Starchy foods are rich providers of complex carbohydrates. They are a potent source of fiber essential to facilitate digestion. Besides, starch ought to constitute a third of a well-rounded meal.
Carbohydrates are one of the most vital nutrients required for growth and nourishment of the body. There are three common types of carbohydrates: (1) Sugars; (2) Starch; and (3) Dietary fibers. Starch, also known as amylum, contains a large number of glucose units held together by glycosidic bonds. It is considered to be the most important carbohydrate in the human diet, as man is largely dependent on starch for obtaining maximum energy needed to carry out different life processes. About one-third of the daily diet ought to comprise starchy foods.
All green plants have the ability to produce starch as an energy store. Depending on the plant, starch contains, approximately 20 to 25% amylose with the rest being amylopectin. Starch that is obtained from plants is digested by the human body, with the help of an enzyme known as gastric amylase. The digested starch is then stored in the animal cells in the form of glycogen.
Foods Rich in Starch
|Cereals and Grains||Starch (100 g)|
|Rye flour (whole)||75.9|
|Wheat flour (brown)||66.8|
|Wheat flour (white)||76|
|Beans and Lentils||Starch (100 g)|
|Black-eyed beans (dried, raw)||47.5|
|Chickpeas (whole, dried, raw)||43.8|
|French beans (raw)||0.9|
|Lentils (green, brown, whole, dried)||44.5|
|Red kidney beans (dried, raw)||38|
|Soy beans (dried, raw)||4.8|
|Broad beans (frozen, boiled)||10|
|Nuts and Seeds||Starch (100 g)|
|Macadamia nuts (salted)||0.8|
|Pistachio nuts (roasted, salted)||2.5|
|Starchy Vegetables||Starch (100 g)|
|Sweet potato (boiled)||8.9|
In the table above, we are referring to true yams. They should not be confused with any variety of sweet potatoes.
Reference: McCance & Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods.
Other Starchy Foods
Many processed foods contain a high amount of starch. However, they are loaded with preservatives and additives. Besides, they do not have the nutritional value to contribute to your well-being, though they may be deemed popular picks to lure the taste buds. Mentioned herein are the famous few.
- Fruit Toppings
✘ People believe that starches take longer to be assimilated and digested. — This, however, is not the true picture. There are a number of foods high on the content of starch that easily break down in the body. The food-producing industry has modified its functioning positively, by providing higher degrees of processing for a majority of food items. Besides, the nutritional goodness of these foods, too, does not suffer a ditch.
✘ Another misconception concerning starchy foods is that all foods containing starch are fattening. — Well, the fact is, if you increase your portion size of consuming foods high in starch, or wrap them up with additives rich in fat, will you contribute to weight gain. However, if you are proportionate with your consumption, there ought to be no debate about the same. Besides, starch, or complex carbohydrates serve as energy-providing sources for the body.
Healthy Starch in Your Diet
✔ Include whole grain varieties in your diet. They are rich in fiber, which provides the roughage necessary to keep your digestive system functioning efficiently. Besides, consuming fiber helps you reach the stage of early satiety during meals — a potent method to lose weight.
✔ Make porridge your best bet to good health and a fresh start to the day. Besides, a bowl of oats coupled with fruits makes for a sumptuous breakfast.
✔ If you are a bread lover, ensure you pick a variety of them. Don’t ignore the wholewheat, wholemeal, seeded, and brown bread varieties as they provide energy, and ample vitamins and minerals. Besides, it contains a good amount of fiber, too, important to keep your bowels healthy. Know that white bread, too, contains the essentials; however, it falls short of the fiber content.
A single food item cannot fulfill all the nutritional requirements of the body. One needs to include a variety of items that comprises a diet rich in carbohydrates and starches, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Balancing the diet in this manner is the key to good health.