Are you looking for a natural way to regulate your appetite and potentially aid in weight loss?
You may have heard about resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that resists digestion and is turned into energy-boosting, inflammation-reducing short-chain fatty acids by beneficial intestinal bacteria.
Arrowroot powder is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but is it a good source of resistant starch?
In this article, we’ll explore the properties of arrowroot powder and its potential benefits for your health.
Is Arrowroot Powder A Resistant Starch?
Arrowroot powder is often touted as a source of resistant starch, but the truth is that it contains low levels of this type of carbohydrate. Resistant starch is found in foods like beans and retrograded potatoes, which are cooked and then cooled to allow the starch to recrystallize into a resistant form.
While arrowroot powder does contain some resistant starch, it is not a significant source compared to other foods. Instead, arrowroot powder is easily absorbed by the small intestine as glucose, like most other starches.
However, arrowroot powder does have other potential health benefits. It forms a viscous gel when mixed with water and behaves like soluble fiber in your gut. This can slow down your rate of digestion, leading to a prolonged feeling of fullness and potentially regulating your appetite.
In addition, arrowroot powder has a neutral taste and can be used as a thickening agent in recipes without altering the flavor. It also has a lower thickening temperature than cornstarch, making it a good choice for sauces that require gentle heating.
What Is Resistant Starch And How Does It Benefit Your Health?
Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that resists digestion in the stomach and small intestine, reaching the colon intact. This means that it does not cause spikes in blood glucose or insulin levels and does not contribute significantly to daily calorie intake. Instead, resistant starch feeds beneficial gut bacteria in the large intestine, leading to a range of potential health benefits.
There are four types of resistant starch, including Type 1 found in grains, seeds, and legumes, Type 2 found in potatoes, green bananas, and plantains, Type 3 formed after cooking and cooling Type 1 or Type 2 RS, and Type 4 which is a synthetic form. Once resistant starch reaches the large intestine, bacteria attach to and ferment it, producing short-chain fatty acids like acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid.
Research suggests that consuming foods high in resistant starch can lead to a prolonged feeling of fullness and potentially regulate appetite, leading to weight loss. In a study of 20 adults, those who took supplements containing resistant starch experienced a significantly lower calorie intake over the next 24 hours compared to a control group. Resistant starch may also improve colonic function and lower blood sugar levels.
Understanding Arrowroot Powder And Its Nutritional Value
Arrowroot powder is a nutrient-dense starch that is obtained from the rhizomes of the tropical plant Maranta arundinacea. It is typically processed into a powder called arrowroot flour, which has a dense store of energy and is used widely in both sweet and savory dishes. Arrowroot powder is high in fiber and resistant starch, comprising 32% resistant starch, which your body cannot digest. Resistant starch behaves like soluble fiber in your gut, forming a viscous gel when mixed with water. Foods high in fiber and resistant starch slow down your rate of digestion, giving you a prolonged feeling of fullness. This may regulate your appetite and lead to weight loss.
In addition to its high fiber content, arrowroot powder is also rich in nutrients such as protein, folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients deliver numerous health benefits, making arrowroot powder ideal for meeting the nutritional demands of children and older adults who need milder food.
Arrowroot powder is also a healthier alternative for baking foodstuffs such as bread, pasta, cakes, and serves as a replacement for cornstarch. It 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 Caribbean cooking.
The Potential Health Benefits Of Consuming Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is not only a versatile ingredient in cooking, but it also has potential health benefits. One of the most notable benefits is its ability to support healthy digestion. Arrowroot powder acts as a natural demulcent, regulating bowel movements and aiding in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Its high starch content also works as a mild laxative, promoting gut health and supporting healthy immune function.
Arrowroot powder is also rich in B-complex vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and folate. Niacin has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and ease arthritis pain. Folate is essential for healthy fetal growth and development and can prevent neural tube defects in infants. Arrowroot powder contains about 338 mcg of folate per serving, making it an excellent source of this important nutrient.
For those with diabetes or managing their blood sugar levels, arrowroot powder’s low glycemic index and high potassium concentration have been shown to be beneficial. Researchers are currently exploring the use of arrowroot flour as an ingredient in healthy snacks for people with diabetes.
Arrowroot powder is also gluten-free, making it an ideal addition to the diets of those who are gluten-sensitive. Its high fiber content may also aid in weight management.
Finally, arrowroot powder has antiseptic properties that can help treat urinary tract infections and prevent future flare-ups. It’s a demulcent, which means it soothes inflamed or irritated mucous membranes.
While arrowroot powder may not be a significant source of resistant starch, it does have other potential health benefits that make it a valuable addition to any diet.
How To Incorporate Arrowroot Powder Into Your Diet For Maximum Benefits
If you’re interested in incorporating arrowroot powder into your diet for its potential health benefits, there are a few ways to do so. Here are some ideas:
1. Use it as a thickener: Arrowroot powder can be used as a substitute for cornstarch in recipes that require a thickening agent. It has a neutral taste and leaves food clear and glossy, making it a great choice for sauces, gravies, and puddings.
2. Bake with it: Arrowroot powder can be used as a healthier alternative to wheat flour in baking recipes. It is gluten-free and has a high nutritional content, making it a good choice for those with gluten sensitivities or those looking to add more nutrients to their baked goods.
3. Add it to smoothies: Arrowroot powder can be added to smoothies for an extra boost of fiber and potential appetite-regulating benefits. Mix a teaspoon or two into your favorite smoothie recipe for a thicker texture and longer-lasting fullness.
4. Use it as a coating: Arrowroot powder can be used as a coating for meats or vegetables before frying or baking. It creates a crispy texture and adds extra fiber to your meal.
Precautions And Potential Side Effects Of Consuming Arrowroot Powder.
While arrowroot powder is generally considered safe for consumption, there are some precautions and potential side effects to be aware of.
Firstly, arrowroot powder may cause constipation and stomach discomfort if consumed in excessive amounts. It is important to follow the recommended serving sizes and not overdo it.
Additionally, there have been reported cases of toxic hepatitis in two Korean women after consuming arrowroot juice. While this is a rare occurrence, it highlights the importance of consulting with a healthcare professional before consuming arrowroot as a herbal remedy, especially for individuals with kidney or liver disease.
When using arrowroot powder as a natural remedy to ease diarrhea, it should not be taken with any medication for diarrhea, as this may lead to constipation.
It is also important to note that there is not enough reliable information to determine if arrowroot is safe when applied topically on the skin. As with any new skincare product, it is recommended to do a patch test before applying it all over your skin.
Finally, when using arrowroot powder for infants or young children, it is essential to consult with a doctor before introducing it into their diet. While there are no known side effects of using arrowroot for babies, excessive consumption may cause discomfort and constipation due to its ability to increase fecal bulk.