If you’re in search of a nutritious alternative to cornstarch or simply want to expand your gluten-free baking ingredient selection, you’ve probably come across arrowroot powder. It’s a popular choice on the Paleo diet due to its grain-free and gluten-free nature, but is it compatible with a keto lifestyle?
Arrowroot Nutrition Breakdown
Arrowroot flour and starch, a tasteless white powder derived from tubers primarily cultivated in Indonesia, serve as both a thickening agent in soups, gravies, stews, and puddings, and a gluten-free flour replacement in baked goods – similar to almond flour. A 100-gram serving of arrowroot contains:
- 357 calories
- 0.1 grams of fat
- 88.2 grams of carbohydrates (84.8 grams net carbs)
- 3.4 grams of fiber
- 0.3 grams of protein
Additionally, arrowroot supplies a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and some B vitamins.
Carbohydrate Content in Arrowroot Powder
Despite its gluten-free and grain-free characteristics, arrowroot powder is abundant in carbohydrates, much like other starchy tubers. It boasts a staggering 84.8 grams of net carbs per 100-gram serving. Even if you don’t utilize such a substantial quantity as a cornstarch substitute, a small amount can still contribute significantly to your net carb intake. This is partly due to arrowroot’s lower fiber content compared to flours such as almond and coconut flour.
However, it’s worth noting that boiled arrowroot possesses a low glycemic index (GI) rating of 14, while an uncooked arrowroot tuber has a slightly higher (yet still considered low) GI of 32. Consequently, arrowroot powder provides an excellent option for individuals aiming to adhere to a low glycemic diet.
The Health Benefits of Arrowroot
For those who aren’t overly concerned about consuming a high carbohydrate count, arrowroot can be a valuable addition to their diet. It is rich in prebiotic fiber and resistant starch, promoting digestive health and bolstering the immune system. Prebiotic fiber has demonstrated the ability to mitigate allergy risks, enhance calcium absorption, cultivate beneficial gut bacteria, and reduce populations of pathogenic bacteria. Improving gut health can have a positive impact on overall well-being, as the gut plays a significant role in manufacturing neurotransmitters (such as GABA, dopamine, and serotonin), housing immune cells, and influencing the body’s inflammatory response.
Moreover, arrowroot’s high potassium content may help support heart health. As a vasodilator, potassium facilitates blood flow by relaxing vein tension, thereby lowering blood pressure and reducing the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Improved blood circulation also benefits brain health, reproductive health, and muscle growth by efficiently delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Furthermore, due to its high starch content and blandness, arrowroot can effectively alleviate nausea or gastritis-related upset stomachs when other hard-to-digest foods are not tolerable. One study discovered that arrowroot powder effectively reduced diarrhea and abdominal pain in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterized by gut inflammation.
Lastly, thanks to its gluten-free and grain-free nature, arrowroot can be safely incorporated into the diets of individuals with Celiac disease or those who are intolerant to other baking flours such as wheat, white, almond, or coconut flour.
Compatibility with a Keto Diet
In summary, arrowroot flour and starch are not suitable for a keto-friendly or low-carb diet. A 100-gram serving of arrowroot contains almost four times the recommended daily carb intake for individuals adhering to a keto diet. If you follow a Paleo diet but aren’t primarily focused on maintaining a low-carb diet, including arrowroot in your culinary repertoire is acceptable due to its grain-free and gluten-free attributes. Moreover, arrowroot tends to be gentler on the digestive system than gluten or grain-based flours, which aligns with one of the key benefits of the Paleo diet.
However, for those on a low-carb or keto diet, we recommend utilizing almond flour and coconut flour for all your baking requirements. These flours offer low carbohydrate contents while providing ample healthy fats.
If you’re searching for a healthy cornstarch substitute, psyllium husk presents an excellent option. With its high fiber content, psyllium husk aids in digestion, weight management, blood sugar control, and immune system support. It also serves as an effective thickening agent in most recipes.
To learn more about alternative baking ingredients, you can visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill!
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