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The starch obtained from the rootstock of the Maranta arundinaceae arrowroot is powdery in form. Arrowroot is 23% starch and its root and underground  stem are used for medicinal purposes. The nutritional content of the food makes it highly beneficial for infants, as well as children and adults. The far-stretching applications of arrowroot from gluten-free baking, homoeopathic remedies to paper making is not amusing, considering the plethora of uses and benefits the starch endures.
The arrowroot powder is extracted from the cylindrical-shaped root, covered with thin surface scales. The scales are removed from the roots as it may crush the flavour, and are made into a pulp from which the starch is obtained. The dried result of the milky liquid from the pulp is arrowroot powder, a white and odourless talc, widely used as a thickening agent in the food industries.
The gluten-free, paleo-friendly nature  of arrowroot has given it a central place in the diet of an increasingly health-conscious society. Ease of digestion to anti-inflammatory properties, arrowroot is a must include in your daily diet, especially if you have a sensitive digestive system and it is incredibly safe for infants. Thus, let's dive into know more about the amazing benefits offered by the starch that is giving cornstarch a run for its money!
Nutritional Value Of Arrowroot
100 grams of arrowroot has 457 kcal of energy. 0.4 grams protein, 0.2 milligrams pantothenic acid, 0.1 gram polyunsaturated fat, 0.4 milligrams iron, 0.1 milligram copper, 0.6 milligrams manganese and 0.1 milligram zinc.
100 grams of arrowroot contain approximately
- 113 grams total carbohydrate
- 4.4 grams dietary fibre 
- 14.6 grams water
- 51.2 milligrams calcium
- 3.8 milligrams magnesium
- 6.4 milligrams phosphorus
- 14.1 milligrams potassium
- 2.6 milligrams sodium
- 9.0 micrograms folate
- 11.5 milligrams total omega-3 fatty acids
- 46.1 milligrams total omega-6 fatty acids
Benefits Of Arrowroot
An antidote to a central component in baby formulas, the advantages of Maranta arundinaceae are plenty. The seemingly simple white powdery substance is, in fact, a miracle worker, as it can help you even with infections.
1. Improves immunity
Arrowroot powder is known to have cytotoxic properties, that aid in improving your immune system. The ample amount of potassium, iron and the B vitamins in the powder improves your immunity by stimulating the immune  cells. The combination of minerals in the powder helps your body to ward off any unwanted bacteria and toxins.
The minerals work together to increase your energy levels and your stamina by elevating the oxygenation of your organs. Regular consumption of arrowroot powder can fight off fatigue and any cognitive disorders.
2. Aids in weight loss
Completely fat-free and low in calories, arrowroot is extremely beneficial if you are looking forward to losing some weight. Incorporating nutrient-rich food into your daily diet to lose weight is a common advice given by nutritionists. Being well-balanced  with minerals and nutrients, arrowroot powder does not cause any side effects to your body in the process. The dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates in the powder will keep you feeling full, thus avoiding the constant need to snack.
3. Improves digestive system
The use of arrowroot powder can directly improve your digestive system. The dietary fibre content in the powder helps in the easy movement  of food, without losing the nutrients. It also improves your bowel movement and eradicating any chances of constipation. Individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome can make use of arrowroot powder, as it acts as a mild laxative and soothes the bowel movement.
One of the other major benefits of arrowroot powder is eliminating diarrhoea. Recent studies have pointed out that arrowroot is a natural treatment for diarrhoea. Consumption of arrowroot powder not only reduces the abdominal pain but also minimizes the occurrences of diarrhoea. It has been proven effective in the case of individuals suffering from  irritable bowel syndrome.
4. Beneficial during pregnancy
Folate and folate-rich foods are essential for the mother and the unborn baby during the time of pregnancy. Arrowroot is a natural source of folate, which is advisable  for expecting mother for their health and the child's health. The controlled and adequate consumption of the starch powder during the pre-conception and pregnancy period can ensure the development of a healthy foetus.
Arrowroot powder can help reduce the risk of birth defects due to the presence of B vitamin folate and can prevent any neural tube defects  in the unborn child. Folate also plays an important role in DNA synthesis, promoting quick healing and  growth. However, it is suggested that expecting mothers consult with the doctor and begin the consumption, just to be on the safe side.
5. Improves heart health
The high potassium content in arrowroot powder  plays a significant role in improving the functioning of your heart. Potassium  helps by regulating your heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the chances of any heart-related health issues. Being a vasodilator and a cognitive enhancer, potassium  relaxes the blood vessels and arteries, thereby reducing the risk of high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis.
Likewise, the folate content also plays an important role in strengthening your cardiovascular health. It reduces  the levels of homocysteine in your blood by erasing the possibilities of peripheral vascular diseases. The magnesium content also contributes to this by relaxing the blood vessels and improving the blood flow.
6. Treats urinary tract infection (UTI)
The anti-inflammatory properties of the starch talc are beneficial in curing urinary tract infections (UTI) and bladder infections. Women suffering from UTI are prescribed to incorporate arrowroot in their diet as it can soothe the  inflammation and restrict possible infections in the future. Being a demulcent in nature, arrowroot soothes the tract and reduces the inflammation and irritation in the mucous membranes.
