Starch is a type of carbohydrate, also referred to as a complex carbohydrate since it is made up of long chains of sugar molecules. Starchy foods include peas, corn, potatoes, beans, pasta, rice and grains. Starches are a more concentrated source of carbohydrates and calories than fruits, nonstarchy vegetables and dairy, but many of them are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet when chosen correctly and consumed in reasonable portions.
There are three types of carbohydrates: fibre, sugars and starch. While many weight-loss diets suggest heavy restriction of starch and other carbs, the notion that carbohydrates themselves are fattening is a myth. Many starchy foods are highly nutritious and bring valuable benefits to a healthy diet
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel source. After you eat, your digestive system converts them into glucose, or blood sugar, which your body uses to energize your tissues, cells and organs. Whatever is leftover is stored in your liver and muscles for later use. As a complex carbohydrate source, starchy foods, often simply called starches, tend to be high in fiber — a carbohydrate that promotes healthy digestive function and blood sugar control.
Complex carbohydrate sources break down slower than simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and juice, providing longer-lasting energy and fullness between meals. Luckily for us, most of the foods we consume here in Nigeria are starchy foods. As a matter of fact, in Delta state, starch is a very common food consumed with Banga Soup.
Foods high in starch include legumes, such as beans and lentils, vegetables, such as potatoes and butternut squash, and grains, such as rice and flour. Whole foods containing starch, including vegetables, legumes and whole grains, are valuable sources of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
However, not all starchy foods are full of nutrients. When grains are refined to make processed foods, such as white flour and instant rice, the starchy part is removed, lessening the its nutritional content significantly. To avoid weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and other risks of eating too many refined grains, limit or avoid foods that list refined grains, such as white or enriched flour, as the main ingredient. Common examples include noodles, cookies, cakes and cornflakes.
In conclusion, starch is good for your health; as long as you consume the good and healthy starches and take them in moderation.