What is starchy vegetables and why does your body need it.
There are two common types of vegetables: starchy and non-starchy. Both types are rich in nutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, thanks to the low carb / no-carb fad, starchy vegetables have been discriminated against. So what is starchy and why does your body need it?
It starts with carbohydrates
“Carbohydrates” is an umbrella term for any organic molecule (the molecules that make up an organism), which contains a series of carbons and hydrogens (hence: carbo- and -hydrates).
They cover everything from sugar to starch to fiber. Yes. You read that, fiber or cellulose is a carbohydrate. It is glucose, a type of simple carbohydrate that produces energy for your cells.
If you take glucose molecules and combine them, they make starch, a complex carbohydrate.
If you take starch and reverse each bond between glucose molecules, you get another complex carbohydrate, cellulose. So you see that carbohydrates are essential for both our cells and plant cells.
Starch = Energy balance
When plants photosynthesize, they make their glucose out of sunlight. Some of that glucose produces energy for plants to grow, to sprout leaves, to produce flowers. Excess glucose is stored.
Some plants, like starchy vegetables, store their glucose in a more stable form. They pack glucose into starch and stick to tubers underground.
You may know the tubers, also known as potatoes, yam, turnips or “root vegetables.”
Starchy Vegetables are healthy
While it is unhealthy to consume large amounts of refined sugar, it is very healthy to consume plenty of starchy vegetables.
They naturally contain high levels of antioxidants that protect their cells from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, a side effect of photosynthesis.
When we (humans) eat these plants and their tubers, we inadvertently consume antioxidants, along with all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals.
Eat vegetables, not processed foods
Starchy vegetables have another advantage over refined starch products (such as white bread), and they contain a lot of fiber. Fiber helps with digestion and stimulates the absorption of nutrients.
All the vitamins that companies artificially incorporate into white bread are not efficiently used by your body because fiber is very low in white bread.
But if you eat a yam, the starch for energy helps you absorb all the vitamins and fiber in the yam!