Have you heard about amaranth? This fast-growing plant is taking the health world by storm due to its amazing health benefits. You may wonder why you should add amaranth to your diet. Here are 12 good reasons why that may be a good idea.
What is amaranth?
The word amaranth in Greek means immortal. Although amaranth’s health benefits aren’t as extensive as mortality, they are worth noting. Amaranth is a bushy type plant with a thick stalk and abundant leaves. This fast-growing plant can reach anywhere from three to nine feet tall. The seeds of the amaranth plant are used to mill flour. Aztecs popped amaranth seeds and eaten ate them with brown sugar in Mexico’s ancient times.
Amaranth is also used in medicine in some countries to remedy malaria, diabetes, bacterial diseases, snake bites, and parasites. Both red and green amaranth plants provide lots of health benefits.
So why eat amaranth? Let’s take a look at why this healthy food exploded onto the nutrition scene again recently.
To say that amaranth is nutritious is an understatement. Researchers continue to dig up new evidence of its health benefits. Here are at least 12 reasons you should add this amazing plant to your regular diet.
1 – High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid aids the growth and proper development of your body’s functions like the formation of collagen, the ability to absorb iron, healing, and maintaining your immune system. Without enough vitamin C in your body, you can’t maintain good bones, cartilage, or teeth.
A recent study on green amaranth found it contains a higher amount of vitamin C than the red amaranth plant. It’s abundant in antioxidant phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants. When you eat plants high in phytochemicals, they can lower your risk of some diseases.
2 – Amaranth is gluten-free
Gluten is found in pasta, bread, and cereal. It’s healthy for most people, but for some, gluten triggers reactions such as inflammation or gut pain. Because amaranth is gluten-free, it’s a great alternative substitute for grain. Amaranth is low in carbohydrates and easy to digest, but be sure to cook it. It’s not digestible eaten raw. You can cook it like you would a grain.
- Add 1 cup amaranth to 2 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until soft
- Don’t let it set too long; otherwise, it will get mushy and jelly-like. Eat it as a savory dish or sweet, depending upon what you add to the grain.
Put one tablespoon of amaranth seeds into a saucepan and set on medium heat. Allow seeds o warm-up, and they’ll begin to puff up. Shake the pan when you hear the popping sound to make sure all the seeds get popped. Don’t let them get too hot, or they’ll burn.
3 – Lowers cholesterol
Cholesterol builds healthy cells, but too much cholesterol in your body causes a buildup in your blood vessels. This blockage makes it difficult for your blood to flow properly to your arteries. This leads to heart disease. There’s no way to tell if your cholesterol is high except through a blood test.
Research confirms that amaranth is high in fiber and phytosterols. So eating it may lower your cholesterol and, in turn, lower your blood pressure and reduces your risk for atherosclerosis. It’s also packed with vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and helping wounds heal. It’s also thought that vitamin K can help you have better bone health.
4 – Boosts immune system
Your immune system plays a significant role in your body’s health. Protecting your body from harmful germs, substances, or cell damage, your immune system goes to work, destroying any foreign microbe that enters your body. It’s important to have a healthy functioning immune system to stay healthy. Amaranth is packed with antioxidants, which means it boosts your immune system.
It’s also thought that it has anti-inflammatory benefits to help relieve arthritis and other inflammation-related diseases. It’s phytochemicals neutralize the free radicals and other damaging that affect your health. Amaranth oil can be used topically to relieve painful minor injuries and skin conditions.
5 – Abundant amounts of protein
The cells in your body contain a lot of protein. You need protein to help your body repair damaged cells and build new cells. Protein is essential for proper growth in kids, teens, and pregnant women, high in protein and amino acids, including lysine. One cup of this super grain provides 10 grams of protein, which is higher than most grains. In fact, this plant-based protein is very similar to milk proteins, which makes it easy to digest.
6 – It may be good for diabetes
Left untreated, diabetes is harmful to your heart, kidneys, and nerves. The high glucose levels damage your organs, causing a stroke, a heart attack, eye problems, feet, and nerve damage. If you have diabetes, you need to manage your glucose levels by eating a healthy diet and checking the levels throughout the day. Amaranth can lower blood glucose levels. With 2 grams of fiber per half a cup of amaranth, it’s a great addition to your diet.
Because amaranth is considered high on the glycemic index, it should be eaten with a grain that has a lower glycemic level. A glycemic level is a number assigned to foods that represent the rise of your blood glucose level a couple of hours after eating food. Good grains to mix with amaranth are as follows:
- Brown rice
One study suggests combining amaranth with a type of grain in 25% to 75% for the lowest GI level.
Vitamins and minerals are combined to provide your body to perform many roles in your body. They keep your bones strong, heal your wounds, and boost your immune system. Some vitamins and minerals turn your food into energy and repair damage in your body. If you’re looking for a great source of vitamins and minerals, look no further than amaranth. This super grain is a great source of vitamins, including vitamin C, E, A, K, B5, B6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin. Amaranth contains many minerals, including: