Starchy foods provide your body with lots of energy and nutrients. Carbohydrates are naturally high in starch and most of the food items in our kitchen have starch in them. It is normally believed that rice and potatoes are the richest in starch, but many fruits and vegetables also have starch in them. Starch is not always harmful to health as it plays a vital role in a nutritious and balanced diet. They also offer a range of vitamins, and fibres that are essential for our overall health and energy levels. Let’s learn about the various types of starchy foods, why they are beneficial for you, and also the risks associated with their consumption.
Types of Starchy Foods:
- Whole Grains:
Various types of whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, and oats, are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They promote digestion, provide energy, and lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Root Vegetable:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, and potatoes are a few examples of root vegetables that store high levels of starch in them. These types of vegetables are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fibres which are essential for our health. Root vegetables are also a potent source of complex carbohydrates and should be included in your daily diet.
Legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are enriched with healthy starch. They are packed with protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Legumes are a valuable source of plant-based protein that helps reduce cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, and satiate you.
- Processed Starches:
Processed starches such as white rice, white bread, and pastries should be consumed in fewer quantities as they are not healthy for daily consumption. These food items are often ripped off their fibre and nutrients due to rigorous refining and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Processed starches should not be consumed frequently as they lead to unhealthy weight gain and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Benefits of Starchy Foods:
Starchy foods are an excellent source of carbohydrates, and they provide energy. These types of foods help us with daily activities and physical exercise. Many starchy foods are highly rich in dietary fibre that aids in digestion, heals constipation, and gives a feeling of fullness. A diet rich in unprocessed starchy foods has various health benefits. It reduces the risk of heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, and controls weight gain.
- Risks of Starchy Foods:
Regular consumption can lead to excess weight gain, spike blood sugar levels, and increase the risk of chronic diseases. It’s essential to limit the consumption of white bread, cookies, cakes, white rice, packaged cereals, etc. Starchy foods are cooked in a healthy manner which reduces their nutritional values. Some people have allergies and are sensitive to specific starchy foods like wheat or gluten-containing grains. It’s essential to identify these restrictions to maintain a healthy diet.
In a nutshell, the Glycemic Index in starchy foods raises blood sugar levels and can lead to rapid blood sugar spikes, while those with a low GI provide more stable energy. To manage blood sugar levels, choose starchy foods with a lower GI.
Choose a diet that is well-balanced by including a variety of starchy foods, along with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, for better health and overall well-being. Remember to strike a balance to enjoy your food as well as get the benefits of starchy foods and be mindful of the risks, especially when it comes to processed and refined starches.