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Foods such as fruit, sweet potato, pasta, buckwheat, rice, and cassava are all rich in carbohydrates and can cause problems with things like, increased triglycerides levels and more accumulation of fat. The reason for this is because digestive enzymes break down the starch chains and release glucose molecules. Glucose is rapidly absorbed in the intestine and is either used by the body to generate energy or, if there is excess glucose, it’s stored.
Many people have chosen to completely cut out these foods because of this. Luckily though, you don’t have to do this. The latest research has shown that we can actually influence the glycemic index of these foods in a very simple way.
Lowering the glycemic index in the kitchen
Some useful techniques:
- Let food cool after cooking.
- Or better yet, cook them a day ahead of time.
- Freeze food. For example, there are already studies that show if you freeze bread and then take it out a little before eating it, that it will have a lower glycemic index. Just toast it in the toaster for a couple of minutes and Voila!
- Potatoes, and sweet potatoes have a higher glycemic load when fried or baked comparted to when boiled.
- If you cook potatoes with the skin on, their glycemic index is lower than if you cook them peeled.
So, what do we get by doing this? We allow the food to pass through the small intestine without being stored as glucose. That way, it reaches the large intestine, where it feeds the microbiota, “good bacteria”. The body absorbs these foods more slowly,leaving you feel more satiated and helps to avoid diseases like diabetes.
Don’t worry: even if you cook potatoes the day ahead, you can still reheat them and they’ll be just as good.
Lowering the glycemic index at the table
Starting a meal with a salad is a good idea. The fiber in this super dish will buffer the glucose absorption of what you eat next.
Combining the correct carbohydrates with other kinds of food could be the key to slowing down that glucose spike. For example, if you combine carbohydrates with foods high in fats and proteins, the natural absorption of glucose in the body is slower. Therefore, foods such as olive oil, nuts or yogurt help lower the glycemic index of other foods such as bread or fruit.
My three favorite combos:
Choosing versions with a lower glycemic index
- Fiber: this slows down the digestive process, and lessen the amount of sugar that enters the bloodstream. Choosing wheat bread and rice instead of white ensures that glucose levels don’t rise.
- Whole foods: Eating a whole orange takes time to digest and assimilate in the body. It passes into the bloodstream slowly compared to orange juice, which produces that unwanted glycemic spike.
By following the above techniques the starch in these foods is crystallized and therefore resists the digestion process and becomes soluble fiber, with a prebiotic effect- which is beneficial to our body.
Here is a list of the healthiest foods that are rich in resistant starch:
Legumes (peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans…)
Benefits of Resitant Starch:
- Reduces blood glucose levels.
- Increases the feeling of being full.
- Improves inflammation : bacteria in the large intestine transform this resistant starch into butyric acid, a fatty acid that reduces inflammation in the body and also prevents cancer.
- Improves insulin resistance:this process is especially useful for diabetics and people with insulin resistance.
- Improves the health of the microbiota.
- Helps burn more fat.