Arrowroot is a starchy tuber native to the Caribbean and Central America. Over the centuries, people have used the plant's powder for everything from paper-making to soup-thickening. It is an excellent homeopathic treatment for various common medical conditions, as well as a natural immune system strengthener. Rich in vitamins and many different "trace" minerals, the health benefits of arrowroot include soothing digestive troubles and improving the quality of your skin. It's especially rich in manganese, an electrolyte your body needs for many systems to operate effectively.
For people with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances, finding starches that don't contain gluten is challenging. It can be used in place of flour as a thickener for sauces and soups and can replace starches in other dishes, as well. Powdered arrowroot, or arrowroot flour, can be combined with other gluten-free flours to substitute wheat flour in baked goods. The powder is even gentle enough on the stomach to make teething cookies and food for babies and toddlers. Mashed arrowroot is rich in potassium and iron and ideal for those following a vegetarian diet.
The trace minerals, especially manganese and potassium, found in arrowroot are especially important for sharp mental ability and cognitive function. Manganese and potassium are electrolytes that help your brain send signals within the brain and to the rest of your body. For children, zinc and sodium are especially helpful for the growing brain, and sodium and potassium work together to provide natural balance in the body. If you choose arrowroot as an alternative to wheat flour for gluten sensitivities, you may find it alleviates the cloudy thoughts reported by some people with celiac disease.
Arrowroot contains 16 percent of your recommended daily allowance of potassium, an essential electrolyte important for heart health. Potassium is a vasodilator; it alleviates pressure on your blood vessels, keeping the walls supple and relaxing them to allow better blood flow. This, in turn, reduces hypertension or high blood pressure by reducing the effort your heart needs to exert to move blood through your body. Eliminating hypertension can lower risk of stroke, heart attack, or atherosclerosis.
Arrowroot contains essential minerals for a growing fetus and the pregnant mother. Minerals like sodium, zinc, potassium, and folate are critical at different stages of a baby's development. Folate, in particular, is essential for skeletal development. Sometimes, the mother's stores of these minerals are depleted, affecting her and her baby's health. Women at risk for gestational diabetes may benefit from adding arrowroot to their diet for these reasons, as well as its fiber content. Please consult with your primary physician before adding supplements to your diet while pregnant.
Arrowroot has significant antibacterial properties that can aid in wound healing and act as an antiseptic. Mix arrowroot powder with water into a paste and apply it to cuts, bruises, and scrapes. The zinc in arrowroot can also soothe burns and sunburn. The healing components of arrowroot can speed up recovery while the antibacterial properties prevent infection. However, if you have a deep scrape or cut, or if you have burns that have blistered, seek emergency medical attention.
Adding arrowroot to your diet, or consuming it as a supplement, can help ward off the flu, colds, and other bacterial and viral infections. Arrowroot has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that help your immune system fight illness. Zinc, copper, magnesium, and potassium are all important minerals that improve the functioning of your lymphatic system and immune capabilities. These minerals aren't manufactured in your body; you must consume them in food or supplements, but they're vital to your system overall. It can even reduce the effects of certain foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella.
Arrowroot is a mild starch, even gentle enough for infant digestive systems. The tuber contains a significant amount of dietary fiber, which is critical for proper digestion and preventing complications from metabolic disorders such as diabetes. The fiber in it can help with bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps associated with constipation and diarrhea: the fiber creates denser stools and prevents the rapid movement of food through your gut, while also promoting regular bowel movements.
Consuming the proper amount of dietary fiber is essential if you're trying to lose weight. Fibrous foods expand in your stomach and take longer to digest, producing feelings of fullness that minimize cravings. Also, fiber slows digestion, allowing your gut to extract more nutrients from the foods you're eating. Slower digestion results in more even blood sugar levels, preventing the spikes and crashes that can cause cravings. Arrowroot is also a healthy starch, giving your body plenty of minerals without excess calories.
Potassium, sodium, and zinc all help improve body-wide blood flow, producing healthier, glowing skin. The vitamins and minerals in arrowroot are part of a healthy diet, improving the texture and preserving the elasticity of your skin. When applied to rashes or acne, arrowroot can help reduce redness and irritation. It is naturally sweat-absorbent and is a popular ingredient in natural deodorants and cosmetics, especially facial powders.
Ready to start incorporating more arrowroot into your diet? You may choose to purchase it whole and add it to your regular meals in place of white potatoes or yams. If you enjoy baking, arrowroot flour may be substituted for wheat fiber in many recipes, although you might need to experiment a bit with your measurements. Arrowroot powder may also be added to a healthy smoothie with other fruits, vegetables, or Greek yogurt. It can be used to thicken soups and sauces, and even in place of eggs as a binder in plant-based recipes.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.