Culture Amaranth flour is a gluten-free, protein-rich flour widely used. It is produced by grinding seeds from the amaranth plant into a fine powder. Amaranth is commonly known as terere or mchicha.
Amaranth is similar to other grains, and a good source of fiber and B vitamins. These nutrients are key for keeping your metabolism strong and your energy high. One cup of cooked amaranth contains about 251 calories. It contains 4 grams of fat and no cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, and 46 grams of carbohydrates.
Amaranth is a great source of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, three key micronutrients. In a one-cup serving, you’ll get your entire day’s worth of manganese and almost half your day’s worth of magnesium and phosphorus. It also contains nine grams of protein per one-cup serving, which is much higher than other grains, giving you even more of a nutritional bang for your buck.
What Are The Benefits Of Amaranth?
Amaranth is gluten-free, which is great news for anyone who wants to have a healthy diet but is gluten-intolerant. The seed is a great source of protein, which helps build muscle and boosts immunity and hair health. And the fiber amaranth contains works great for treating diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even cancer.
- Is Gluten-Free
That’s some fantastic news for people with sensitivities or intolerances to gluten. Gluten sensitivity is basically a cluster of symptoms that happen due to reaction to a protein in the wheat plant (and that protein is gluten). The most severe form of gluten sensitivity is Celiac’s disease, which causes serious digestive complications.Given amaranth doesn’t have gluten, you can happily include it in your gluten-free diet.
- Is An Excellent Source Of Protein
We have read in school that protein is the building block of the body. And then, we forgot about it. It’s time to remind ourselves about the importance of this nutrient.Amaranth contains an unusually high quality of protein. One cup of cooked amaranth offers 9 grams of protein. This nutrient is used by every cell in our body – and is essential for building muscle mass and digestion. It also aids neurological function.
- Helps Fight Inflammation
Amaranth is a great tool you can use to fight inflammation. And more importantly, it treats inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout. This is especially true in the case of osteoarthritis.The magnesium in amaranth also offers anti-inflammatory benefits. These anti-inflammatory properties of amaranth can be attributed to the presence of phytochemicals, which amaranth contains aplenty.
- Improves Bone Health
Manganese is one important mineral this vegetable contains, which plays a role in bone health. One cup of amaranth offers 105% of the daily value of manganese, making it one of the richest sources of the mineral.According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, amaranth is one of the ancient grains important for a bone-healthy diet. It contains protein, calcium, and iron – nutrients crucial for bone health which helps heal broken bones and even strengthens the bones.
- Strengthens The Heart
Amaranth increases the concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids and other healthy long-chain acids from the omega-3 families. This also can have a beneficial effect on patients suffering from hypertension.
- Might Fight Diabetes
Though amaranth has a high glycemic index, surprisingly, it may not be harmful for diabetics. In a study, rats fed with amaranth oil or amaranth grain experienced an increase in insulin levels and a decrease in blood sugar levels. You might want to have amaranth along with lean protein foods and foods high in unsaturated fat.
- Fights Cancer
The protein in amaranth can play a vital role in cancer treatment. It builds the health of healthy cells that are otherwise destroyed in chemotherapy. Amaranth also contains tocotrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family, found to have anticancer properties. We don’t know much about tocotrienols, but whatever little is known tells us that these compounds play a role in the treatment and prevention of cancer.
- Is A Great Source Of Lysine
Amaranth tops the list of the high-lysine grains – offering 721 milligrams of the nutrient in a half cup serving. Lysine is one essential amino acid that plays a role in calcium absorption. It also burns fat and maintains the skin, tendons, cartilage, and bones. The lysine in amaranth is also used to treat herpes virus and cold sores around the mouth. It also works as an immune booster.
- Boosts Immunity
Amaranth oil also works great for immunity – especially for children suffering from allergies. Amaranth is also rich in zinc, another mineral known to empower the immune system. Zinc has an important role to play, especially in the immune systems of older people. Older individuals might be more susceptible to infections, and zinc helps by staving them off. Zinc supplementation is linked to an increase in the numbers of T-cells, which are a type of white blood cells associated with a stronger immune system. T-cells target and destroy invading pathogens.
- Enhances Digestive Health
The fiber in amaranth bags the credit here. It binds to the cholesterol in the digestive system and results in its excretion. The fiber basically acts as bile and pulls the cholesterol out of the stool – which, apart from offering benefits to your heart, also aids digestion. It also regulates the excretion of waste.
Around 78 percent of the fiber in amaranth is insoluble while the remaining 22 percent is soluble – and this proportion is higher than what is found in other grains like maize and wheat. Soluble fiber aids proper digestion.
Amaranth also treats leaky gut syndrome, where the gut lining that prevents the bigger food particles (that can damage your system) from passing through gets inflamed. This causes fatigue, bloating, headaches, and even weight gain. Amaranth works here by encouraging the growth of the beneficial gut bacteria, thereby healing the leaky gut.
- Might Aid Weight Loss
Though not a weight loss food specifically, amaranth could be an addition to your weight loss diet. Fiber is what we can look at here. It suppresses your appetite and keeps you full, and this discourages overeating – healthily impacting your overall weight loss process. Amaranth is also a whole grain, and it contributes to weight loss much better than refined grains.
- Improves Vision
Amaranth contains vitamin A, which is known to improve vision. The vitamin is important for vision under poor lighting conditions, and it also prevents night blindness (caused by vitamin A deficiency). Amaranth leaf also is rich in vitamin A, which can help enhance vision.
- Is Beneficial For Pregnancy
Amaranth is rich in iron, a mineral that has a vital role to play during pregnancy. It helps deliver oxygen to the baby and supports its development. And the folate in this veggie helps the body make new cells. It also is crucial for copying and synthesizing DNA. More importantly, a folate deficiency can lead to neural tube defects in the newborn. Folate is also considered the most important vitamin during pregnancy. In fact, fortification of foods with folate by the FDA had cut down the risk of neural tube defects by 26 percent.
- Improves Hair And Skin Health
Amaranth contains lysine, an amino acid the body cannot produce – and an amino acid that can benefit the hair. It strengthens the hair follicles and helps prevent male pattern baldness. You can simply extract the juice from the amaranth leaves and apply to your hair after shampooing. The iron in amaranth also contributes to hair health. This mineral might also prevent premature graying.
Amaranth oil can be beneficial to your skin as well. It can help prevent premature signs of aging and even serve as a good cleanser. You just have to massage a few drops of the oil into your face before you take a bath.
- Combats Anemia
Given that it is rich in iron, amaranth can help combat anemia – which is a result of the deficiency of the mineral. This was proved in a study published in Public Health Nutrition, where adding amaranth to the diets of Kenyan children had improved their anemic symptoms.