As long as 8,000 years ago our ancestors planted Amaranth for its nutritional values. As it varies from other grains present on the market, the Amaranth plant is known because of pseudocereals. We are cultivated for their starchy and edible grains and do not belong to the cereal family including rice and wheat. Amaranth is incredibly versatile in its uses, rich in antioxidants, micro-nutrients, fiber, and protein. Find its nutritional value, health benefits, and some tasty forms of eating Amaranth.
What is Amaranth?
Amaranth was once regarded as a staple food for the people living in ancient civilizations of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca. It offers a nutty and earthy taste that deliciously combines with a wide array of dishes. Amaranth is a pseudocereal highly nutritious with a superior protein content relative to other cereals.
Amaranth is a well-balanced food that has different functional properties such as high nutritional value and helps with proper digestion.
Amaranth has nutritional value to offer?
Yes, they do. Amaranth just like any other grain needs to be cooked and washed. Cooked a 100 gram Amaranth contains 103 calories. It has a moderate amount of dietary minerals (iron, manganese, and phosphorus) and large concentrations of lysine and protein. The best part of Amaranth grains is that they are gluten-free, and those who are intolerant of gluten will consume it without concerns.
Let’s look at the nutritional value of one cup of cooked Amaranth (about 246 grams)
• Protein: 9.4g
• Carbohydrates: 56g
• Fiber: 5.2g
• Calories: 251g
• Fat: 3.9g
According to ECHO (Hunger Organization Educational Concerns), Amaranth produces certain anti-nutritional elements, such as phenolic compounds, saponins, nitrates, and oxalates. Therefore, cooking methods such as boiling the Amaranth seeds in water and then throwing away water may reduce the grain’s toxic effects.
What are the advantages of health?
While Amaranth has recently gained popularity as healthy food, this super ancient grain was an important part of the diet for various people around the globe. This provides an exceptional and large nutrient profile, and it has multiple health advantages to it. Let’s take a look at some of Amaranth’s health benefits.
Rich in antioxidants –
The human body is composed of harmful free radicals. Antioxidants are natural compounds that help protect the body from these free radicals. Amaranth carries high amounts of phenolic acid, vanillic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid and gallic acid which helps protect you from many degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
It could help to lower cholesterol levels –
Cholesterol, a type of fat that can narrow down the arteries if seen too much in the blood. Several experiments also indicated that Amaranth may have certain cholesterol-reducing effects. A survey showed that Amaranth’s oil had decreased by 22 percent and 15 percent respectively “poor” or LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. It also assists in simultaneously increasing “healthy” or HDL cholesterol.
Aiding weight loss –
If you’re talking of losing those few extra pounds then you should continue to consistently incorporate Amaranth to your diet. Amaranth is rich in protein and fiber which both aid in weight loss. A study showed that a high-protein meal allows the hunger-stimulating hormone to reduce the ghrelin rates. Inside the gastrointestinal tract, the fiber in Amaranth moves slowly and undigested, which helps to promote the feeling of fullness. Higher consumption of fiber helps to reduce the incidence of body fat and weight gain.
Reduces Skin Inflammation –
Inflammation is a normal immune response intended to protect the body against infection and injury. Nevertheless, it can lead to multiple chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disease, asthma, and cancer in cases of chronic inflammation.
Multiple studies indicate Amaranth has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body of humans. Throughout one research Amaranth was shown to have helped to suppress multiple inflammatory markers. One study showed Amaranth could prevent the development of immunoglobulin E, an antibody that triggers allergic inflammation.
It is naturally gluten-free –
Grains including spelled, rye, and wheat produce some kind of protein known as gluten. People with celiac disease can not eat gluten, as the body produces an immune response that triggers digestive tract inflammation and harm. But they are able to eat Amaranth, a gluten-free grain that also contains many essential nutrients.
Amaranth vs Quinoa
While they share different characteristics, these ancient South American grains vary in many forms, too. They are classified as whole-grain foods but are not completely true whole grains. Let’s look at the following ways, how these differ from each other.
• Nutrition –
Compared to quinoa Amaranth contains more protein. A cup of Amaranth contains 9 g protein, while a cup of quinoa offers 8 g protein. But both contain about twice the amount of protein you can get from whole wheat, oats and brown rice. Even the quality of the protein in both quinoa and amaranth is better than almost all the whole grains that are also low in amino acid, lysine.
Moreover, both grains are good sources of zinc, magnesium, iron and are considered important sources of vitamin B6.
• Flavor –
While Amaranth and quinoa both give a nutty flavor after frying, Amaranth is more flavourful. When frying, Amaranth’s seed emits a strong fragrance of grass that converts into a spicy, nutty flavor reminiscent of hay. But in the case of quinoa, a moderate taste is produced that can easily take on the characteristics of the food with which it is eaten.
Bottom Line –
Even though Amaranth has been around for a long time, in recent times it has gained popularity among people because it includes minerals and proteins of high quality. The main strength is that it is gluten-free and helps a whole lot of people with gluten intolerance to include Amaranth throughout their diet. Amaranth is of great benefit to your wellbeing, as it provides a wide range of nutrients. You can even prepare Amaranth in a number of nutritious and savory dishes.
Please contact a dietiano , licensed dietitian to get yourself a customized diet plan.