Arrowroot is a starchy vegetable obtained from the rhizomes of the tropical plant Maranta arundinacea. It is typically processed into a powder called arrowroot flour that comes with a dense store of energy and used widely in both sweet and savoury dishes alike. Arrowroot is bestowed with a treasure trove of nutrients such as protein, folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium that delivers umpteen number of health benefitting properties. While the qualities of easy to digest, gluten-free, and high on nutrients make it ideal for meeting the nutritional demands of children and older adults, who need milder food.
Arrowroot powder is white and powdery like corn starch but ranks high on nutritional content. This nutrient-dense starch is used as a healthier alternative for baking foodstuffs such as bread, pasta, cakes and serves as a replacement for corn starch. Arrowroot flour blends well with a wide range of ingredients, making this starchy flour a key component in infant formulas and confectioneries.
Tracing its roots, the cultivation of arrowroot started as early as 7000 years ago. An indigenous crop to South America, it is a perennial herb that grows to 3 to 5 feet in height, that has broad, flat, oval-shaped leaves like turmeric. It derived its name from aru-aru meaning meal of meals, in the Caribbean Arawak language, which was a staple food in the Caribbean cooking. While some literature also suggested that name comes from arrowroot’s ability in treating poison - arrow wounds that have potential to draw out the poison when applied to the injury site. Arrowroot is also known by other common names such as Arrowroot Plant, True arrowroot, West Indian arrowroot, West Indian reed, St. Vincent arrowroot, Bermuda arrowroot, Maranta, Obedience plant.
In the Indian subcontinent, it goes by the name Ararutkilangu in Tamil, Kua, Ararut-kizhangu, Koova in Malayalam, Ararut-gaddalu, Palagunda in Telugu, Koove-hittu in Kannada, Araaruta in Hindi, Oriya and Punjabi and Tavakria in Marathi, Ararut, Jakhur, Jukhur in Bengali and Sita Tavakshira in Sanskrit.
Ayurveda Uses Of Arrowroot
The holistic science of Ayurveda values arrowroot plant for treating wounds and an antidote to toxins. Aarota is sweet in taste (Rasa) and cool in effect (Virya) which has the natural potency to pacify Pitta and Vatta dosha, while it offers the body nourishment, strength, improves the quantity of sperm, and maintain electrolyte balance.
The natural cooling traits of arrowroot powder support to soothe irritation and inflammation. While it also has the potential to absorb excessive oil secretion in the skin, clear off clogged pores, and rejuvenates the skin’s complexion.
Some of the potent Ayurveda and medicinal properties of arrowroot include alexeteric that thwarts toxin and infection, anti-dysenteric relieves and averts stomach upset, aphrodisiac stimulates sexual drive, antipyretic subsides fever, depurative works as a purifying agent and hypocholesterolemic diminishes cholesterol levels of the blood.
Ayurvedic health practitioners recommended having about 10-30 grams of arrowroot powder daily, boiled in milk or water to heal health maladies.
Arrowroot is a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, and other vital nutrients that delivers a magnitude of medicinal and therapeutic benefits. It is a starchy root vegetable that is quite similar to yam, cassava, and sweet potato unlike other starchy foods though high in carbs, it is also imbued with essential nutrients. Arrowroot also provides 5 grams of protein per serving than other tubers, which supports normal growth and development. Aside from these, it also packs with folate (vitamin B9), which is essential during pregnancy for preventing birth defects and DNA formation.
Nutritional Value Per 100 gram Of Raw Arrowroot Contains:
Energy 271 kcal
Protein 4.24 g
Total lipid 0.2 g
Carbohydrate 13.39 g
Fiber 1.3 g
Magnesium 25 mg
Phosphorus 98 mg
Potassium 454 mg
Sodium 26 mg
Zinc 0.63 mg
Copper 0.12 mg
Manganese 0.17 mg
Vitamin C 1.9 mg
*Source As Per The USDA
Health Benefits Of Arrowroot Powder
Supports Weight Loss
Starchy vegetables and refined flours are always considered to be a big no for shedding weight, but arrowroot powder is gaining huge popularity and top the list in this category. Arrowroot powder encompasses 32% resistant starch and huge amounts of insoluble fibre that slow the rate of gastric emptying time and keep you satiated. This help to regulate your appetite and lead to weight loss. While it is also a good source of protein that also aid feelings of fullness, curb unwanted hunger pangs and cut down the calorie intake.