The antiseptic properties of arrowroot are helpful in treating UTIs and it prevents the occurrence of any infections in the future.
7. Balances blood pressure
With arrowroot being highly effective for improving your cardiovascular health, it is not surprising that it helps maintain a healthy  blood pressure. The potassium to sodium ratio in arrowroot helps the blood vessels to function relaxedly and thus, maintain a balanced blood pressure. Consuming arrowroot is extremely beneficial for people suffering from hypertension.
8. Improves kidney health
Arrowroot helps in improving the functioning of your whole body. It has a substantial amount of potassium in it, which plays a major role in  contributing to the better health of your kidney. The potassium helps your kidney by clearing out the toxic deposits situated in your kidney.
9. Develops cognitive functioning
One of the most important health benefit possessed by arrowroot is the healthy development of the brain. The iron content in arrowroot  improves the haemoglobin production, which in turn improves the blood flow. The adequate amount of oxygen and iron results in the improved cognitive functioning and performance. Regular  consumption of arrowroot can reduce the chances of Alzheimer's disease and dementia risks.
10. Beneficial for infants
The starchy content and mild flavour of the arrowroot powder is safe for infants. As it is light and does not cause any digestion  related issues, arrowroot is a safe ingredient. Its ease of digestion is another reason that makes it a popular food for infants and can be used as an alternative to milk. Arrowroot is also a main ingredient in teething cookies  for infants. It is allergen-free, soothes gum and has no possible allergic reactions.
11. Improves sleep cycle
The high magnesium content in arrowroot is an effective solution for an improved sleep cycle. Magnesium, the mineral improves  the quality, duration, and tranquillity of your sleep and regulates your metabolism, reducing the occurrence of sleep disorders such as insomnia.
12. Maintains alkali and acid balances
The presence of calcium chloride, in the form of calcium in the arrowroot powder, helps maintain a balance in the alkali and acid levels in your body. An imbalance  in the alkali and acid levels can cause vomiting, nausea etc. and this can be avoided by the regular consumption of arrowroot.
13. Treats skin problems
Arrowroot is used as a herbal remedy for various skin problems. It is used in the treatment for smallpox and gangrene and reduces the level of infection and the itchiness. The light, absorbent and soft texture of the powder makes it a prime ingredient in body powders as it helps in treating rashes, sores, wounds and blemishes.
The vitamins and proteins in the powder can help get rid of skin pigmentation, blemishes or irritation and even delay the onset of premature ageing.
14. Relieves gum and mouth pain
The soothing properties of arrowroot are not just limited to infants, it can also be used for treating mouth and gum pain. Applying the arrowroot  powder directly to the affected area can help relieve the pain due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the powder.
15. Has antibacterial properties
Arrowroot is said to have healing properties, that can speed up the recovery process. The antibacterial properties of the root powder make it useful in the cases of bruises, wounds, or knife cuts. Its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities stop the spread of any infection and help relieve the pain. This is applicable in the case of minor wounds.
16. Treats athlete's foot
A common type of feet-skin infection caused by the fungus, athlete's foot can be cured with the application of arrowroot. The absorbent quality of the powder absorbs the excessive sweat and moisture, leaving the feet comfortably dry. The dryness caused will stop the growth and spread of the fungus.
Also read: Home Remedies For Athletes Foot
17. Used in hair care
The absorbent nature of arrowroot is the major reason for it to be used in the production of powders and dry shampoo. The moisture absorbing quality of the powder makes it useful in hair care, as applying it can reduce the greasiness in your hair.
How To Use Arrowroot
The applications of the starch powder extend from agriculture to manufacturing to commercial.
- It can be mixed with breast milk into a paste and fed to the baby
- It can be fed in the form of porridge or jelly
- The powder can be mixed with vegetable purées (sweet potato, carrot or beetroot) as well.
- It can be applied for healing wounds
- Used to treat gangrene
- Used to relieve gum and mouth pain.
- It can be fertilized to form compost
- The tip and leaves are used to feed pigs, chicken and goats.
- Natural deodorant
- Leaves can be used as biodegradable plates
- Used as a thickener in infants' formula
- Used as a sauce thickener
- Used in cosmetics - powders, dry shampoos etc.
- Great as a coating for meat and fish, especially for fried foods
- Substitute for cornstarch
- Used for soups, stews, gravies, pancakes, pie fillings and custards.
Sweet and sour soup
- 1 cup broccoli florets (parboiled)
- 1/2 cup capsicum, cut into triangles
- 1/2 cup baby corn, sliced and parboiled
- 1/4 cup sliced carrots (parboiled)
- 10 to 15 spring onions
- 1 tbsp garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp arrowroot or cornflour
- 2 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- Heat the oil and then fry the chopped garlic
- Add all the vegetables and stir for 10-15 minutes on low fire
- Make the very thin paste of arrowroot and heat it till the consistency is little thick
- Add the vegetables, sugar and salt in the gravy
- Serve hot!
Arrowroot is widely known not to have any severe and adverse side effects when consumed. However, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is advised that you inquire with your doctor before incorporating arrowroot into your diet. The same applies if you are following any medications.
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