13 Health Benefits of the Superfood Amaranth

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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.

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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.

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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.

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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COMMENTS / REPLIES 25

Want to add your voice?

  • Can I just add to my oatmeal without cooking it first .like just sprinkle on it

  • I just bought amaranth flour to use when baking. How much are the health benefits diminished when processed into flour? And baked? I use it with all-purpose regular flour and rice flour to improve nutrition a bit.

  • We cook buckwheat by putting two cups into four cups of water, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer or less. Would that be a healthy way to cook Amaranth, or would you recommend a different way?

  • Thank you so much for all of this valuable information! My question is, do all of these health benefits remain when just eating Amaranth raw? Like say mixed in with a yogurt and fruit dish? Does the bioavailability increase with cooking? Any info would be much appreciated! Thanks so much!

    • Moderator

      You are so welcome, Samantha. Like most seeds, amaranth does have some antinutrients that prevent us from using everything. Soaking amaranth is the best way to unlock all of the nutrition, but that isn't always possible and it limits how you can use it. Cooking destroys some of the antinutrients, but it also destroys some nutrients. Feel free to eat it raw, cooked, and sometimes soaked and you should be fine.

  • Hi - Can i add it to my oats cereal in the morning as sprinkle and if so how much will be adequate considering i read you can have it on its own. AS i currently add 1/2 Tea spoon Cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ground Fenugreek and 1 tea spoon of CLA (ghee). Want to add this into to the mix.
    Any suggestions?

    • Moderator

      I think it would be a great addition to your oats. Probably a couple teaspoons to a tablespoon. It takes some time to cook, so you may want to do that first or at least toast/pop them.

  • Hi Charlie,
    I've never heard of Amaranth. What are other ways to cook and eat this grain-like seed?
    -Lauren

    • Moderator

      You can cook amaranth like other grains and seeds, Lauren. It tends to get sticky when you cook it like rice, but is delicious. Embrace the stickiness and you have a great breakfast cereal or you can cook it with other grains to cut back on the stickiness. I like it popped. You simply roll it around a hot skillet and the little seeds pop, not as dramatically as popcorn, but they make a nice snack or sprinkle them in a salad. You can also add them to soups very easily. Hope that helps.

  • What does it taste like?

    • Moderator

      In reply to christiana's comment

      It has a mild, nutty flavor, similar to many other seeds and grains. The leaves can be a little bitter raw, but they mellow when cooked and are delicious in stir fry, soups, or eaten like spinach.

  • Hi
    I am making organic skin and hair products.. For which I want amaranth extracts to add in hair oil to prevent premature greying. Can u kindly tell me how I can make amaranth extract of its seeds.
    Thank you in advance.

    • In reply to mansi's comment

      Hi Mansi,
      We will have on May 3rd pre-orders on amaranth oil. Check out our website for more info :) http://www.5-am.co/buy-organic-amaranth-oil/

    • Moderator

      In reply to mansi's comment

      Amaranth oil is pretty hard to extract from the seeds. This is why amaranth oil is so expensive. I would grind the seeds in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or with a milling blade in a blender. Then use another oil to coax out the oils out of the seeds. Soak it in olive, jojoba, or another oil for a while. That might work.

  • Hi Charlie,
    Great great article!
    One very important thing I would add, especially in the cancer section. The antioxidant in amaranth, vitamin E, but much more importantly squalene, make amaranth unique. Amaranth is the only known plant-based source with such high quantities of squalene.

    Check out our website: www.5-am.de
    5AM is making amaranth to a sustainable staple food for global food security.
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-what-eat-affects-world-waldemar-juschin?trk=prof-post

    Best,
    Waldemar Juschin

  • How much B6 in it's oil.?

    • Moderator

      In reply to Mel's comment

      B vitamins are water soluble, so I would expect that the amount in the oil is much lower than in the seed itself. That is the case with most other seeds and grains. Sorry, Mel.

  • That's amaranth?

  • Where can I buy the amerand seeds?

  • Hi Sr.
    I read your report about Amaranth herb, my question is, how to use the plant, not the oil for food and keep the health benefits of it?
    Thank you in advance.
    Sami

    • Moderator

      In reply to Sami's comment

      Sami, the seeds and leaves of amaranth can be eaten. The grain can be used in place of rice or couscous in many recipes. It can even be popped for a healthy snack. The leaves work well in salads or treated much like spinach. I hope that helps you.