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Arrowroot: This gluten-free vegetable is diabetes-friendly, promotes weight loss, and relieves constipation

Dr Siddhant Bhargava, fitness and nutritional scientist, co-founder, Food Darzee said that arrowroot powder has a significantly high amount of protein and several minerals

arrowrootFresh taro root and dried powder can have numerous health benefits (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

There are many vegetables that are known to boost health and strengthen the body’s immunity. And every now and then we get introduced to more such power-packed and sometimes, lesser-known, vegetables that experts advise for wholesome health. As such, have you ever had arrowroot — a tuber vegetable — that is best consumed by “processing into a powder called arrowroot flour”?

The starchy root vegetable, also known by its biological name Maranta arundinacea, belongs to the potato family and has numerous health benefits.  Similar-looking to yam, sweet potato, and taro, arrowroot “has a higher protein content than other tubers, packing 5 grams per 1 cup (120 grams), compared with 2.3 grams in the same amount of yam”, according to Healthline.com.

Dr Siddhant Bhargava, fitness and nutritional scientist, and co-founder of Food Darzee, said that arrowroot powder has a significantly high amount of protein and several minerals. “When mixed with water, arrowroot powder becomes a jelly-like substance that behaves like soluble fibre in your gut. As goods high in fibre and resistant starch slow down your rate of digestion, you feel complete for prolonged periods after consumption. Hence, it may regulate your appetite and lead to weight loss. Further, due to its high starch content, arrowroot may be suitable for gluten-free diets, help treat diarrhoea, and also strengthen your immune system,” Dr Bhargava told indianexpress.com.

Get rid of constipation (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Garima Goyal, a registered dietitician, listed down the nutrient profile of the vegetable.

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– Energy -65 kcal
– Protein – 4.24 g
– Fat – 0.2 g
– Carbohydrate – 13.4 g
– Total dietary fibre – 1.3 g
– Calcium – 6 mg
– Iron – 2.2 mg
– Magnesium – 25 mg
– Phosphorus – 98 mg
– Potassium – 454 mg
– Sodium – 26 mg
– Zinc – 0.63 mg
– Manganese – 0.174 mg
– Vitamin C – 1.9 mg
– Thiamine – 0.143 mg
– Riboflavin- 0.059 mg
– Niacin – 1.69 mg

Goyal also listed the following benefits

Diabetes-friendly – This tuber has a low glycaemic index, unlike other vegetables of its family, making it a diabetes-friendly vegetable. Also, it has a high content of dietary fibre. So, instead of using cornstarch as a thickener in soups and gravies, use arrowroot flour.

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Constipation and bloating – Various digestive issues can be addressed by the high presence of dietary fibre in arrowroot. Fibre helps to add bulk to the diet and eases the bowel movements, thereby relieving constipation.

Heart-friendly – Firstly, the high fibre content in this vegetable helps to lower the cholesterol levels in the blood. Secondly, it is rich in potassium, which is a strong vasodilator. So it lowers the blood pressure and prevents plaque formation in the arteries. This, in turn, prevents heart attacks, strokes etc.

Gluten-free – Arrowroot is naturally gluten-free and its powder can be used as a substitute for wheat flour. Using this flour is a great strategy for developing gluten-free products as it gives the needed texture, crispness and flavour. So all those with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance can safely use arrowroot, Goyal said. Agreed Dr Santosh Pandey, naturopath and acupuncturist, Rejua Energy Centre, Mumbai and said that people who have intolerance to wheat can use arrowroot powder as a substitute.

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“Arrowroot’s low glycemic index and high concentration of potassium have been shown to help people with diabetes. It gives you a prolonged feeling of fullness. In turn, this may regulate your appetite and help in weight loss,” said Dr Pandey.

Weaning food – This vegetable is infant-friendly due to its mild flavour and easy digestibility, Goyal mentioned.

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First published on: 01-12-2022 at 12:30 IST
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