Arrowroot is a starchy vegetable that people use as a thickener in desserts and baked goods. It provides calcium and magnesium. It may benefit people on a gluten-free diet or those managing their blood sugar and weight.

This article discusses arrowroot in further detail, including its benefits, nutritional value, and uses. The article also answers some common questions about arrowroot.

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Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a plant that mainly grows in tropical forests in the Caribbean, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and other areas in the tropics. It has long fibrous roots with tuberous rhizomes (underground stems).

People in the food industry use the starchy rhizomes of arrowroot to make thickeners and stabilizers. Additionally, manufacturers use the fibrous waste to make paper products and other items.

As well as being a valuable ingredient in food production and cooking, arrowroot may have some nutritional benefits.

Arrowroot may provide a number of benefits for a person’s health.

Easily digestible, low calorie, and high protein

According to an older 2014 review, arrowroot is easily digestible and may benefit older adults and young children.

Additionally, studies suggest that arrowroot flour is a good source of dietary fiber that may benefit the digestive and immune systems.

Other research indicates that arrowroot has fewer calories and more protein than other tuberous vegetables such as potatoes, yams, and cassava.

Therefore, arrowroot may be beneficial in helping people to manage their weight and for those with digestive disorders.


Arrowroot is a naturally gluten-free food. Studies suggest that arrowroot flour may be helpful for those who are sensitive to gluten or people with celiac disease.

People can incorporate arrowroot flour into recipes for baked goods as an alternative to other flours, such as wheat, that contain gluten.

Furthermore, research indicates that the resistant starch in arrowroot may improve gluten-free products’ texture, flavor, and mouthfeel.

Learn more about gluten-free diets here.

Low glycemic food for weight management

Arrowroot is a low glycemic food that may benefit people with diabetes.

According to a 2017 study, boiled arrowroot has a glycemic index (GI) of 14. GI is a method of ranking carbohydrates in foods based on how they affect blood sugar. People with diabetes may consume low glycemic foods to help balance their blood sugar.

Arrowroot flour contains the following nutrients per 100 grams (g):

Protein0.3 g
Fat0.1 g
Carbohydrate88.2 g
Fiber3.4 g
Calcium40 milligrams (mg)
Magnesium3 mg

Arrowroot contains fiber, starch, and biocomposites that have several uses including:

  • thickening and gelling in food
  • edible and biodegradable films and food packaging
  • medicines and nutraceutical applications
  • cosmetics and natural deodorants
  • textiles
  • biofuel
  • pulp and paper making

Research indicates that arrowroot has high amylose content and can absorb water well. Amylose is a type of starch. Manufacturers use arrowroot as an ingredient in foods such as:

  • biscuits
  • cakes
  • puddings
  • porridge
  • pie filling
  • jellies
  • ice cream
  • soup
  • condiments

Retailers may sell arrowroot as a white, flavorless powder. People can use it the same way as cornstarch for thickening recipes and adding a glossy finish to foods. Because it does not change the color of foods and acidic ingredients do not alter its structure, it is useful in jellies and fruit fillings.

Arrowroot is suitable for vegans and those following a gluten-free diet.

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about arrowroot.

Is arrowroot healthy to eat?

Studies suggest that arrowroot is a healthy source of food. It is easily digestible, gluten-free, and low in calories. In addition, research indicates that it may be helpful for people with diabetes or digestive disorders.

What are the side effects of arrowroot?

There is little research into the side effects of arrowroot. An older 2009 article detailed two cases of toxic hepatitis caused by drinking arrowroot juice.

Using arrowroot as an ingredient in recipes is generally regarded as safe. However, if someone uses arrowroot in larger quantities as a remedy, it may cause digestive side effects.

A person should speak with a doctor before consuming large amounts of arrowroot.

Which is healthier, cornstarch or arrowroot?

Cornstarch and arrowroot are both ingredients that someone may use as a thickening agent in recipes. They have a similar nutritional profile, but arrowroot contains slightly more fiber and water per 100 g than cornstarch.

Therefore, it may be more beneficial for digestion and blood sugar balance.

Arrowroot is a high starch vegetable that manufacturers use to make arrowroot powder. It is a valuable ingredient in foods and recipes that require thickening or a glossy finish. Additionally, arrowroot has other industrial uses such as making paper, cosmetics, and food packaging.

Compared to some other tuberous vegetables, arrowroot contains fewer calories and more protein. It is also suitable for gluten-free diets and may help people with diabetes to balance their blood sugar and manage their weight.

People should not consume large quantities of arrowroot without consulting a doctor.