Arrowroot, also known as Maranta arundinacea, is a perennial herb that is usually consumed in powder form as flour. The plant has thin aerial stems, with branches and can reach a meter in height. From a nutritional perspective, it is known for its high content of easily digestible proteins and starch.
Beyond a food, it has other uses such as dry shampoo, deodorant, makeup and powder. In this article we will take an in-depth look at arrowroot, its properties and uses in the kitchen.
120 grams of sliced raw arrowroot contains 5 grams of protein. This makes it one of the tubers with more protein compared to other similar ones, such as yams, which have 2 grams of protein; or cassava, which has 3.2 grams. Regarding calories, it provides 78 and 16 grams of carbohydrates. Fiber provides 2 grams and does not contain fat.
Also provides folic acid, 102% of the daily value required. As well as 17% phosphorus, 15% iron and 11% potassium.
Health Benefits of Arrowroot
Arrowroot has properties that have been exploited over the years. We explain some of them and analyze whether the scientific evidence confirms them.
1. Strengthens the immune system
In a study carried out in mice that were fed arrowroot for 14 days, it turned out that the tuber extract stimulated the production of immunoglobulins (especially IgM). In addition, interferon production improved.
IgM is the first antibody made to fight infection. Interferon, for its part, is a protein produced in response to various pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and even cancer cells.
2. Treats diarrhea
According to a study carried out in 11 people with diarrhea, who were given 2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder 3 times a day, there would be evidence of the astringent effect of the food. In the research, the participants experienced less diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Since it is high in starch, this can increase the consistency and size of your stool. It would also help the body to rehydrate. When episodes of diarrhea occur, there is a loss of water and electrolytes which, especially in children, is dangerous.
3. Adaptable to a gluten-free diet
People with an intolerance or allergy to gluten have an immune reaction when ingesting gluten, which damages the small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
The only way to treat these people is with a gluten free diet. Arrowroot is naturally gluten-free. Therefore, it is a substitute for wheat flour.
4. Contains resistant starch
The starch resistant has beneficial effects on intestinal health. One of the main ones is that it works as a prebiotic.
Starch that is not absorbed in the small intestine reaches the colon. There it is fermented by the bacteria that live in the tube, generating gases such as butyrate, which is the main source of energy for the epithelial cells of the colon and regulates the intestinal barrier.
5. Aids in weight loss
Another benefit of resistant starch is that it helps you lose weight because it acts in a similar way to fiber. People eat less because they are satisfied longer.
One study revealed that the more colonic fermentation there is, the higher levels of satiety hormones are released. This is how hunger is regulated.
In the kitchen, arrowroot flour has wide range uses. It is used as a substitute for corn or wheat flours. As it has an almost insipid taste, it is applied as a thickener in sauces, soups and stews. In addition to improving the texture in desserts.
Being gluten-free, it is used to prepare baked goods (bread, cookies and cakes) in diets for celiac patients.
How to add it to your diet
There are different ways to prepare it and it all depends on what you want to do. To use it as a thickener, you can dissolve the arrowroot in cold water and mix it well. Then boil and remove from heat. If you are going to use it in sauces, put one tablespoon for every 250 milliliters of water.
If what you are going to make is a jelly or you want to give a creamy consistency, use 2 tablespoons for every 250 milliliters of liquid. To use it, it must become a suspension, so that it agglutinates.
It is added at the end of each mixture, so that the prolonged heat of the preparation makes it break down. It serves to combine with acidic ingredients and resists freezing. It is not recommended to use it with dairy.
For this sauce you need the following ingredients:
- Turkey fat and juices from the turkey tray.
- Arrowroot flour.
- Salt and pepper.
When having the turkey roast, put the juices in a cup. Let it rest and when the fat rises to the top of the cup, remove it. Put it in a pan. Mix the arrowroot flour with water until smooth and dissolved.
Beat the mixture and cook over medium heat. Add a quarter cup of the fat. Discard the rest. Continue beating for 5 minutes, until thickened. Add salt and pepper.
Arrowroot has numerous benefits for your diet; You just have to learn how to use it and apply it in your sauces, desserts and stews. Use a few small spoonful’s and give your body the nutrients it can provide.