This “pseudo grain”, a seed that is often confused to be a grain due to its similar uses and nutritional value, is gluten-free and jam-packed with minerals. Each amaranth plant contains hundreds of seeds making it easily accessible and cultivated. Amaranth contains more protein per cup than brown rice, bulgur, or quinoa. In addition to the seeds, the leaves of the amaranth plant are of nutritional value containing high levels of vitamin C.

Disease/Ailment:

High cholesterol
Constipation
Osteoporosis 

Health benefits:

Lower cholesterol: Amaranth’s high soluble fiber content helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber binds to bile salts that are needed in the fat absorption process. When the fiber binds to the bile salts which will be eliminated in the feces, the body needs to draw from stored cholesterol in the body to continue the fat absorption process. Thus blood cholesterol levels are lowered.

Constipation: Just like most whole grains, the high fiber content aids in maintaining regular bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases stool bulk and weight so that it is more easily passed through the digestive tract. 

Manganese: Amaranth contains high levels of manganese, a trace element that is needed for the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Low levels of manganese have been associated with infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and seizures.

Good source of:

Iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese

Purchasing, storing, & enjoying:

Purchasing: Amaranth seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores and natural food stores either prepackaged or in bulk. Amaranth flour is also sold and prepared in cereals and other baked goods.

Storing: Store amaranth flour in the refrigerator where it will keep for 2-3 months. Amaranth seeds should be stored in a dark, dry place in an airtight container where they will keep for a year or longer. To make it last for an additional 6-8 months, store in the refrigerator.

Enjoying: Cook 2 ½ cups of water per cup of amaranth seeds. Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Fun tip: Amaranth seeds can be popped, a fun alternative to popcorn.

Resources & recipes:

Amaranth hemp poppers: http://www.yumuniverse.com/2009/12/31/amaranth-hemp-protein-poppers/

Blueberry ‘n’ crème amaranth porridge: http://naturallyella.com/2012/02/29/blueberries-n-cream-amaranth-porridge/

Amaranth tabbouleh: http://vegan.sheknows.com/2011/05/17/amaranth-tabouleh/

 

References:

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/manganese-000314.htm

Budin, J.T.; Breene, W.M.; Putnam, D.H. Some compositional properties of seeds and oils of eight Amaranthus species. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 73: 475-481 (1996).

Prakash, D.; Joshi, B.D.; Pal, M. Vitamin F in leaves and seed oil composition of the Amaranthus species. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr., 46: 47-51 (1995).

Bressani, R,; De Martill, E.C.; De Godinez, C.M. Protein quality evaluation of amaranth in adult humans. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr., 43: 123-143 (1993).


About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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