What Foods Can Help Increase Your Butyrate Levels?

Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the gut and promotes cell differentiation. We get Butyrate and other short chain fatty acids from eating foods that are high in resistant starch (or supplementing Butyrate). Resistant starch is a type of starch that’s quite literally “resistant” to digestion — your body can’t break it down. Once resistant starch arrives in the colon intact, good bacteria feeds on it, producing Butyrate — which provides essential energy to the cells that line the colon walls, also known as colonocytes.

Types of Resistant Starch

There are four types of resistant starch.

RS Type 1 is physically inaccessible, bound within the fibrous cell walls of plants.  Note that only plants have cell walls surrounding their membranes; animals have only cell membranes. This type of resistant starch is embedded in the coating of seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes.

RS Type 2 is a starch with a high amylose content, indigestible in its raw state.  Potatoes, unripe bananas and plantains reside in this group…until they’re cooked. 

RS Type 3 is retrograde, called this because it transforms into resistant starch when cooked and then cooled, like white potatoes and white rice.it reverts to its resistant form after being cooked and then cooled.  If reheated to a temperature lower than 130° F, it maintains its resistant nature and is able to feed colonocytes.

There does exist a Type 4, but it’s synthetic and not recommended for human ingestion.

Benefits of Increased Resistant Starch and Butyrate

The throes of inflammation have been linked to most, if not all, chronic diseases, from heart attack to stroke to type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer. Chronic, low-grade inflammation is fueled by excess body fat, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and dental disease, these being a characteristic of Western society more than of developing areas of the world. The acute inflammation of a puncture wound brings heat and redness to the site, where signaling molecules launch the healing process with a cascade of protein chemicals that initiate an immune response. In acute inflammation, this riotous activity will stop; in chronic inflammation, it will not.

Butyrate is a savior in the deluge of harmful chemicals that breed from chronic inflammation. Its deficit may present as epigastric discomfort, indigestion and flatulence, colorectal disease, inflammation of the gut lumen, insulin resistance, obesity, atherosclerosis, and more. Although supplemental butyrate has been a boon to integrative, and even allopathic, medicine, its endogenous manufacture is available—and free—to those who eat the right foods. The matter here is that we don’t eat enough fiber that resists digestion.

Foods High in Resistant Starch To Increase Butyrate

Dairy

Dairy contains butyric acid, and some foods contribute to its manufacture. Butter offers about 2.7 grams in a stick and parmesan cheese about 730 mg in 3.5 ounces. As tasty as it is, eating a quarter pound of butter is not recommended.

Cold Rolled Oats

If you'd like to add some interest to your resistant starch regimen, try overnight cold rolled oats. Just put the oats into a mason jar or other suitable glass container and cover with non-dairy milk (but not soy) or plain water. Refrigerate overnight. Add berries and/or cinnamon, if you like. This cold recipe will give you 8 grams of resistant starch. Cooked oatmeal eaten hot offers about half a gram of RS.

Legumes

Butyrate is produced during the fermentation of undigested dietary fibre such as resistant starch and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) found in legumes. Beans, peas, and lentils (and their skins) are a good source of fiber and resistant starch, making them beneficial for digestion. As with many foods in this category, their butyrate levels increase when cooled after cooking.

Cooled Potatoes

Potatoes contain resistant starches when cooked, then cooled.

Cooled Rice

Rice, when cooled for at least 24 hours, causes starch retrogradation.

Underripe Bananas + Plantain Flour

When choosing bananas, go for the green. They may be tough to eat but they are higher in resistant starch. Plantains are more resistant to digestion so trying plantain flour may help increase levels of Butyrate.

Not exactly appetising is it? You can also get resistant starch from whole grains, fibrous vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli stems, the peels of some fruits, like apples, and other cellulose sources.

All gut microbiomes are not equal. That means we cannot make the same butyrate levels as our friends. Trying to get 25 grams of fiber a day is a noble venture, but one that seems elusive to the best intentions. Any food that supplies twenty percent of that is considered a high-fiber comestible. And there’s a start for making your own butyrate.

Bottom line: most of us don’t eat enough resistant starch to increase butyrate levels, making supplementation a good choice.

For more, look here: What On Earth Is Butyrate?