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Arrowroot For Babies: Benefits And Ways To Include In Diet

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Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a tropical tuber with various nutritional and potential medicinal properties. The starch extracted from the root is usually consumed in a powdered form and called arrowroot flour.

Arrowroot flour is used to prepare various commercial powder blends for baby care products. It is also used as a thickener in baby food. But is arrowroot good for babies?

In this post, MomJunction tells you about using arrowroot for babies, its benefits, and more.

Is Arrowroot Good For Babies?

The flour contains starch and protein. Besides, it is a good source of essential nutrients, like phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc (1).

It is also easy to digest and is gluten-free (2). You can use it as a thickening agent in pureed food. However, just like any other food item, consult a pediatrician before introducing it to the baby.

What Is The Right Age To Introduce Arrowroot To Babies?

Arrowroot can be given to babies as soon as they start solids, which is around the age of six months. You could consider introducing it in the form of arrowroot flour cookies as a snack (3).

Nutritional Value of Arrowroot Flour

One cup of arrowroot flour provides a variety of nutritional compounds that could help meet some of the daily nutritional needs of the baby (4) (5).

NameAmountRDA
Water14.6g
Energy457Kcal
Protein0.384g
Carbohydrate, by difference113g
Fiber, total dietary4.35g
Calcium, Ca51.2mg210mg (0-6 months)

270mg (7-12 months)

Iron, Fe0.422mg6mg (0-6 months)

10mg (7-12 months)

Magnesium, Mg3.84mg30mg (0-6 months)

75mg (7-12 months)

Phosphorus, P6.4mg100mg (0-6 months)

275mg (7-12 months)

Potassium, K14.1mg500mg (0-6 months)

700mg (7-12 months)

Sodium, Na2.56mg120mg (0-6 months)

200mg (7-12 months)

Folate, total8.96µg24µg (0-6 months)

32µg (0-12 months)

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization

The nutritional composition of the arrowroot is promising. Its use, along with breast milk, could help in supporting some of the nutritional needs of the babies.

Possible Health Benefits OfArrowroot For Babies

The unique nutritional value of arrowroot starch provides some benefits for babies. A few of them are:

  1. Easy digestion: Arrowroot flour is easy on your infant’s digestive system and, thus, is a good choice for babies who have just started solids.
  1. Nutrient-dense: Arrowroot is a source of macro and micronutrients. Folate is one such nutrient that is found in arrowroot. This vitamin is essential for cellular regeneration and DNA synthesis (6).
  1. Digestive health: Arrowroot flour is rich in insoluble dietary fiber, such as starch. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the diet and regulates the bowel while keeping constipation at bay. It could also help in the management of diarrhea in infants (7).
  1. Gut health and immunity: Studies suggest that arrowroot flour is a source of prebiotics that could help enhance probiotics in the gut. An increase in probiotics has positive immunomodulatory effects. However, more clinical trials are needed to validate the suggestion (8).
  1. Teething: In general, arrowroot flour is used to prepare biscuits or cookies that could help your baby during teething. As these cookies or biscuits are very hard, they are a perfect replacement for plastic, wooden, or amber teethers. Besides, it is believed that arrowroot powder has anti-inflammatory properties that might help heal sore gums while teething.
  1. Skincare: The topical application of arrowroot powder on sores, cuts, rash, or painful gums has shown to provide symptomatic relief. Moreover, it is also used as a replacement for standard baby talcum powder or body powder.

Ways To Include Arrowroot In Your Baby’s Diet

There are several ways in which you can add arrowroot powder or flour to your infant’s diet.

  1. For babies who have just started solids, arrowroot powder can be added into their weaning foods, such as rice water and barley water. It would not only intensify the nutritive value of these weaning foods but will thicken their consistency, as well.
  1. You can add arrowroot to mashed or pureed vegetables and fruits.
  1. For babies above six months, you can try feeding arrowroot porridge.
  1. For babies with acid reflux or regurgitation concerns, adding arrowroot powder tobreast milk or formula milk might help provide some relief.

Note: Arrowroot allergy is rare but possible. Thus, use it with caution.

When arrowroot powder is not available, other substitutes such as corn starch, rice starch, tapioca starch (from cassava flour) can be used.

Arrowroot Recipes For Babies

Arrowroot is soothing to your baby’s digestive system and is gluten-free. Below are some arrowroot powder recipes that you may like to try.

1. Arrowroot porridge

Image: Shutterstock

Arrowroot porridge is a nourishing food that can be given to babies once they are about six months of age.

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • ½ cup powdered jaggery
  • 2 cups water

How to:

  1. Take one tablespoon of arrowroot powder in a bowl and add a cup of water, along withhalf a cup of jaggery powder.
  2. Heat the mixture on a medium flame for about two to three minutes or until you see a thick fluid with a jelly-like consistency. You can adjust the quantity of water as per the thickness you desire.
  3. Switch off the flame and serve it to your baby while still warm.

2. Arrowroot biscuits

Image: Shutterstock

Arrowroot biscuits are most widely used for teething in babies. Their use as a snack and finger food is also prevalent. This is a basic arrowroot biscuit recipe, and you cancustomize the recipe as per your needs.

You will need:

  •  ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup arrowroot flour
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • ¼tsp salt

How to: 

  1. Grease a baking tray. You can also line it with baking paper.
  2. Take a bowl and mix butter and sugar.
  3. Add egg and vanilla paste to it and mix everything.
  4. Stir the remaining dry ingredients and add them to the mix.
  5. Roll the mixture to a flat sheet with 1cm of thickness.
  6. As the sheet gets uniformly thick, cut small round pieces with the help of cookie cutters.
  7. Prick or press with a fork for decoration.
  8. Bake at347°F (175°C) for 8-10 minutes or until the biscuits turn golden.
  9. Once done, take out the cookies from the oven and keep them aside to cool.
  10. Store them in an airtight container in a refrigerator.

Arrowroot makes a nutritious addition to your baby’s diet. It can add variety to your baby’s diet, while also improving the overall nutritional value of arecipe. However, just like any other food, use it in moderation. Do not give it in excess or add it to all your baby foods.

References:

1. Perez E and Lares M; Chemical composition, mineral profile, and functional properties of Canna (Canna edulis) and Arrowroot (Maranta spp.) starches.; National Center For Biotechnology Information
2. AprianitaAprianita et al.; Physicochemical properties of flours and starches derived from traditional Indonesian tubers and roots; National Center For Biotechnology Information
3. Feeding Guide for the First Year; University of Rochester
4. Arrowroot flour, FDC ID: 170684; Food Data Central; USDA
5. Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children; WHO
6. Folic Acid for a Healthy Baby; Stanford Children’s Health
7. Cooke C et al.; Arrowroot as a treatment for diarrhoea in irritable bowel syndrome patients: a pilot study.; National Center For Biotechnology Information
8. IkaDyahKumalasariet al.; Evaluation of immunostimulatory effect of the arrowroot (Marantaarundinacea. L) in vitro and in vivo; National Center For Biotechnology Information

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