If you are filling your grocery list with foods that are good for your gut health, chances are you have leafy greens and probiotic yogurt in your cart. While these foods are very good for your gut, you are not going to want to go to the self-checkout without also getting a lot of white potatoes. That is right, it turns out that the humble spud is the unsung gut health giant.
While sweet potatoes have had a good health reputation for a while, but white potatoes are usually overlooked as a nutrient-rich food. The food has more potassium than bananas and it’s a great source of magnesium, vitamin C vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus and folate, but all of this has not gotten it the media in the health world it deserves.
Maybe the news that these white potatoes are directly connected to helping the gut will finally do the trick. The connection among white potatoes and gut health is in fact one that nutritionists are now talking about.
White potatoes and gut health
The relation between gut health and white potatoes mostly comes down to one thing: resistant starch, which the food is filled with.
Resistant starch is a form of a carb that is resistant to digestion. So much like fiber, it cannot get broken down enzymes in your small intestine.
Instead, it goes to your large intestine where it works like a prebiotic, or like a food source, for your gut bacteria.
The bacteria in your gut feed on this resistant starch and then ferment it. And then short-chain fatty acids are created during the process, in particular a short-chain fatty acid named butyrate.
Butyrate is among the short-chain fatty acids inside—the other two being acetate and propionate—that are created when bacteria in your large intestine ferment the resistant starch.
This gives an energy source to your gut, protects your lining, and controls your intestinal inflammation. Have you heard of leaky gut? It’s a gut disease that happens when your gut lining breaks down, allowing bad substances to leak into your bloodstream. Butyrate helps keep your gut lining strong so this does not happen.
Author: Scott Dowdy