The arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea is a tropical tuber native to Indonesia. Usually, it is consumed in the form of flour to prepare different typical products of the country. This tuber is extracted from the roots of the plant, so it retains large amounts of starch and provides energy to the consumer.
Arrowroot can be commonly used in cooking, both for sweet and savory dishes. The latest scientific trials have found medicinal properties that have regained their importance in food, outside the borders of Asian countries.
At the nutritional level, it contains a significant volume of protein and a homogeneous mixture of nutrients and minerals.
In this article we want to review the importance of arrowroot and its medicinal uses attributed in several clinical studies of international importance.
Nutritional composition of arrowroot
Arrowroot is a tuber with a high starch content very similar in appearance and flavor to yucca yam, sweet potato or taro.
Therefore, it contains quite a few carbohydrates, sugars and fibers that can be interesting.
The consumption of 120 grams (equivalent to 1 cup) of arrowroot, provides us with the following nutritional relationship:
- Energy: 78 kcal
- Proteins: 7 %
- Carbohydrates: 16 grams
- Grease: 0 g
- Fibre: 2 grams
Vitamins and minerals
- Potassium: 11% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance)
- Phosphorus: 17% of the CoR
- Iron: 15% of the CoR
- Folate: 102% CDR
Compared to other tubers, it has a higher concentration in proteins. In some cases, it can be twice as high in concentration as other vegetables of similar composition, flavor and visual resemblance.
An important element for the brain development of the fetus in pregnancy is folate (also known as vitamin B9). A serving of 120 g contains more than 100% recommended daily consumption, so it is a very interesting ingredient to meet these needs.
Medicinal properties of arrowroot
Arrowroot is known to be a very complete food in the form of a tuber. However, recent research has linked its consumption as a benefit to the body.
We wanted to collect the main scientific evidence of its consumption, and what it can bring us.
1. It is a gluten-free product
More and more gluten-free foods are being sought, especially for people who are celiac. In fact, we can currently enjoy a good number of gluten-free flours.
In the case of arrowroot, it can be used as flour and does not contain gluten, the opposite of wheat or barley flour, for example.
2. Strengthens the immune system
Starch has different beneficial properties, and not all of them are related to the improvement of digestive transit. Conclusions have been found that it can strengthen the immune system.
Therefore, foods such as arrowroot can promote resistance to diseases. This tuber has been studied for its preventive potential, since fiber is related to the improvement of the microbiological population (in quantity and in species).
The microbiological life that inhabits our digestive system fulfills many essential functions and we must preserve it with the intake of foods rich in fiber and low in fat,
Clinical trials in animals have shown an improvement at the blood level when arrowroot flour has been consumed in 2 weeks. They demonstrated improvement in the number of antibodies and immunoglobulin levels.
However, all of these trials have been conducted on animals, so more research on humans is lacking.
3. Promotes weight loss
Foods rich in starch are the slowing down of the digestion process, something positive in weight loss.
Mixed with water, it acts as a soluble fiber that intervenes in microbiological development and offers a high feeling of satiety.
The reduction of the speed of digestion of starch and the volume that fiber occupies once it is ingested, makes it a satiating food and can help in weight loss, since it is reduced to a minimum thefat sumo.
Protein is also a satiating food, so the amount offered by this tuber also favors the feeling of fullness and weight loss.
4. May stop diarrhea
Fiber is not always related to speeding up digestive transit. As we saw earlier, there are several types of fibers and each one produces a different effect. The high presence of starch is responsible for arrowroot having antidiarrheal activity, as it reduces the frequency of bowel movements.
However, the studies currently conducted for this topic are of reduced impact and more research is needed to draw serious conclusions.
Other uses of arrowroot
Arrowroot is not only used in food, but has a wide range of utilities outside the kitchen. When the powder or flour is obtained, it can be used as a thickener for desserts and baking.
However, it also has application in cosmetics, as it improves and stabilizes many oil-based preparations.
Here are some uses that can be given to the arrowroot tuber.
- Dry shampoo
- Homemade makeup
Arrowroot powder substitutes
Although arrowroot is a product that contains a lot of starch, there are also interesting alternatives that you can use if you do not have this tuber on hand. All of them also offer us an interesting gluten-free alternative for celiac people.
- Rice flour: they have very similar carbohydrate contents, although the latter is higher in starch.
- Tapioca flour: it has a flavor very similar to the arrowroot tuber.
- Potato starch: contain similar amounts of amylose, an element derived from starch with thickening properties.
- Cornstarch flour: this usual ingredient in cooking can be used for culinary purposes and also cosmetics.