Amaranth is considered a weed by much of the world, but it has been grown as a grain-like seed and a vegetable for thousands of years. The Aztecs used it as a staple and even included it in their religious rituals. It has about the same yield as many other commonly used grains like rice and a similar nutritional value to quinoa, which makes it well worth looking into.
1.Gluten Free – Amaranth isn’t really a grain and it does not have the sometimes troublesome proteins you find in wheat, rye, and barley. Amaranth flour can be used to thicken soups, sauces, and more. It can also be used with other gluten free flours and gums in baking.
2. Cholesterol – The oils and phytosterols in amaranth help lower cholesterol levels, including LDL and triglycerides.
3. 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.
4. Cancer – The same peptides in amaranth that protect against inflammation may also help prevent cancer. The antioxidants in this grain may even help protect cells from other damage that can lead to cancer.
5. Blood Pressure – The fiber and phytonutrients in amaranth lower blood pressure according to some recent studies. This seed tackles cholesterol, inflammation, and blood pressure, making it an all-around good food for heart health.
6. Protein – Amaranth is a very rich source of protein and this protein is also highly bioavailable. The protein in amaranth is more digestible than other seeds and grains and has been compared to the digestibility of milk protein.
7. Lysine – Vegetables and grains are often lacking in this essential amino acid. Amaranth has a good amount of lysine which helps the body absorb calcium, build muscle, and produce energy.
8. Fiber – Amaranth is a high fiber food. This makes it filling and means it aids digestive health, cholesterol, blood pressure, and slows the absorption of sugars to let the body keep up with energy production.
9. Minerals – Amaranth is a very rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and copper. It is also a good source of zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. These build strong bones and muscles, aid hydration, boost energy, and are vital in thousands of processes throughout the body.
10. Vitamins – Amaranth is also a good source of many essential vitamins too, including A, C, E, K, B5, B6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin. These act as antioxidants, raise energy levels, control hormones, and do much more.
11. Immune System – Amaranth may boost immune function according to some studies, probably thanks to the potent vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
12. Gray Hair – Amaranth helps prevent premature graying, mainly due to the minerals this seed has in abundance.
Amaranth, like most seeds, nuts, and grains, does contain some phytic acid, a phosphorus storage molecule that can bind to many minerals and keep us from digesting and using these vital nutrients. It is always better to soak, ferment, or sprout seeds and grains before cooking them to neutralize most of the phytic acid. Amaranth has a modest amount of oxalic acid, which should be avoided or only moderately used by those with gout, kidney problems, or rheumatoid arthritis.
13. Snack Bonus – You can pop amaranth, like popcorn, and use it as a healthy snack or as a treat by mixing it with coconut syrup or honey.