Originally published January 18, 2017.
You’d never guess that belly-friendly green banana flour is the key ingredient in these luscious, super chocolaty brownie bites! Get the recipe and learn about the gut health and nutrition benefits of resistant starch.
What is resistant starch?
Resistant starch is a type of starch resistant to digestive enzymes in the small intestine. It functions similar to soluble fiber and provides food for your gut microbiome, making it an essential addition to a healthy diet.
When the good bacteria in our guts feed on resistant starch and dietary fiber, they produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFA’s are acetate, propionate, and, perhaps the most important one for digestive health, butyrate.
As the preferred source of energy for the cells of the large intestine, butyrate production may protect against colon cancer. In addition, it may be beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
In addition, it helps decrease intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Thus, butyrate has potential therapeutic implications for autoimmune disease, heart failure, and fatty liver disease.
Importantly, because resistant starch ferments slowly in the large intestine, individuals with IBS may tolerate it better because it leads to less gas formation than other foods high in fermentable fiber. It’s also low FODMAP.
(Read more: Leaky Gut Diet: What to Eat and Not to Eat)
Good news! Adding resistant starch to meals increases satiety and fullness, which may aid in weight loss by helping people eat fewer calories.
Resistant starch has also been found to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels, potentially decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, further research is needed because not all studies have shown the same benefits.
Besides green banana flour, what other resistant starch foods should you be eating?
There are 5 different types of digestive starch, most of them occurring naturally in our food supply, and some added as functional ingredients. While unripe bananas contain some of the highest levels of resistant starch, other starchy foods and whole grains (ditch the white bread!) to eat regularly include:
- Uncooked oats
- White beans and other beans
- Raw potatoes and cooked and cooled white potatoes (sweet potatoes too!)
- Cooked and cooled pasta and brown, black and white rice.
- Hi-Maize flour
- Refer to this list and this list for more resistant starch foods.
What is the optimal amount of resistant starch to consume?
Research suggests 6 to 12 grams of resistant starch at a meal may improve insulin and blood glucose levels. And, studies suggest a resistant starch intake of 20+ grams per day may be necessary for a robust gut microbiota and digestive health benefits.
Also, keep in mind that resistant starch decreases during cooking. Therefore, to get the full health benefits of these foods, you should eat them cooked and cooled or in their raw form. (Except for lentils and beans, which you should cook to avoid potentially toxic lectins.)
Recipes with resistant starch foods
- Lemony Kale Pasta Salad with Pistachio Nuts
- Creamy Gluten Free Pasta Salad
- Roasted Nicoise Potato Salad
- Sprouted Rice Salad with Pomegranate, Feta, Pine Nuts. and Fresh Herbs
- Low FODMAP Cherry Tomato and Forbidden Rice Salad
- Healthy Lentil Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- Crunchy Lentil Tacos with Avocado Feta Guacamole
- Easy Lentil Salad with Kale, Cherry Tomatoes, Almonds, and Lemon Vinaigrette
- Chocolate Overnight Oats with Warm Vanilla Strawberry Sauce
- Gluten Free Muesli with Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Chai Spices
References + Further Reading
- Maier TV, Lucio M, Lee LH, et al. Impact of Dietary Resistant Starch on the Human Gut Microbiome, Metaproteome, and Metabolome. mBio. 2017;8(5):e01343-17. Published 2017 Oct 17. doi:10.1128/mBio.01343-17
- Weisenberger, Jill. Resistant Starch-This Type of Fiber Can Improve Weight Control and Insulin Sensitivity. Today’s Dietitian. 2012 September. Vol. 14 No. 9 P.22
- Patterson M, Maiya M, Stewart M. Resistant Starch Content in Foods Commonly Consumed in the United States: A Narrative Review. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2020; 120: 230-234
Inspiration for these Green Banana Flour Brownie Bites
I first tasted green banana flour brownies at the Natural Products Expo West. They were SO GOOD! So, I purchased a bag of green banana flour and came up with my version of these no-bake Green Banana Flour Brownie Bites. Note: If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, you can buy green banana flour online at Amazon.
They’re no-bake, gluten-free, vegan, and grain-free, and they take less than 10 minutes to make. So if you have a sudden chocolate craving coming on, I promise you MUST make these ASAP! Even better, not only are they delicious, they’re super nourishing too. Win, win!
Craving more belly-friendly energy bites? Try these yummy recipes!
Green Banana Flour Brownie Bites
- Melt chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl, on high power, in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir, and microwave for an additional 30 seconds, or until chocolate chips are fully melted. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Combine banana flour, chopped pecans, cocoa, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minutes then add melted chocolate chips to mixture, and process for an additional 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape side of bowl as needed, until mixture is very fine fine and crumbly.
- Using clean hands, form mixture into 8 ~ 1 inch balls, and place them on a serving dish, or in a storage container. If not consuming all of the Brownie Bites right away, you can store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 week,
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Did you learn anything about the health benefits of resistant starch in this post? Have you tried green banana flour? Do you have questions about resistance starch? Are you craving chocolate today too???