Amaranth is an ancient grain, traditional for Aztec. It has exceptional nutritional, dietary and health characteristics. The taste of the amaranth will hardly impress you, but do not ignore it because it is very useful.
Amaranth (Amaranthus) is annual plant. There are many types and varieties of the plant which in different parts of the world are used in different ways (such as cereal, leaf vegetable or ornamental plant). Most useful is as a cereal grain and its colors vary from white to orange.
Whether you choose to consume it as a leaf vegetable, a cereal grain, or grain flour depends on what amaranth health benefits you are seeking out. The root itself is also consumed as a root vegetable and has a rich mixture of minerals and nutrients. Considering the versatility and high concentration of antioxidants and phytosterols, amaranth is one of the most of valuable health foods that you may have never heard of. Now, let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of amaranth.
Before the discovery of America it was among the main grain cultures of the local tribes and it was used in pagan rituals, but after the discovery of the continent the growing and harvesting of this grain was stopped. In the second half of the twentieth century its cultivation began again, and today is very common in North and South America, Asia and Africa.
Amaranth contains all the essential amino acids; the amount of lysine is three times greater than that of other cereals. It is rich with Vitamin E (antioxidant) and from minerals contains: iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Also it contains large amounts of fiber. Unlike most cereals, it is wheat gluten free, i.e. it is ideal for people who suffer from gluten enteropathy and it is used in weight loss programs.
Nutritional value per 100 g amaranth: 374 calories, 14 g protein, 6.5 g fat, 66 g carbohydrates, 9.3 g fiber.
Amaranth Health Benefits and Uses
Some of the most unique amaranth health benefits include its ability to stimulate growth and repair, reduce inflammation, prevent certain chronic diseases, boost bone strength, lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, reduce the appearance of varicose veins, maintain healthy hair, and ease weight loss efforts.
Improves Digestion – Amaranth contains more dietary fiber and protein than other whole grains. Its high fiber content helps improve bowel movement and aids digestion. The high roughage diet makes it an ideal food to eat when one is feeling constipated. Moreover, it is easy to break down for both little kids and older people.
Reduces Inflammation – The anti-inflammatory properties of peptides and oils in amaranth can ease pain and reduce inflammation. This is especially important for chronic conditions where inflammation erodes your health, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health – The dietary fiber mentioned above also helps to balance cholesterol in the body by eliminating “bad” cholesterol from the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, amaranth contains a huge amount of vitamin K, which is a well known booster for heart health. Finally, the potassium content in amaranth helps to lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels and reducing the strain on the cardiovascular system, thereby lowering the chances of developing atherosclerosis. The high content of phytosterols found in amaranth also contribute to a reduction in “bad” cholesterol.
Treats Anemia – Amaranth is a rich source of essential nutrients and one of the richest sources of iron, with more than five times the iron than wheat. Amaranth leaves instigate coagulation and have been known to boost blood hemoglobin content and RBC counts.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol – Amaranth is one of the best food choices for someone with high blood sugar and cholesterol. It has proven cholesterol-lowering abilities. It is highly fibrous, and this property helps reduce LDL levels in the blood and instigates weight loss. Amaranth contains tocotrienols (a type of vitamin E) which is an effective remedy for lowering cholesterol.
Treats Osteoporosis – Amaranth is one of the richest sources of calcium out there. It has been found to decrease the risk of calcium deficiencies, and in turn reduces the risk of bone diseases like weak joints (osteoporosis) and rheumatoid pains. It is one of the best replacements for all lactose-intolerant people.
Other Amaranth Health Benefits
- Amaranth is rich with sulfur-containing amino acids, which are important for the proper functioning of the liver and the proper development of newborns.
- Improves the function of the gastrointestinal tract and helps with problems with digestion.
- It has beneficial effects in pregnant women, active athletes and for people that are operating under severe conditions.
- Fibers are helping with digestion, regulate normal bowel movements, and thus, amaranth prevents the development of abdominal cancer and rectum cancer.
How to Consume?
Amaranth is a much tastier after heat treatment, and improves the absorption of nutritional substances. It should be boiled in water in a ratio of 1:2.5, about 25 minutes on lower temperature. Sweeten with honey or stevia and add nuts and / or dried fruit.
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