I will give you a sense of confidence in my cornstarch products. Gluten-free diets help in reducing toxins that cause inflammation and help reduce blood clotting and inflammation. Cornstarch, in general, is a gluten-containing food because it is manufactured from corn, a gluten-free grain. The worry is that some manufacturers of this ingredient frequently make products containing wheat and other grain-based gluten. Please continue reading to find out how cornstarch is created, how it is used, and what gluten-free alternatives are available.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a naturally found protein in most wheat products and certain cereal grains. It is a glue to hold wheat, barley, semolina, durum, farro, rye, etc., together and maintain their shape.
Also read: 13 probiotic Indian foods that are super healthy
What is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a fine powder used in baking and cooking. It is processed from the nutrient-rich endosperm of corn. Several corn kernels are ground and washed to separate the starch from the protein, fiber, and oil components. It leads to the formation of a fine, white powder called cornstarch. Cornstarch acts as a thickening agent when mixed with water at room temperature. This slurry thickens curries, soups, sauces, gravies, puddings, glazes, pie fillings, etc. Cornstarch can also starch clothing, clean silverware, and, surprisingly, polish your car.
Is Cornstarch Gluten Free?
As corn is a gluten-free grain, cornstarch is naturally gluten-free. Unfortunately, it is often manufactured on equipment shared with other grains and grain products, like wheat. This means that there is some risk for cross-contamination, though many celiac sufferers do not react to cornstarch.
Need for Gluten-free Cornstarch
The gluten-free diet has become an indispensable part of society. Some people prefer to follow a gluten-free diet for health benefits or to avoid allergies. Celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy is an immune reaction to eating gluten. It causes inflammation, malabsorption of nutrients, and damages the small intestine’s inner lining, leading to medical complications. Diarrhea, anemia, headache, wind, bloating, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss, vomiting, swollen belly, pale and foul-smelling stools, and constipation are the common symptoms of this disease. However, a lot of people show no symptoms. The only treatment for Celiac disease is following a strict gluten-free diet. It will promote gradual intestinal healing.
Some labeled gluten-free brands available in the market are Clabber Girl, Hodgson Mill, Bob’s Red Mill, Argo & Kingsford’s, Rumford, and Thrive market.
Substitutes for gluten-free Cornstarch –
Thankfully, there are various other natural gluten-free options other than cornstarch. Some of them are listed below:
Potato starch is refined starch extracted from potatoes. It is rich in carbohydrates with minimal protein or fat. The cells of the root tubers of the potato plant are rich in leucoplasts or starch grains. Potato starch is obtained by crushing and grinding potatoes, which releases starch from the destroyed cells. This starch is allowed to separate by hydro cyclones and later dried into a powder. It is a clear white powder with no taste, long texture, high binding strength, high swelling power, and minimum tendency to foaming or yellowing. That is why it is used in food applications. Potato starch can be supplemented by one spoon per 1 spoon of cornstarch at a ratio.
It is a tropical tuber native to Indonesia. Arrowroot starch or arrowroot dirt is extracted and processed from the Arrowroot’s rhizome. A rhizome is an underground stem with multiple shoots and roots. It is a storehouse of starch and calories, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Arrowroot starch is more fibrous than cornstarch and yields a transparent gel when mixed with water at room temperature. It has no fats and is easy to digest. It supports the immune system, fights diarrhea, and aids in weight loss. It is used as a thickening agent in sweet and savory dishes.
Rice Powder or Rice Flour is a white gluten-free powder made from finely ground rice. It is made by soaking rice in water, draining the grains completely, drying, and grinding them until a smooth and fine powder is obtained. You can use it for culinary and nonculinary purposes like cosmetics and mushroom cultivation. It is extensively used for culinary purposes by Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nepal, Japan, and Sri Lanka. It thickens transparent liquids and prepares rice cakes, dosa, Puttu, idli, Bhakari, galapóng, mochi, kori Rotti, Golibaje, etc. Rice flour is rich in calories, protein, carbohydrates, calcium, and fiber. It manages blood glucose levels, improves cardiovascular health, and regularises bowel movement.
It is a popular food additive due to its thickening and stabilizing abilities. It is formed by fermentation of sugar with Xanthomonas Campestris, followed by drying and powdering the resulting gel. It is used in food products like soups, ice creams, sauce, syrup, juices, and gravies; industrial products like paints, adhesives, fungicides, and insecticides; and personal care products like creams, toothpaste, and lotions. Xanthan gum lowers blood glucose levels, lowers cholesterol, aids in weight loss, and regularises bowel movement. You can replace cornstarch with Xanthan Gum in a 1:1 ratio.
Tapioca is a gluten-free product extracted from the roots of the cassava plant. The roots of cassava are beaten into a pulp, followed by evaporation of excess water from the starchy liquid. This leaves behind tapioca flour which is good for metabolic health. It majorly contains carbohydrates with a minor quantity of protein, fat, and fiber. It is used as a binding and thickening agent in cooking and baking. It prepares bread, puddings, desserts, soups, sauces, etc. It is used as a replacement for cornstarch in the ratio of 1:1.
Psyllium or Espagnol is a gluten-free prebiotic and laxative. It is obtained from the Psyllium (Plantago ovata) seeds’ husks. It is rich in fibers but low in carbohydrates. Psyllium husk eases digestion, reduces inflammation, relieves constipation, regulates cholesterol, and maintains body weight. It is also good for the human heart and pancreas. It swells when dissolved in water and forms a gel. It is commonly used as a dietary supplement but also in baking bread, cookies, cakes, pizza, etc.
Flaxseed or Linseed is obtained from the flax plant, Linum Usitatissimum. Flaxseeds are high in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. It reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. Ground flaxseeds are commonly added to smoothie bowls, cereals, oatmeal, salads, bread, muffins, and cookies.
It is obtained by scraping the outer husk of the seeds of the guar plant. The starchy endosperm is then dried and ground to form Guar Gum. The gum is rich in fiber but low in calories. It is an additive in the food, textile, pharmaceutical, paper, and cosmetics industries. It regulates blood sugar levels, maintains cholesterol, eases digestion, and maintains weight.
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