Arrowroot powder acts as a potent digestive stimulant and is effective in regulating bowel movement. The natural demulcent effect and high starch content work as a mild laxative that eases irritable bowel syndrome and celiac diseases. Moreover, it is also used as an effective traditional remedy for treating diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal anomalies.
Are you allergic to gluten? Here is your best bet-arrowroot! Arrowroot flour serves as a healthy alternative to wheat flour. The presence of resistant starch in arrowroot makes it suitable for gluten-free diets, treats diarrhoea and bolsters immune health. This versatile flour replaces corn starch and blends easily with all types of flour like almond four, coconut flour or tapioca flour for baking bread, cakes, cookies and other delicacies.
Powerhouse of B-vitamin
B-complex vitamins play a key role in performing several bodily processes and functions. Arrowroot, laden with B-vitamins –riboflavin, niacin and folate. Niacin is highly beneficial for boosting good cholesterol (HDL) levels and lower the risk of heart disease. While deficiency of niacin leads to Pellagra, a disorder categorised by diarrhoea, dementia, dermatitis and death can be effectively combatted by adding this incredible flour in the meal plan.
Furthermore, arrowroot has huge volumes of folate about 338 mcg per serving, facilitating red blood cell formation, cell division and growth and treating anaemia. Apart from this, folate is vital for the normal growth and development of the foetus and prevents neural tube defects in infants.
Struggling with sleep disorders or insomnia? Ensure your diet meets the recommended dose of magnesium levels. Arrowroot heaped with high magnesium content provides you with about 25 mg of magnesium per 100 g serving. Adding this amazing flour to your regular diet plan can help enhance the duration, quality, and tranquillity of a good night's sleep.
Augments Heart Health
Potassium is a vital mineral required for the maintenance of fluid balance in the body. Being a vasodilator, the richness of potassium in arrowroot dilates the blood vessels and arteries. This is crucial to regulate blood pressure and lowers the risk for heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Additionally, the bioactive compounds such as alkaloids, phenolic compounds, flavones and saponins in arrowroot aids in reducing cholesterol levels and maintaining lipid profile in dyslipidaemia patients. Include arrowroot as part of a healthier diet regimen to reap its incredible incentives for boosting cardiac health.
Arrowroot bestowed with a wealth of nutrients including B complex vitamins, iron and copper are essential for red blood cell formation and maintaining blood flow to the vital organs. When vital organs and muscles are supplied with a good flow of blood it averts fatigue, weakness, and anaemia. Apart from this, increased blood circulation to the nervous system enhances cognition, memory, and brain power. Arrowroot-based health drinks are a great workout energy booster that uplift stamina and endurance.
Treats Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the feet, that develops when the foot is exposed to dirty water for a long time or wearing shoes throughout the day. Arrowroot powder when applied topically can efficiently treat an athlete’s foot, which is attributed to its strong antibacterial and antifungal traits.
Improves Kidney Health
A noteworthy amount of potassium present in arrowroot aids in clearing waste and toxins from the kidney. This is crucial to regulate blood pressure and ensure optimal kidney function. Beside these, the anti-inflammatory properties of arrowroot powder help in treating bladder and urinary tract infections.
Enhances Skin Health
Arrowroot enriched with skin healing nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, and protein, treat blemishes, acne scars, rashes, and pigmentation. Using arrowroot-based face mask is valuable for restoring the dead skin cells and bringing back the natural glow and radiance. Furthermore, arrowroot powder laden with bioactive compounds are widely used in beauty care products that helps to sustain moisture and nourishes the skin from deep within.
Arrowroot Vs Corn Starch
Corn starch is a pure starch obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. It is used as a great thickening agent and requires less cooking time. It has a glossy appearance and makes the food cloudy and opaque when added to sauces, making it perfect for stir fry, sweet sauces, and fillings. It also suits for cooking dishes at high temperatures.
Arrowroot starch is used largely in gluten-free cooking and is naturally GMO-free. It is an ideal alternative for corn starch in sauces that have acidic ingredients or products that need to be frozen. Arrowroot gives a glossy texture and a silky feel. In addition, it easily digestible and preferred over flour for corn starch.
