Keeping Gut Microbes Happy with Resistant Starch

Your intestines are home to some 100 trillion microbes. Most are bacteria and the vast majority live in the colon or large intestine. A thriving colony of bacteria is good for your health since these microbes are linked to lower risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Bacteria feed on certain types of carbohydrates, including the resistant starch found in beans. Resistant starch bypasses digestion in the small intestine and travels intact to the colon where bacteria ferment it for energy. A byproduct of this fermentation is a group of compounds called short-chain fatty acids which may have a host of protective functions. Short chain fatty acids are linked to appetite regulation, improved glucose metabolism and a lower risk for colon cancer. It’s one more way that including beans in meals helps protect against chronic disease.

For more information about how beans nourish a healthy gut, see our Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit handout.