Amaranth: benefits, nutrition and how to use it

Amaranth is a magical grain that has great health benefits. Research on amaranth has shown that this grain helps control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It is also anti-inflammatory in nature and helps with high blood pressure too! Let us know more about the health benefits of amaranth and how we can add it to our diet.

What is Amaranth?

Amaranth, a gluten-free grain-like plant, is also known as Rajgira and is a great addition to our diet. It is also a great source of dietary fiber.

Both the leaves and seeds of Amaranth can be consumed, says Ayurveda expert Dr Rekha Radhamony.

Why should we include Amaranth in our diet?

If you are wondering whether it is worth coming up with ways and recipes to include this magical grain in your diet, read on!

“Amaranth is a good source of protein, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamins A and C. In addition, it is naturally gluten-free. Amaranth also has a high fiber content and antioxidants. Lysine – the essential amino acid in amaranth leaves helps improve your energy levels and calcium absorption,” says Dr Radhamony.

A study published in the Journal of Food Science states that consumption of amaranth reduces plasma cholesterol levels, boosts the immune system, improves anti-tumor activity in the body, lowers blood sugar levels and helps with high blood pressure and anemia.

Dr. However, Radhamony warns: “Do not use Amaranth daily as overconsumption can increase Kapha (which can lead to weight gain, fluid retention and fatigue). It is best consumed once or a maximum of twice a week.”

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Amaranth has some great health benefits, such as lowering body glucose and cholesterol. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the health benefits of Amaranth?

Well, the benefits of Amaranth are numerous, provided it is included properly and in the right proportion in our diet. Dr. Radhamony lists the biggest health benefits of Amaranth.

1. Amaranth is great for bones

Amaranth is a rich and effective source of calcium. Including amaranth in your diet will definitely help you strengthen your bones.

2. Keeps heart disease at bay

The magnesium and phenolic acid in Amaranth help resist heart disease and strengthen the heart muscle. It also helps with cholesterol levels, according to this study published in International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Needs. It is stated that amaranth reduced very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL) by 21-50%.

3. Amaranth helps build energy

We all know that protein is a great supplement for the body and that amaranth is a great plant protein. Amaranth also helps improve your energy levels. It also helps in building muscle and higher immunity, which helps in the overall well-being of our body.

4. Aids in digestion

Because it is gluten-free, Amaranth is an excellent choice for people who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It can also help with weight loss as it is also a great source of fiber.

5. Anti-inflammatory properties

Amaranth roots have anti-inflammatory properties and are used to relieve pain and inflammation. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research indicates that several inflammatory markers are reduced thanks to Amaranth.

6. Antioxidant in nature

The antioxidants in Amaranth are great for our overall well-being. There are many natural ways to cleanse the liver and consuming amaranth is one of them. A study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition states that Amaranth is a good source of phenols and helps protect the liver from alcohol damage.

7. Helps with health problems

In Ayurveda, Amaranth is used for a wide range of purposes including the treatment of blood and respiratory disorders, diabetes, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, wounds, throat infections, blood purification, etc.

A woman cooking amaranth.
Amaranth can be included in your diet in several ways. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to include Amaranth in the diet?

Including Amaranth in our diet is an absolute must as it offers a wide range of health benefits. Here are some quick and interesting ways, suggested by Dr. Radhamony, to eat this magical grain.

1. Cook it like rice

Cook and consume Amaranth grains as you would cook rice or quinoa. It can be a great addition to your simple dinner recipes.

2. Make it pop

Pop amaranth grains to make popcorn. That would make for a healthy and guilt-free snack!

Also read: This delicious recipe for amaranth cookies is 100% gluten-free!

3. Eat it as breakfast cereal

Create a nutritious breakfast cereal or porridge by adding cooked amaranth grains with honey or milk.

4. Soup for the deadly winter

Amaranth soup is also a great option and would be the ideal choice for a winter evening, no matter what part of the world you are in.

5. Make it more exciting

Fry the amaranth leaves in ghee and season it with black pepper and cumin to make it a side dish.

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