Have you heard of amaranth? This fast growing plant is revolutionizing the world of health due to its incredible health benefits. You may be wondering why you should add amaranth to your diet. Here are 12 good reasons why it might be a good idea.
What is amaranth?
The word amaranth in Greek means immortal. Although the health benefits of amaranth are not as extensive as mortality, they are worth noting. Amaranth is a bushy type plant with a thick stem and abundant leaves. This fast-growing plant can reach three to nine feet tall. The seeds of the amaranth plant are used to grind flour. The Aztecs exploited amaranth seeds and ate them with brown sugar in ancient Mexico.
Amaranth is also used in medicine in some countries to remedy malaria, diabetes, bacterial diseases, snakebites, and parasites. Red and green amaranth plants provide many health benefits.
So why eat amaranth? Let’s take a look at why this healthy food made a comeback on the nutrition scene recently.
To say that amaranth is nutritious is an understatement. Researchers continue to unearth new evidence for its health benefits. Here are at least 12 reasons why you should add this amazing plant to your regular diet.
1 – High content of vitamin C
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid helps in the proper growth and development of your body’s functions, such as collagen formation, the ability to absorb iron, healing, and maintaining your immune system. Without enough vitamin C in your body, you cannot maintain good bones, cartilage, or teeth.
A recent study green amaranth was found to contain a higher amount of vitamin C than the red amaranth plant. It is abundant in antioxidant phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants. When you eat plants that are high in phytochemicals, they can reduce the risk of some diseases.
2 – Amaranth does not contain gluten
Gluten is found in pasta, bread, and cereals. It’s healthy for most people, but for some, gluten triggers reactions such as inflammation or intestinal pain. Because amaranth is without gluten, is a great alternative grain substitute. Amaranth is low carb and easy to digest, but be sure to cook it. It is not digestible if eaten raw. You can cook it like a grain.
- Add 1 cup of amaranth to 2 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until smooth.
- Don’t let it sit too long; otherwise it will become soft and jelly-like. Eat it as a savory or sweet dish, depending on what you add to the grain.
Put a tablespoon of amaranth seeds in a saucepan and put over medium heat. Let the seeds warm up and they will start to swell. Shake the pan when you hear the sound of a popping sound to make sure all the seeds pop. Don’t let them get too hot or they will burn.
3 – Reduces cholesterol
Cholesterol builds healthy cells, but too much cholesterol in your body causes a build-up in your blood vessels. This blockage makes it difficult for blood to flow properly to the arteries. This leads to heart disease. There is no way to know if your cholesterol is high except through a blood test.
Research confirms that amaranth is rich in fiber and phytosterols. Therefore, eating it can lower your cholesterol and, in turn, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of atherosclerosis. It’s also packed with vitamin K, which helps blood clot and helps wound healing. Vitamin K is also believed to help you have better bone health.
4 – Stimulates the immune system
Your immune system plays an important role in the health of your body. By protecting your body from harmful germs, substances, or cell damage, your immune system kicks in, destroying any foreign microbes that enter your body. It is important to have a healthy functioning immune system to stay healthy. Amaranth is packed with antioxidants, which means that it boosts your immune system.
It is also thought to have anti-inflammatory benefits to help relieve arthritis and other inflammation-related diseases. Its phytochemicals neutralize free radicals and other harmful ones 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 of your body contain many proteins. You need protein to help your body repair damaged cells and build new cells. Protein is essential for proper growth in children, adolescents and pregnant women, it is 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, making it easy to digest.
6 – May be good for diabetes
If left untreated, diabetes is harmful to the heart, kidneys, and nerves. High glucose levels damage your organs, causing a stroke, heart attack, eye problems, foot problems, and nerve damage. If you have diabetes, you need to control your glucose levels by eating a healthy diet and monitoring the levels throughout the day. Amaranth can lower blood glucose levels. With 2 grams of fiber per half a cup of amaranth, it is 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 food that represents the rise in your blood glucose level within a couple of hours after eating food. Good grains to mix with amaranth are the following:
- Integral rice
One study suggests combining amaranth with one type of grain by 25% to 75% for the lowest GI level.
Vitamins and minerals combine so that your body can perform many functions in your body. They keep your bones strong, heal your wounds, and boost your immune system. Some vitamins and minerals turn food into energy and repair damage in your body. If you are 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 for maintaining strong bones and performing other functions. Most of the calcium is stored in the bones and teeth to keep them hard. Your body also needs calcium to build and maintain your muscles and nerves. Eating amaranth regularly can help improve the health of your bones. This is because it has a lot of calcium and vitamin K. Therefore, it helps fight osteoporosis, a degenerative disease that causes bones to become brittle and weak.
9 – Help your digestion
Digestive problems make it difficult to find healthy foods that don’t affect your gut. Look no further than the super grain of amaranth. With plenty 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 eating it. When uncooked, it is tough like a dried bean.
10 – Strengthens blood vessels
Ugh, varicose veins!
Those ugly blue and green bumpy veins that appear on your legs are not 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 like 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 the importance of keeping your eyes healthy until you are faced with an eye infection or other eye-related problem. Amaranth is easy to improve the health of your eyes due to its high level of vitamin A and carotenoids. Muscle degeneration and cataracts are common as you age. Adding amaranth to your diet can help delay these degenerative diseases.
12 – Helps your overall cardiovascular health
Today, cardiovascular disease is 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 this grain to be a good dietary source for people with cardiovascular disease because it contains magnesium and healthy dietary fiber.
Amaranth leaves, stems, and seeds are packed with protein, carotenoids, amino acids, and dietary fibers, to name a few. This super grain is high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamin C, boosts your immune system and helps reduce heart disease.
The plant acclimates well to drought or humidity, making it easy to grow. Therefore, it is having a great impact in countries around the world that are adopting it as the main source of food, especially in the poorest countries where it is difficult to grow food. Researchers are constantly finding new health benefits from this amazing plant. With so many benefits of eating this food, the question is not why you should eat amaranth, but why not?