Amaranth is considered a weed by much of the world, but has been grown as a grain and vegetable for thousands of years. The Aztecs used it as a staple food and included it in their religious rituals. It has about the same yield as many other more commonly used grains like rice. Amaranth also has a similar nutritional value to quinoa, which makes it well worth looking into.
- Cholesterol – The oils and phytosterols in amaranth help lower cholesterol levels, including LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
- Inflammation – The anti-inflammatory properties in the peptides and oils of amaranth can ease pain and reduce inflammation. This is especially important for chronic conditions where inflammation erodes at health, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- Cancer – The same peptides in amaranth that protect against inflammation may also help prevent cancer. The antioxidants in this grain may also help protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer.
- Blood Pressure – The fiber and phytonutrients in amaranth lower blood pressure according to some recent studies. This grain tackles cholesterol, inflammation, and blood pressure, making it all around a good food for heart health.
- Protein – Amaranth is a very rich source of protein and this protein is also very bioavailable. The protein in amaranth is more digestible than other grains.
- Lysine – Vegetables and grains are often lacking in this essential amino acid. Amaranth has a good amount of lysine which helps the body absorb calcium, build muscle, and produce energy.
- Fiber – Amaranth is a high fiber food. This makes it filling and means it aids digestive health, cholesterol, blood pressure, and slows the absorption of sugars to let the body keep up with energy production.
- Minerals – Amaranth is a very rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and copper. Amaranth contains more magnesium than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 519 milligrams of magnesium, followed by buckwheat with 393 milligrams and sorghum with 365 milligrams. In comparison, an equal amount of white rice contains 46 milligrams of magnesium. Amaranth contains more iron than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 15 milligrams of iron. Teff is a close second with 14.7 milligrams of iron. In comparison, white rice contains 1.5 milligrams of iron. It is also a good source of zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. These build strong bones and muscles, aid hydration, boost energy, and are vital in thousands of processes.
- Vitamins – Amaranth is also a good source of many essential vitamins including A, C, E, K, B5, B6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin. These act as antioxidants, raise energy, control hormones, and much more.
- Immune System – Amaranth may boost immune function according to some studies, probably thanks to the potent vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Gray Hair – Amaranth helps prevent premature graying, mainly due to the minerals.
Amaranth has a modest amount of oxalic acid. It should be avoided or only moderately used by those with gout, kidney problems, or rheumatoid arthritis.