Foods high in starch are a main staple in diets as it provides fibers, proteins, and vitamins. The more common foods high in starch are potatoes, corn (maize), wheat, and rice. However, there are some unique starches that are rising in popularity and may provide different health benefits and substitutions.
Breadfruit is mostly grown on the Pacific Islands. Its unique name comes from the fact that the fruit tastes similar to bread. This can be a huge step in the gluten-free industry as the fruit is gluten-free, yet can produce the taste of bread that we all know and love. It is a good source of fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These bad boys normally grow to be about 0.55 lbs. to 13 lbs. However, there are known instances where the fruit has grown to a whopping 25 lbs. or larger. This has the potential to combat hunger in the tropic islands.
Breadfruit can be ground into a flour which makes it easy to bake into breads, cookies, and cakes.
Arrowroot isn’t specifically a type of plant. It is actually a starch produced from the roots of different plants and rhizomes. Its most common function is a food thickener; however, it has been used in different functions. Arrowroot has multiple health benefits including: gluten-free, regulating metabolic processes, easy digestion, and low calorie.
- Tapioca-found in the root of Cassava plant. Tapioca is normally made into puddings, but is found in the popular bubble tea drink. It can also be ground into a flour and used in multiple products.
- National Tapioca Day is June 28th!
- Kudzu- Also known as Japanese Arrowroot. Typically used in East Asia, the starch is found in the root. Considered an invasive species in the United States, Kudzu runs rampant in the southern climate. The plant is edible, but due to the amount of herbicides, it is not recommended.
Arracacha is from the same family as celery and carrots. It is a good cash crop for poor farmers in the Andes and Brazil. Its small size starch grain makes it easily digestible. This is beneficial to create a puree for babies and the elderly.
There are many different types of starches ranging in flavors and nutritional benefits. Find out more about them here.
- Breadfruit Institute, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, 2016. Web. http://ntbg.org/breadfruit/breadfruit/
- Heath Benefits of Arrowroot, Organic Information Services Pvt Ltd. 2016. Web. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/arrowroot.html
- Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza), International Potato Center, 2016. Web. http://cipotato.org/roots-and-tubers/arracacha/