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Resistant starch in Micronesian banana cultivars offers health benefits.

Resistant Starch (RS) is a type of starch that is resistant to starch hydrolyzing enzymes in the stomach and thus behaves more like dietary fibre. RS has been shown to have beneficial effects in disease prevention including modulation of glycaemic index diabetes, cholesterol lowering capability and weight management, which are critically important for many people in the Federated States of Micronesia. Green bananas are known to contain substantial concentrations of RS and are a common part of the Micronesian diet. Therefore the aim of this study was to determine the RS content in banana cultivars from Pohnpei, Micronesia: Daiwang, Inahsio, Karat, Utin Kerenis and Utin Ruk, for which no such information was available. Utin Kerenis, Inahsio and Utin Ruk were found to contain the highest amounts of RS. The fate of RS after incorporation into a food product (i.e., pancakes) was also studied and a significant reduction in the RS content was found for each cultivar after cooking. Microscopy of the banana samples indicated that the overall morphology of the cultivars was similar. In conclusion, green banana, including these varieties, should be promoted in Micronesia and other places for their rich RS content and related health benefits including diabetes control. Further research is needed to more clearly determine the effects of cooking and food processing on RS.

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