The most impressive health benefits of arrowroot include its ability to promote growth and development, enhance digestion, boost the metabolism, ease stomach issues, promote weight loss, prevent birth defects and treat urinary tract infections. Additionally, it also boosts oral, skin and hair health.
What is Arrowroot?
Arrowroot is not technically a plant in itself, but rather a type of powdery starch that can be readily obtained from the roots or rhizomes of the Marantaceae family of plants. This high nutrient density starch has been very valuable to a number of indigenous cultures dating back more than 7,000 years.
Arrowroot powder, also known as arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch can be a healthier alternative to the common cooking ingredients for bread, pasta, and cakes. Generally, arrowroot flour is used as a replacement for corn-starch as a healthier alternative. It is also gluten-free, which makes it all the more valuable today with the rising incidence of celiac disease in many countries.
Arrowroot is a rich source of carbohydrates, vitamin B9, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorus. It also has trace amounts of zinc and iron, as well as vitamin B1 and B6. Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids are also found in it in negligible amounts. In addition, it contains fibers and some proteins and lipids too.
Health Benefits of Arrowroot
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the many health benefits of arrowroot.
Dietary fiber is one of the most important parts of our digestive process, as it helps move food through the bowels in an efficient manner, while also stimulating the uptake of nutrients. It can eliminate issues of constipation and diarrhea, and manage blood sugar levels to prevent the onset of diabetes. Finally, dietary fiber can help to clear out excess cholesterol, further promoting cardiovascular health.
Improved Heart Health
The significant levels of potassium found in arrowroot mean that it can be a definite line of defense against heart-related issues. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes the tension in the blood vessels and arteries, thereby lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Potassium is also known as a cognitive enhancer, promoting the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain.
Safe for infants
The starchy content and mild flavor of arrowroot make it a safe ingredient in baby foods including teething cookies for babies. It poses little to no risk of allergies and is ideally a gum-soothing food.
Fights Salmonella Virus
It fights various foodborne pathogens such as salmonella virus, preparing the body’s defense system against various diseases and disorders. Researchers have demonstrated the antibacterial effect of the use of arrowroot tea extracts on soups.
Lower Birth Defects
One particular member of the B family of vitamins is folate, and it is found in high levels within arrowroot. Studies have shown that folate is important for expecting mothers, as it can help to prevent neural tube defects in their unborn child. Folate is also an important factor in DNA synthesis and healthy cell division, thereby promoting rapid healing and healthy growth.
Reduced Stomach Concerns
Celiac disease seems to be the new global pandemic, and as the numbers continue to climb around the world, people are seeking a gluten-free alternative to traditional starches and wheat. Arrowroot is a gluten-free substance, making it very popular in recent years, as it can prevent the gastrointestinal discomfort, pain, and danger that those handling a gluten intolerance must face every day.
Growth and Development
Arrowroot has a good amount of protein present in it. By increasing our dietary intake of plant proteins, which are easier to process than animal proteins, we can guarantee healthy growth and development.
Arrowroot is extremely low in calories as compared to other starches like yams, potatoes or cassava. For this reason, people trying to remain on a diet can get complex carbohydrates and a wealth of nutrients, as well as a healthy dose of dietary fiber, which can eliminate the desire to snack between meals. Arrowroot fills you up and gives you the minerals and vitamins your body needs.
It is a natural sweat-absorbent, therefore, used in cosmetics and powders. Its topical application also helps in curing blemishes, rashes, and other wounds.
Treats Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a common skin infection of the feet caused by fungus. You can use arrowroot powder to treat this infection by applying it to the affected area. The powder has the ability to absorb moisture and sweat, which makes it difficult for the fungus to grow and spread.
Arrowroot powder is also used as a dry shampoo by many. Its moisture-absorbing ability is useful in reducing the greasiness in hair.
Treats Urinary Tract Infection
The anti-inflammatory properties of arrowroot aids in curing bladder infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Doctors advise its intake to those women who face frequent infections.
The essential minerals present in arrowroot are very good for fighting weakness, fatigue, and cognitive disorders. It also encourages oxygenation of your body’s organ systems and extremities, which can boost your energy levels.
The high concentration of vitamin B within arrowroot makes it an important enzymatic and metabolic substance. The B-vitamin family is very important in regulating processes throughout your body, from hormonal release to circadian rhythms, meaning that you never want a deficiency in that department! The rich source of calcium ash present in it is also vital in maintaining the acid-alkali balance in the body.
Arrowroot is a popular traditional remedy for inflamed, painful gums, and sores in the mouth. It helps to provide a relief and soothing effect, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Buy & Store
- Buying: Arrowroot is available as a powder in its standard form, and is commercially known as arrowroot flour. It turns translucent, odorless, and jelly-like when added to boiled water. When purchasing it from supermarkets ensure to check its authenticity as cheaper brands may adulterate it with substances like corn-starch, tapioca, potato powder, etc.
- Storing: Do not refrigerate it. Store it in cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.
Arrowroot has been used traditionally for various medicinal, agricultural, and other applications:
- Topical application of arrowroot powder heals wounds from black spider and scorpion bites
- The powder was used to treat the injury from poisoned arrows, hence, the name
- Apply the powder in the affected area to seize gangrene
- Directly apply arrowroot powder to the gums or mix it in juice or other beverages and drink it to get relief from mouth and gum pain
- The rhizome can be fertilized to form compost
- Shoot tip and leaves are used as feed for chicken, pigs, and goats
- Sauce thickener
- Thickener in infants’ formula
- Leaves can be used as biodegradable plates
- Natural deodorant
- Replaces wheat in various gluten-free products
You can eat it raw, roasted, boiled or stewed without losing the potency and nutrients. Here are a few quick serving tips:
- Prepare crunchy fries by dipping potatoes in salt pepper and arrowroot powder and then fry them
- It can be substituted for eggs as a binder
- Use it as a food thickener for better consistency
- Mix this flour to give better shapes to pastries, biscuits, and cookies
Word of Caution: Care should be taken when consuming arrowroot to alleviate diarrhea. Because excess intake or consuming along with other medication may cause constipation. Other than that, there is no known danger or toxicity to arrowroot.