diet such as nuts, seeds, lentils and beans.