Arrowroot Powder Vs Tapioca Flour
Both plants are similar in that they come from tropical tubers, but arrowroot starch is obtained from Marantha arundinacea plant, while tapioca is derived from the cassava tuber. These starches thicken effectively and rapidly, arrowroot holds its thickness in dishes that are frozen and thawed. Tapioca does not retain up to freezing and foods containing tapioca have odd textures when thawed.
Another major difference is that tapioca is better for long cooking than arrowroot, when arrowroot is exposed to heat for longer periods it loses its thickening ability, and the liquids return to a thin, watery state.
Arrowroot is best used for thickening sauces, making puddings, and can easily blend with other starches, to make a wheat flour substitute for cakes. On the other hand, tapioca starch is a beneficial component in dishes that need to be moist and chewy and a great option for pie fillings since it can withstand heat for a longer duration than arrowroot.
Arrowroot can be used in various forms be it thickening sauces and soups or as a binding agent in both sweet and savoury dishes. Arrowroot flour is usually consumed during religious fasting instead of corn starch and other flour.
Arrowroot flour is added to soups, curries to make them thick and give a proper smooth consistency. It is important to make a slurry with water and flour, and then mix it till there are no lumps and add to the gravy. If you add the flour directly to a hot liquid, it will immediately form lumps and will not give a smooth texture. Being a gluten-free flour, arrowroot is largely used for baking gluten-free bread and biscuit.
Arrowroot is a versatile ingredient, and it can be cooked in numerous ways. Try these easy, delicious recipes to relish the wholesome benefits of this nutrient-dense flour.
Arrowroot Nut Cookies
Arrowroot biscuit is a tea-time snack that is relished by one and all in the family, with its simple yet delicious taste.
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup arrowroot flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup softened, butter
½ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped almonds and walnuts
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease baking sheets.
Beat butter and sugar until smooth and then beat in egg and vanilla essence.
Mix all-purpose flour, arrowroot flour, baking powder, nuts, and salt. Add to butter mixture and blend well. Divide dough in half-inch thick.
On a floured surface, roll half the dough out 1/8 thick and cut into 2 ½ inch rounds. Transfer the shaped dough into a baking sheet, prick with a fork.
Repeat the same process with the remaining dough.
Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden brown for 8 to 10 minutes.
Arrowroot flour abounds with an impressive source of thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, and minerals including iron, magnesium, and copper can be best relished by diabetic and heart patients. Huge volumes of antioxidants, vitamin E, and omega fatty acids in nuts enhance brain power, cognition, and memory. It also serves as a healthy cookie for ones with gluten intolerance and celiac disease.
Arrowroot pudding is a simple and amazing desert for naturally cooling the body during the sweltering summer.
3 cups milk
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp grated coconut
3 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Blend the arrowroot powder in half cup milk without forming lumps.
Boil the remaining milk and add the powder mixture and stir continuously for 5 minutes.
Now add sugar and continue stirring for another 10 minutes, be careful not to burn at the bottom.
Add the ghee, coconut and cardamom powder, blend all the ingredients well.
Switch off the flame and trans into a greased mould.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hour and serve chilled.
The rich array of B vitamin aids in energy production, being an abundant source of fibre and protein keeps you satiated, control hunger pangs and aids to lose weight. Milk is a great source of calcium and protein strengthens bones and maintain overall health. Coconut is an amazing source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids that confers to boosts heart and gut health.
There are no contraindications when it comes to consuming arrowroot. It is a naturally occurring starch and is generally safe for consumption for all age groups of people in prescribed amounts. However, excess amounts may result in some adverse effects. When using as a natural remedy to ease diarrhoea, it should not be taken with any medication for diarrhoea, as this may lead to constipation.
Arrowroot abounds with an impressive profile of essential nutrients and bioactive compounds that are beneficial not only for growth and development but also bolsters immunity, promotes digestion and control diabetes. Being a gluten-free starch, arrowroot is a perfect cereal to combat celiac disease, gluten intolerance and enhances overall health. This humble tuber has been used since times immemorial for its magnitude of health benefits and natural healing properties. Add this healthy gluten-free starch to your regular meal plan to reap the wellness incentives and also add variety to your staple diet.