Cornstarch is a flavourless powder created from the endosperm portion of corn, which is believed to have originated in Mexico or Guatemala, and constituted a considerable portion of the First Nations’ diet. Corn is a good source of vitamin A, manganese, potassium, heart-friendly fibre and folate, thiamin (important for energy production and brain function), pantothenic acid (B vitamin necessary for carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism, and support of adrenal glands), and beta-cryptoxanthin (a carotenoid which may significantly lower the risk of lung cancer).
Sounds good, right? Don’t get excited, cornstarch itself imparts no nutritional value, but helps to produce a smooth texture needed in gluten-free baking, similar to the affect of tapioca. It also provides a crispy texture when used in drier baked goods like sugar cookies or pastry, or used in coatings or batters for deep frying food.