Amaranth can be cooked and used in breads to give a boost of nutrition and a crunchy texture. Amaranth is used in many dishes including baby food, whole grain meals, stir-fries and skin products. It can also be cooked as porridge, used to make polenta or added to soups. The puffed Amaranth goes well with other foods like granola, breakfast cereals, cookies and other baked goods. Popped amaranth can easily replace popcorn or it can be ground into a gluten free flour that can be used be used for baking. Amaranth has been used to create candies incorporated with chocolate and honey.
High in Protein
Amaranth has a high content of protein per serving. Every cup of Amaranth contains 28 grams of protein. This is twice as much protein compared to long-grain rice which contains only 13 grams of protein per cup. The protein contained in Amaranth reaches 78% bioavailability. This means that 78% of the protein from amaranth that you consume will be absorbed and utilized by the body. The protein contained in Amaranth is more digestible than the protein contained in other seeds or even the protein obtained from milk.
Amaranth is high in fiber which means that it can be very filling and essential to good digestion. The fiber in Amaranth can also help prevent constipation and encourages detox in the body. The dietary fiber is bulky in your stomach which leaves a feeling of fullness, leading people to eat less and reach their weight loss goals. Amaranth is also a prebiotic which can help keep the gut clean by creating a welcoming environment for good bacteria. Amaranth contains squalene which is a strong anti-inflammatory and reducing inflammation can contribute to weight loss.
Research shows that the unsaturated oils that are naturally found in Amaranth can help reduce hypertension. Amaranth oil can help control cell membrane flexibility and stabilized membranes. It is known that when suffering from hypertension the cell membrane is defective and the movement of Sodium ions and Potassium ions across the cell is impacted causing an increase in blood pressure.
Beneficial for Cardiovascular Disease Patients
Coronary heart disease is one of the most common causes of mortality and the risk factors include hyperlipidemia, obesity and hypertension. Several studies have shown that Amaranth can have cholesterol-lowering potential. The oil that is found in Amaranth can lower the total LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). There are also other studies that have shown that Amaranth contains Phytosterols which have cholesterol cutting properties in the gut. Consuming 2-3 grams of Physterols per day for 3-4 weeks can reduce LDL cholesterol by 10%. This study is specifically beneficial for people who have high cholesterol, independent of whether they are taking cholesterol lowering drugs.
Amaranth also contains Squalene and Tocotrienol compounds which are known to affect cholesterol biosynthesis. This in terms refers to the ability to absorb cholesterols regularly.
Lower Cancer Incidences
Researchers are finding that Amaranth contains a group of enzyme inhibitors that may have anti-carcinogenic activity. This is because Amaranth contains an enzyme inhibitor that can block the growth of breast cancer cells.
The Physterols that are contained in Amaranth also help lower the risk of cancer. Studies show that people who consume the most Physterols have a low risk of stomach, lung, breast and ovarian cancer. There are also studies that indicate that Physterols in Amaranth can have anti-cancer properties helping to slow the growth and the spread of tumors.
Lowers Chronic Diabetes
Amaranth contains many oils and peptides that contain anti-inflammatory properties. This is especially helpful for chronic diabetes patients in which inflammation is causing insulin resistance. Amaranth has excellent nutritional and nutraceutical properties which provide excellent qualities and balance of amino acids. Because of its essential oils, Amaranth can help lower hypertension, cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.
Boosts Immune System
We strongly rely on our immune system to keep us healthy by protecting our cells from viruses and bacteria. To have a strong immune system there must be a constant supply of vitamins and nutrients. Amaranth is a powerful seed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can boost immune functions according to some studies. Amaranth is high in Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamins A, E and C. The fiber that Amaranth contains can also help absorb nutrients and vitamins easily.
The consumption of Amaranth is a good preventative measure to keep a strong immune system during cold and flu season.
