Cornstarch, also referred to as corn flour, is obtained by grinding the white endosperm present in the middle of a corn kernel. Thomas Kingsford, superintendent at a wheat starch industrial unit in Jersey City, New Jersey, is credited with the discovery of cornstarch. Until he discovered the substance in 1851, people mainly used cornstarch for industrial purposes like starching laundry. Currently, cornstarch has multiple uses including its use as a thickener in cooking, a healthy alternative to talc as well as the primary constituent of biodegradable plastic. In fact, powdered sugar also contains insignificant quantities of this substance to prevent it from forming clumps.
Cornstarch has a number of popular culinary uses. For instance, it can be utilized to bind puddings or other similar food stuff. It can also be used in the form of a thickener for preparing stews, sauces and other similar dishes. When placed in hot water, cornstarch can form clumps that are unappetizing. Therefore, when cooks require something that is cooking on stove from before, it is recommended that they add cold water to a little cornstarch in a glass prior to adding the blend to the pot.
It is worth mentioning here that cornstarch also offers a few health benefits. However, it contains very high calories and is very low in vitamin and protein content. At the same time, the essential mineral content of cornstarch is also very insignificant. Cornstarch contains very little iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Some people use cornstarch to enhance their calorie intake or even as an energy source, but there are always several other healthier alternatives. One such option is non-fat dehydrated milk powder, which supplies us with additional nutriments that are essential for our body for fitness and excellent health.
If you though that cornstarch is only an excellent thickening agent for your fruit pie or gravy, you are certainly wrong. This substance offers many health benefits too. This soft powder obtained from the white kernel of corn may not be an excellent source of essential minerals and vitamins, but it does help to perk up your calorie levels, especially for people who require it most. It is a wonderful source of energy and helps to prevent the blood sugar levels from dropping – especially beneficial for those people who suffering from nocturnal hypoglycemia.
While almost everyone is endeavouring to reduce their calorie intake, there are some people who need to enhance their calorie intake and gain weight. It has been found that a serving of one tablespoon of cornstarch provides the body with about 30 calories. This powder obtained from the kernel of corn is almost flavourless and hence it easily mixes with a variety of foods and increase the calorie intake of an individual without disturbing his/ her appetite. Cornstarch makes the consistency of foods it is mixed with denser. While you can mix cornstarch to foods you want to thicken, but it is better not to add this carbohydrate to foods that are thickened from before. Ideally, you should mix cornstarch with hot cereal, mashed potatoes, pudding, gravy and even yogurt. While mixing cornstarch to different foods you need to be careful that you add it in small amounts and increase the quantity gradually. This will help to prevent your body taking extra thick foods.
Aside from the benefits of cornstarch discussed above, this starch also offers us a number of medicinal benefits. For ages, people have been using this carbohydrate to deal with low blood pressure (hypotension), especially in diabetic patients and also those suffering from glycogen storage disease – a metabolic disorder that is usually inherited. It would take a very long time to digest raw cornstarch, resulting in a stable glucose supply to the body. This will help in putting off low blood sugar levels, mainly during the night when one is asleep. Although cornstarch offers the above mentioned health benefits, it is advisable that you do not add this carbohydrate to your foods simply to control the blood sugar levels. This must only be done if your doctor or dietitian prescribes for it.
You can also use cornstarch in the form of a DIY with a view to soothe skin irritations, for instance those caused by skin allergies and sunburn. Prepare a paste by adding cold water to three teaspoonful cornstarch and stir it for some time till it has the same consistency as that of peanut butter. Subsequently, use a cotton ball or gauze to apply the paste to the affected skin and allow the paste to dry. Ideally, you should apply the paste before retiring to bed so that it gets enough time to heal the irritated skin.
When exposed to bacteria, oil and damp, often bug bites become more itchy and aggravated. However, you can avoid such situations and keep the injury area clean as well as dry by applying a paste prepared by blending cornstarch and water. It will help to lessen the itchiness too. To prepare the paste, add cold water to three tablespoonful cornstarch. Stir the mixture till it takes the form of a paste. Subsequently, put the paste on a cotton ball or gauze and apply it to the area affected by bugs.
