10 surprising benefits of amaranth

benefits of amaranth

Amaranth is a nutrient-dense superfood that you may not have heard of before. It is a pseudocereal , with a higher amount of protein compared to true cereals. This little-known grain provides a host of health benefits, including better heart health, stronger bones, and better blood sugar control. Amaranth is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with food allergies or sensitivities. In this blog post, we will discuss the many benefits of amaranth and provide tips on how to incorporate this superfood into your diet.

What is amaranth?

Amaranth is a plant from the quinoa family. Its scientific name is Amaranthus hypochondriacus L , and its common name in English is “amaranth”. Amaranth is native to Mexico and other regions of Central and South America.

Today, amaranth is grown in many parts of the world, including the United States, India, China and Russia. It can be consumed in several ways, including cooked as a cereal, roasted as a seed, or ground into a powder. Amaranth can also be found in the form of flour, oil, syrup, and extract.

Nutritional benefits of amaranth

Regarding its nutritional properties, a cup of cooked amaranth contains:

Calories 251
Protein 9.4 grams
Carbohydrates 46 grams
Fats 3.9 grams
Fiber 5 grams
Calcium 116mg
Iron 5.2mg
Magnesium 160mg
Match 364mg
Potassium 332mg
Zinc 2.1mg
Manganese 2.1mg
Folate 54 mcg

As you can see, it contains a good amount of plant protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates. Contains 8 of the 9 essential amino acids (lysine, phenylalanine, leucine, valine, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, tryptophan).

Amaranth is also an excellent source of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, and a good source of zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin B5 and folic acid.

What are the health benefits of amaranth?

Amaranth is a plant that has many health benefits. Amaranth seeds are rich in nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins and minerals. They also contain antioxidants, which can help protect the body against cellular damage.

Amaranth is also rich in fiber, which can help improve digestion and waste elimination. Additionally, some studies ( 1 ) have suggested that amaranth may help:

  • Reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • Boost the immune system
  • Exercise antitumor activity
  • Regulate hypertension states
  • Improve anemia
  • Promote diabetes management
  • Provide antioxidant activity
  • Promote digestive health
  • Protect liver health ( 1 )
  • Reduce inflammation

What effects does amaranth have?

Let’s look at the health properties and benefits of amaranth more closely.

Reduces blood cholesterol

The treatment of high blood cholesterol primarily seeks to inhibit cholesterol esterase (an enzyme that promotes the formation of free cholesterol and fatty acids).

According to this study ( 2 ), certain components of amaranth proteins could play an important role in helping to inhibit the functioning of cholesterol esterase. Therefore, it could help lower blood cholesterol, which helps protect heart health.

Stimulates the immune system

Amaranth in the diet helps stimulate the immune system by maintaining the balance between certain responses in collagen-induced inflammation ( 3 ).

Similarly, an animal study ( 4 ) showed that amaranth helped inhibit the production of immunoglobulin E, a type of antibody involved in allergic inflammation.

Has an antitumor effect

Some amaranth peptides appear to have activity that prohibits the growth of certain colon cancer tumor cells, according to this study ( 5 ).

This effect appears to induce cell death of tumor cells, which supports the idea of ​​using amaranth proteins as a potential alternative ingredient for functional foods.

Regulates high blood pressure states

The bioactive peptides in amaranth may help improve heart health. There have been great and promising advances showing that amaranth proteins are sources of peptides that can help reduce high blood pressure ( 6 ).

The antioxidants in amaranth appear to have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps reduce blood pressure.

Improves anemia

Iron deficiency is the most common type of anemia, and amaranth grain can be used as an intervention to combat this deficiency ( 7 ).

Amaranth is an ideal cereal to be used in iron fortification. This represents a cost-effective option to combat anemia, especially in developing countries.

Promotes diabetes management

Oxidative stress plays a role in diabetes complications ( 8 ). It is suggested that the production of oxidants increases as a function of glucose metabolism. Oxidative stress can accelerate the basic process of various pathologies, including diabetes.

Additionally, some researchers report that consumption of amaranth grain or oil may protect against deficiency of insulin, a hormone necessary for sugar metabolism.

It is high in antioxidants

Amaranth contains abundant natural antioxidants, such as flavonoids, pigments, phenols, carotenoids and vitamin C. The antioxidants present in amaranth can protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.

“These natural antioxidant phytochemicals defend against several diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, cataracts, atherosclerosis, retinopathy, arthritis, emphysema, and neurodegenerative diseases” ( 9 ).

Promotes digestive health

The benefits of amaranth for digestive health are many. It is rich in fiber, which helps maintain regular intestinal traffic. In addition, it is naturally gluten-free, which makes it an ideal food for people who suffer from celiac disease.

Amaranth is also a good prebiotic, meaning it promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut ( 10 ). These beneficial bacteria in turn produce fatty acids that improve colon health. To benefit from these benefits, try incorporating a handful of amaranth into your daily diet.

Protects liver health

Amaranth oil has been found to have a positive, dose-dependent effect on protecting the liver.

This study ( 11 ) suggests that amaranth oil acts to prevent and reduce damage to liver tissue, due to its squalene content. Squalene, an organic compound, is one of the most powerful protectors against free radical activity.

Squalene has antitoxic, antioxidant and hepatotropic properties. The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body and, as a filtering organ, is subject to many toxic compounds and free radicals. Therefore, protecting the liver with an antioxidant and antitoxic compound could offer significant benefits.

Reduces inflammation

One of the most notable health benefits of amaranth is its anti-inflammatory properties. Amaranth is rich in compounds that help reduce inflammation, and this can lead to a number of health benefits.

Amaranth contains a peptide called lunasin, which appears to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. A 2014 study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research supports the anti-inflammatory findings with their 2014 study that found that amaranth prevented the activation of NK-kB (a group of genes that trigger inflammatory and immune responses). Therefore, amaranth is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can have a profound impact on human health.

How to consume amaranth

Nowadays, amaranth is becoming increasingly popular as a health food due to its high nutritional value. So how can you include amaranth in your diet? Here are some ideas:

  • Add cooked amaranth to soups or stews for added texture and nutrition.
  • Make a healthy breakfast porridge by cooking amaranth in milk or water and adding fruits, nuts and spices.
  • Use amaranth flour to bake gluten-free breads, cookies, and other treats.
  • Boil it like rice or quinoa.
  • Add to smoothies or yogurt.
  • Prepare it as puffed amaranth.
  • Use it as amaranth tea or amaranth milk.

Conclusion

Amaranth is a grain that has been consumed for centuries and is only now gaining popularity in the Western world. This superfood is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also has a high-quality amino acid profile and contains essential fatty acids. Amaranth has anti-inflammatory properties and may help improve blood sugar control. If you haven’t tried this healthy grain yet, I encourage you to give it a try!

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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