Top 5 Healthiest Starchy Foods

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Starchy foods often have a frightful reputation, but they’re not all bad, as a matter of fact, the right kind is great. Starch is a type of long-chain carbohydrate that takes a while for your body to digest—longer than pure sugar anyway. This gives you a steadier energy level as your system slowly turns them into sugar, which is your body’s primary energy source. If you’re looking for super healthy starchy foods, aim for ones that are minimally processed and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

5 Corn

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Don’t despair if you truly love grilled corn on the cob on a summer afternoon. It can, after all, be a healthy part of your diet. Just don’t load it up with butter and salt. Corn is a starchy type of vegetable that gives you about 3 grams of fiber and nearly 5 grams of protein from just 1 cup. Need more reasons to get another spoonful of corn? You’ll even get a bunch of potassium; vitamin A for healthy eyes; and antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin and selenium, to keep you healthy.

4 Quinoa

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Quinoa is often served as a grain, but it’s actually a starchy type of seed that is cooked and served hot like rice. It is one of the most beneficial types of starchy foods because of the amount of protein you gain from one steamy side—more than 8 grams of protein in a 1-cup prepared portion. As an added bonus, quinoa has lots of bone-strengthening minerals, including calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

3 Oatmeal

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Oats give you phosphorus for strong bones, a slew of B vitamins and even a touch of iron for oxygen transportation in your blood. But not all types of oatmeal are particularly healthy, and it’s not a matter of instant versus whole oats. Instant oats are whole grains that are pressed in a way to make them cook more quickly. Flavored varieties are the problem, because they are full of unnecessarily large amounts of sugar. Whether you are always on the go and need instant oats that cook fast or prefer the texture of steel-cut oats, keep oatmeal as healthy as possible by opting for a plain variety. Pile on fresh berries and honey for flavor.

2 Whole-Grain or Multigrain Bread

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All breads have starch, but not all breads are created equal. If it’s fluffy and tastes like white bread even though the wrapper says “wheat,” it’s most likely heavily processed and relatively low in fiber. True whole-grain and multigrain breads are dense, list some kind of grain as a top ingredient and have plenty of fiber. Some varieties have more than 2 grams of fiber per slice—2.5 times as much fiber as processed breads.

1 Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes are a hidden source of several B vitamins—folate, choline, B-6, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid—that work together to jump-start your metabolism. Sweet potatoes are also jam-packed with potassium, even more than bananas. Potassium is the electrolyte mineral that helps your body maintain a steady fluid level, a necessary function for making your heartbeat. A medium 4-ounce sweet potato gives you more than 10 percent of your potassium requirement for the entire day.

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