Arrowroot which is also known as nduma in Kenya is a white and purplish tuber that is high in protein and other nutrients which has led to it being used for its medicinal value. It’s a starchy root vegetable similar to yams, cassava and sweet potatoes. Like many starches, it is high in carbs but offers various other nutrients and has a higher protein content than other tubers.
Nutrients in arrowroots
A cup of arrowroot weighing about 120 grams (g) will contain:
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 16 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Potassium: 545mg (11% of the daily value)
Folate: 102% of the daily value
Phosphorus: 17% of the daily value
Iron: 2.7mg (15% of the daily value)
Vitamin B6: 0.3mg
Vitamin C: 2.3mg
Health benefits of arrowroots
May aid in weight loss
Foods high in fibre and resistant starch slow your rate of digestion, giving you a prolonged feeling of fullness which may regulate your appetite and lead to weight loss. The protein in arrowroots also aids in the feeling of fullness as well. Health & Fitness: 6 Weight Loss Alternatives To Consider
May fight diarrhoea
Arrowroot has been used as a digestive aid for centuries. It helps treat diarrhoea by firming the stool and helping rehydrate the person. The starch increases the stool consistency and size and reduces the frequency of evacuations. In a study, people suffering from diarrhoea who took powdered arrowroot 3 times daily experienced less diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Arrowroot water also decreases diarrhoea and rehydrates better than manufactured rehydration solutions.
Severe diarrhoea may lead to fluid loss, dehydration, and even death especially among vulnerable people like children.
Supports immune system
The starch in arrowroot may help stimulate your immune system. The tuber is filled with prebiotics which feeds the gut bacteria. Test tube studies found that arrowroot powder increased the levels of the antibodies that fight harmful microorganisms.
Treating urinary tract infections (UTI)
Arrowroot is a very effective natural remedy for urinary tract infections. Arrowroot has properties that help soothe inflammation in the urinary tract easing the pain if you’re suffering from UTI. It also has antiseptic properties which help treat the infection and prevent re-infection.
The low glycemic index and high concentration of potassium in arrowroot help people with diabetes.
Treat wounds and bites
Traditionally, people have used arrowroot for centuries to treat arrow wounds and poisonous bites, benefits that are only now being studied by scientists.
Increase blood circulation
Arrowroots have significant levels of copper and iron both of which are essential parts of red blood cells. This makes arrowroot good for preventing anaemia. It increases circulation encouraging oxygenation of your body’s organ systems and extremities which can boost energy levels.
Safe for children and infants
Due to its starchy content as well as mild flavour, arrowroot is a safe ingredient to use in food for infants. It is also a common ingredient in teething cookies for babies. Because it’s virtually allergen-free, it’s an ideal gum-soothing component that poses little to no risk of allergic reaction.
Beneficial for pregnant women
One cup (120 grams) of arrowroot has 102% of the daily required intake of folate (vitamin B9). Folate is essential for fetal development during pregnancy and DNA formation. Low levels of this vitamin are associated with an increased risk of birth defects and chronic diseases like cancer. Lifestyle: 7 Foods You Should Avoid Eating While Pregnant
Fits a gluten-free diet
Like most tubers, arrowroot is naturally gluten-free. Its powder can also be used as a substitute for wheat flour. Its resistant starch is especially applicable for gluten-free products because it helps improve texture, crispness, and flavour.
Arrowroot is mostly just boiled and eaten with a beverage like tea. The powder is used to thicken soups. People are now making arrowroot crisps. You can follow your sense of adventure and try various recipes out as you increase your dietary consumption of arrowroot.