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Starch-containing foods

In a healthy and balanced diet, carbohydrates play a very important role, which are divided into three broad categories: dietary fibers, sugar, and starch . The latter is essential due to its high glucose content, so that it provides the energy that the body needs for its proper functioning, both physically and mentally.

What is starch?

Starch is the only complex carbohydrate that the digestive system can assimilate. Its composition is the result of the union of two polysaccharides: amylose and amylopectin. In food it comes in granular form, very similar to a white powder that is made up of a set of microscopic particles.

It is a substance with special characteristics since it is difficult to hydrate it in cold water. However, it can be easily hydrated in hot water, which is why the vast majority of starchy foods are boiled. It is interesting to know that when they are cooked in hot water with other foods, starch becomes present in all of them.

One of the most outstanding characteristics of starch is that it is absorbed quickly since it begins to digest as soon as it comes into contact with saliva . It is due to an enzyme called amylase , present in the salivary glands, whose main function is to convert this substance into sugar. That is why for many athletes, foods that contain starch are basic in their diet.

Functions of starch in the body

This plant polysaccharide fulfills a series of very important functions.

  • Energy: through its glucose molecules, starch provides a large amount of energy, both physically and mentally. If the human body does not use this energy, it accumulates inside the cell as glycogen.
  • In shape: one of the great qualities of starch is that it prevents the body from having to use energy from both proteins and fats.
  • Digestive system: the vast majority of foods rich in starch are also high in dietary fiber, a nutrient that improves intestinal transit function.

Starch and its health effects

The starch is a nutrient that is present in many of the food we consume daily: potatoes, vegetables, cereals, etc. Of course, you can also find processed foods rich in this substance, such as pizzas or industrial pastries.

Experts recommend consuming starch in moderation as it can alter in some way the sugar levels in the body, thereby favoring the accumulation of fat.

Some scientific studies carried out in recent years indicate that the starch present in natural foods of plant origin is not always easy for the intestine to digest. There are certain forms of this substance that have a behavior similar to dietary fiber that protect the digestive system from certain diseases. In addition, this nutrient provides a great feeling of satiety.

It is advisable to follow an active and healthy lifestyle . That is, accompany a healthy and balanced diet with the practice of physical exercise.

Resistant starch

The starch resistant has a very similar functioning to that of the fermentable soluble fiber. It is essential for you to feed the healthy bacteria present in the intestine, favoring the production of short chain fatty acids. This translates into an improvement in digestion and the health of the cardiovascular system.

To prepare resistant starch, you just have to let the food rest after cooking so that it has all its properties intact.

The foods richest in resistant starch are.

  • Oats: oats are one of the most consumed products globally. 100 grams contains 3.5 grams of resistant starch, in addition to large amounts of antioxidant substances.
  • Rice: to increase the natural properties of starch, you just have to cook the rice and consume it after 24 hours. Better if it is brown rice since its nutritional value is greater.
  • Legumes: Legumes contain between 1 and 4 grams of resistant starch. The proper way to prepare them is by soaking them well before cooking.

List of foods that contain starch

In relation to foods rich in starch, potatoes, rice and cereals stand out. All of them provide a lot of energy to the body.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are essential foods in a healthy diet as they contain a large selection of essential nutrients , such as vitamins and minerals.

The most starchy vegetables include potatoes, carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, and squash. As for the fruits, it is the banana that has the most starch content followed by the mango and the chestnut.


Cereals are one of the foods with the highest carbohydrate content . Two of the richest sources of starch are wheat and barley. During the milling process, both the bran and the germ of the cereals are practically completely eliminated. Thus, derived products, such as bread or pasta, have a very high starch concentration.


As for legumes , they are very healthy foods for the body as they contain essential nutrients, such as fiber or iron, among others.

Regarding starch, the legumes richest in this complex carbohydrate are beans, lentils and chickpeas.

Bad starchy foods

It is important to choose foods that are low in fat and are high in starch. There are certain processes that are not at all recommended because they come from refined products. This is the case of sweets, breakfast cereals, pizzas, hamburgers and some types of bread.

Can people with diabetes eat starchy foods?

Yes. People with diabetes can add foods that are high in starch to their diet . However, they should always keep your blood glucose level in mind.

In addition, it is important that they choose those foods with greater nutritional value, avoiding those that are processed or that contain added sugars in their formulation.

The cereal grains , much better if they are comprehensive. In this way they obtain all the nutrients present in their composition: germ, endosperm and shell.

Of course, it is always advisable to consult with a specialist about the most recommended foods for a person with diabetes .

The importance of starch in the kitchen

Starch is a nutrient that is present in the vast majority of seeds, with which many of the flours used in cooking are prepared. That is why the vast majority of dishes, especially desserts, are rich in this substance.

It is a great thickener and gelling agent . When it comes into contact with hot water it swells, forming a paste with a gelatinous texture. Thus, it is used in numerous pastry recipes, as well as as a batter to make different recipes.

The starch cold is insoluble, so that the digestive tract is not able to assimilate. Therefore, it should always be cooked at a temperature equal to or greater than 70ºC.
In the market you can find a large selection of varieties of this nutrient. One of the most popular is cornstarch. However, there are also others such as wheat, cassava, potato, etc.

Starch and starch

Although there are those who consider that starch and starch are the same, the truth is that they are two very different substances. The starch has complex features and is present in all seeds.

Its main difference from starch is in the origin. When the extraction is made of cereals, such as corn or wheat for example, the correct name is starch. On the other hand, when the origin is tubers such as potatoes, we speak of starch.


The corn starch is the most consumed in Spain. It offers very important benefits for the body since its nutrient content is very rich: calcium, magnesium, potassium and group B vitamins. It has anti-inflammatory properties and, in addition, it protects the immune system against free radicals , viruses and other microorganisms. It also significantly improves the body’s insulin sensitivity, as well as glucose tolerance.

Taking into account which are the foods that contain starch , it is important to choose those that are healthier, such as legumes, fruits or cereals. To improve starch levels in the body, it is advisable to increase the consumption of foods such as rice and pasta, and reduce that of sauces and meats. In addition, when it comes to consuming cereals, it is better if they are whole.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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