Provides Necessary Nutrients for Babies
Amaranth is one of the healthiest and beneficial grains that is being used to make baby food. Amaranth in baby food helps with their digestive tract, brain development and much more. Babies are born with enough Iron stored in their bodies that will last them until they are about 6 months old. After 6 months, babies need to receive Iron from the food they eat. When a baby is being, breast fed, they are not receiving the whole 11 grams of Iron necessary for proper development. Lack of Iron in a baby’s diet can lead to lasting delays and deficits in cognitive and behavioral developments. Amaranth has 15 milligrams or protein per cup and can easily be incorporated in meals.
Prevents Premature Graying
Since Amaranth is so nutrient packed, it can help restore natural color in hair and even prevent hair from graying. Amaranth can be used in skin products. The repair serum that is extracted from the seeds has a high natural Squalene content. The Squalene content helps hair in regaining its natural color according to research. The Lysine that is contained in the Amaranth is also helpful because in the absorption of Calcium which is known to be good for healthy hair.
The amaranth plant is a tall broad-leafed bushy type of plant that grows about six feet in height and it produces brightly colored flowers which contain lots of seeds. Various Amaranth species were grown by the Aztecs Mayans and Incas 5,000 to 6,000 years ago prior to the disruption of the south American civilization by the Spanish conquistadors.
Amaranth was an important crop and was used in local religious rituals. It is a pseudo grain, like Quinoa, earning the name of “Super Grain of the Aztecs” and “Golden Grain of the Gods.” The English word Amaranth is derived from Sanskrit and it means “deathless”.
Sources of Information
“Amaranth Grain for Babies.” O’Boy Organic. N.p., 30 May 2014. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.
SANCHEZ‐MARROQUIN, A., F. R. DEL VALLE, M. ESCOBEDO, R. AVITIA, S. MAYA, and M. VEGA. “Evaluation of Whole Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) Flour, Its Air‐Classified Fractions, and Blends of These with Wheat and Oats as Possible Components for Infant Formulas.” Journal of Food Science. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 25 Aug. 2006. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.
Okoth, Judith Kanensi, Sophie Atieno Ochola, Nicholas K. Gikonyo, and Anselimo Makokha. “Development of a nutrient‐dense complementary food using amaranth‐sorghum grains.” Food Science & Nutrition. N.p., 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.
“Introducing Solid Foods to Babies.” NaturoDoc. Natural health information, products, and consultations.N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.
Martirosyan, Danik M., Lidia A. Miroshnichenko, Svetlana N. Kulakova, Ala V. Pogojeva, and Vladimir I. Zoloedov. “Amaranth oil application for coronary heart disease and hypertension.” Lipids in Health and Disease. BioMed Central, 05 Jan. 2007. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.
Bradford, P. G., and A. B. Awad. “Phytosterols as anticancer compounds.” Molecular nutrition & food research.U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2007. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
Awad, A. B., C. S. Fink, H. Williams, and U. Kim. “In vitro and in vivo (SCID mice) effects of phytosterols on the growth and dissemination of human prostate cancer PC-3 cells.” European journal of cancer prevention : the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP).U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2001. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
Awad, A. B., A. Downie, C. S. Fink, and U. Kim. “Dietary phytosterol inhibits the growth and metastasis of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells grown in SCID mice.” Anticancer research.U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
Ronco, A., E. De, P. Boffetta, H. Deneo-Pellegrini, M. Mendilaharsu, and F. Leborgne. “Vegetables, fruits, and related nutrients and risk of breast cancer: a case-control study in Uruguay.” Nutrition and cancer.U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
De, E., P. Boffetta, A. L. Ronco, P. Brennan, H. Deneo-Pellegrini, J. C. Carzoglio, and M. Mendilaharsu. “Plant sterols and risk of stomach cancer: a case-control study in Uruguay.” Nutrition and cancer.U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
RN, David Spero BSN. “Put Out the Fire of Diabetes Inflammation.” Diabetes Self-Management. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.