Athlete’s foot is a miserable podiatric condition. It is not only smelly, but is worst cases, it may even make the feet look ugly. This disorder is attributed to fungus growing on the surface of the foot’s skin. Most people are aware that warm and damp conditions are excellent for fungus to flourish and this is the reason why athletes are commonly affected by this uneasy disorder, especially whose feet sweat inside the shoes. The ability of cornstarch to absorb moisture makes it a wonderful preventive medicine for this condition. All that you need to do is dust your feet with some dry cornstarch before wearing shores. It will help to keep your feet dry and prevent any fungus from growing on them.
Cornstarch has been found to be useful for children suffering from gastric dumping syndrome. Children enduring this symptom experience that the food they ingest passes very quickly through their stomach as a result of which the hypertonic (having a relatively higher osmotic pressure) substance reaches the intestines rapidly. Consequently, surplus water gets into the intestine and this causes osmotic diarrhea, cramps and abdominal pains. Such children may also experience low blood sugar and low volume of blood in their system. When such children are fed via gastrosomy, raw cornstarch will help to retard the rapidly emptying contents from the stomach. Since cornstarch is a complex carbohydrate, it also functions as an excellent long-drawn-out as well as measured glucose source. Intake of measured amounts of cornstarch helps to improve the levels of glucose in the body by alleviating problems like fatigue and various other symptoms. At the same time it induces noteworthy weight gain, especially in children.
Aside from the above mentioned health benefits of cornstarch, people with shiny or oily skin can use this powdery organic substance made from the kernel in the form of a setting powder. Cornstarch helps to take up surplus oil from the skin and preserve one’s makeup for a prolonged period.
You can also blend one tablespoon of cornstarch with glycerin (one tablespoon) and rum (one-fourth tablespoon) and use the mixture to cleanse your face. This organic facial cleanser is effective in getting rid of dead skin from the face. Cornstarch has a gentle abrasive property and this helps it to exfoliate.
Cornstarch is an excellent moisture absorber and this property is useful in eliminating sweating of the feet. In order to avail this benefit of cornstarch, one needs to sprinkle a little powder of corn flour on the feet and then wear shoes. You will be surprised how effective it is.
Moreover, cornstarch also is effective in the form of a natural deodorant. To use this white powder as a deodorant, you need to blend it with lavender oil and apply the mixture on the underarms. This natural substance also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which is useful for soothing the skin, especially when one suffers from burns, itching and rashes.
You will be surprised to know that you can also use cornstarch as a quick dry shampoo too. It is especially useful for people who have oily hair, as it aids in cleansing greasy hair. Ideally, one can take a little amount of this powder and sprinkle it at the root of his/ her hair. Allow it to remain for 5 minutes and subsequently simply comb the hair to get rid of cornstarch. You will really be astonished to see the results. You can also use cornstarch to free your tangled hair. Apply a little cornstarch to your tangled hair and comb it after some time to remove the powder. Now, your hair will be free of tangles.
The ability of cornstarch to absorb moisture makes it a healthier option for use as a talc. Unlike the talc available commercially, cornstarch is organic and not harmful for the skin. Hence, it can safely be used as baby powder. In addition, recent findings have associated the chemical talc with cancer as well as circulatory diseases. Contrary to this, cornstarch is natural and safe for use.
Cornstarch is also useful for any person who may be following a diet plan that recommends taking high-calorie foods. Such people include athletes, because taking high calorie diet helps them to get the additional energy required for regular and rigorous trainings as well as better performances in competitions. Cornstarch is basically a carbohydrate and contains a lot of calories. This is the reason why it is also helpful for those engaged in body building.
Before concluding, here is a word of caution. Obese people struggling to lose surplus fat and body weight should essentially avoid consuming cornstarch since it is packed with calorie and contains insignificant or no protein or fiber. Our intestine needs enough time to digest cornstarch and, hence, if such people consume this food, it may result in various different types of intestinal problems.