World is witnessing health revolution and new super foods are being explored to offer the variety of health foods that take care of day to day nutritional needs. Some foods that were already a part of certain regional diets have suddenly gained lot of importance as studies have revealed their nutritional value. One such grain that made nutritionists raise their eyebrows is “Amaranth”. The term amaranth has Greek origin and it means “never fading”, “everlasting”, or “immortal” and that speaks a lot about the properties of amaranth.
Studies have shown that it is the only grain containing vitamin C. It is rich in minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron as well. The calcium rich amaranth is native of Peru and is grown in various parts of world like China, India, Russia, Africa, North America, and South America. The protein and calcium rich grain is staple to many regions across the world. Actually a weed, amaranth produces seeds that are just like grain. The yield of this grain is quite good and comparable to those of other grains, while its nutritional value can be compared with quinoa that is not commonly found. The ample availability and great nutritional value make amaranth a fabulous food for everlasting health.
Some of the common health benefits of amaranth are mentioned here.
- High protein content
Amaranth is full of protein. About one cup of cooked amaranth would provide nine grams of protein, which is unusually high. Protein is building block of body and very much important for cell regeneration, neurological functions, muscle mass building, and to make all organ system work efficiently. Those undergoing heavy workout may also benefit with protein consumption as it will check the muscle damage.
- Gluten free
Gluten free dishes are finding more takers these days. Amaranth, which is actually not a grain is gluten free substitute to many grains and flours. It can be added to dishes for binding and thickening without adding gluten. One can use its flour in soups for thickening or as grain in porridge, fritters, and bread to add health to every bite.
- Healthy bones
This wonder grain is quite rich in calcium. It contains about thrice the amount of calcium typically found in grains. Calcium deficiency can lead to various health problems like osteoporosis, fractures, and deteriorated bone health. Including amaranth in your daily meals is one of the most effective way to increase the calcium levels in your body.
- Fights hypertension
Apart from being rich in calcium, protein, and minerals, this grain is also loaded with phytonutrients and fibers that keep the blood pressure in control. Higher potassium content in this grain effectively cuts the sodium effect and hence controls blood pressure. Add this super food in breakfast to get the most of this first meal of the day. It will control your blood pressure levels throughout the day and keep you active.
- Contains lysine
Lysine is a rare amino acid that aids absorption of calcium and energy production. Most of the grains and vegetables don’t contain lysine in good amount, but amaranth has ample of this amino acid. It also helps in muscle building.
- Brings down cholesterol levels
Fiber in amaranth binds the cholesterol, which is then excreted from the body. The fiber rich amaranth removes cholesterol from the body by producing more bile for digestion. Higher bile production may mean increased removal of cholesterol. Study was carried out in 1996 by Russian Researchers in order to understand the effect of amaranth on people suffering from cardiovascular disease and hypertension. There was a noticeable reduction in LDL and triglyceride levels after including amaranth in their diet.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties
Amaranth contains oils and peptides having anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation and pain. This is important to prevent the chronic health conditions like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Research has shown that peptides and anti-oxidants present in amaranth are also effective in preventing cell damage, which may eventually lead to cancer.
- Varicose Veins
Flavonoids like rutin present in amaranth strengthens the capillary walls, whereas vitamin C would increase the collagen production leading to strengthening of blood vessel walls. This would help in treating the symptoms of varicose veins and also preventing this unsightly issue associated with ageing.
- Fetus health
Folate, an important nutrient for the growth of fetus is found in sufficient amount in amaranth. Expectant mothers can protect the babies against birth defects by increasing amaranth intake during their pregnancy.
Amaranth seeds are the powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and proteins that our body needs to grow and function effectively. It can be used in various recipes like porridge, risotto, bread, energy bar, and pancakes due to its versatile nature. Make the most out of this wonder grain that is available easily around the globe.
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