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:
8 – High in calcium
Calcium is essential to maintain strong bones and perform other functions. Most of your calcium is stored in your bones and teeth to keep them hard. Your body also needs calcium to build and maintain your muscles and nerves. Eating amaranth regularly may help improve your bone health. This is because it has much calcium and vitamin K. Thus, it helps to fight osteoporosis, a degenerative disease that causes bones to become brittle and weak.
9 – Aids your digestion
Digestive problems make it difficult to find healthy foods that won’t affect your gut. Look no further than amaranth super grain. With lots of fiber and other easy-to-digest minerals, amaranth is a good gluten-free grain to add to your diet, especially if you have Celiac disease. Just be sure to cook or pop the amaranth before you eat it. When it’s not cooked, it’s hard like a dried bean.
10 – Strengthens blood vessels
Ugh, varicose veins!
Those ugly blue and green bumpy veins that pop out on your legs aren’t attractive. They can also be painful and sometimes harmful. The secret to getting rid of varicose veins could be as simple as adding amaranth to your diet. Packed with flavonoids such as Rutin, which helps reduce varicose veins, amaranth also strengthens the capillary walls due to its high amount of vitamin C and collagen.
11 – Healthy eyes
It’s easy to forget about the importance of keeping your eyes healthy until you face an eye infection or other eye-related problem. Amaranth is easy to boost your eye health due to its high level of vitamin A and carotenoid. Muscular degeneration and cataracts are common as you age. Adding amaranth to your diet can help slow down these degenerative diseases.
12 – Helps your overall cardiovascular health
Today, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for women and men in the United States. Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity are a growing problem for all age groups. Studies found that this grain is a good dietary source for people with CVD because it contains magnesium and healthy dietary fiber.
Amaranth leaves, stems, and seeds are packed with proteins carotenoids, amino acids, and dietary fibers to name a few. This super grain is a high level of antioxidants phytochemicals and vitamin C promotes your immune system and helps reduce heart disease.
The plant acclimates well to drought or wet conditions, so it’s easy to grow. Thus, it’s making a big impact on countries around the world who are adopting it as the main food source, especially in poorer countries where food is difficult to grow. Researchers are constantly finding new health benefits of this amazing plant. With so many benefits to eating this food, the question isn’t why should you eat amaranth, but why aren’t you?