Amaranthus spinosus L. is a commonly found weed in India that has recently gained significant attention (1). Have you ever heard of this grain?
Let’s find out more about Amaranth and its benefits in this article and include it in our lives.
Nutritional Properties of Amaranth (2)
Amaranth is a nutritional powerhouse rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibre, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, making it an ideal grain for a healthy diet.
Additionally, it is also a rich source of essential amino acids, squalene, tocopherols, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, phytates, vitamins, and minerals, all of which contribute to its exceptional nutritional value.
Amaranth Benefits (2)
Primary Benefits: Amaranth seeds are a great source of high-quality protein, containing essential amino acids that are crucial for building new cells and tissues.
Secondary Benefits: In addition, these amino acids also help enhance neuronal function, immune system, and muscle recovery.
Primary Benefits: Amaranth contains bioactive peptides that help reduce the expression of several proinflammatory markers.
Secondary Benefits: As a result, Amaranth aids in lowering inflammation and preventing several chronic diseases associated with it.
Primary Benefits: Amaranth is an excellent source of antioxidants like polyphenols, ascorbic acid, phenolic acids, and tocopherols.
Secondary Benefits: These antioxidants protect cells against oxidative stress, limiting the accumulation of free radicals that can cause toxic effects and induce the appearance of diseases.
Gluten Intolerance & Celiac Disease
Primary Benefits: Amaranth is gluten-free. This makes it an excellent alternative for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Secondary Benefits: Amaranth can also be beneficial for people having other problems with intestinal absorption. Since it is gluten-free and easy to digest, it can help these people to absorb nutrients more efficiently, leading to improved overall health.
Primary Benefits: Amaranth is highly rich in calcium, making it a valuable food for the healthy development of bones.
Secondary Benefits: It can, hence, also aid in the prevention and management of osteoporosis.
Primary Benefits: Amaranth oil has been proven to reduce total and bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol in animal models.
Secondary Benefits: In addition, it is also known for improving cholesterol metabolism, making it an effective tool to fight high cholesterol.
Primary Benefits: Amaranth is high in manganese, which helps regulate sugar levels in the body, prevent diabetes and boost immune function.
Secondary Benefits: In addition, studies have also shown that glucose absorption is driven at regular intervals in diabetes patients when Amaranth starch is consumed, and their heart health also improves with the consumption of Amaranth oil.
Primary Benefits: Amaranth is rich in folate, a nutrient that helps in the formation of new cells, making it an excellent option for pregnant women.
Secondary Benefits: In addition, it also helps prevent spina bifida and heart defects in babies.
Primary Benefits: Amaranth provides high levels of insoluble fibre along with soluble fibre.
Secondary Benefits: This helps prevent constipation and several other digestive issues.
Amaranth in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Amaranthus spinosus L. or Amaranth is known as Tanduliyaka (1). Ayurveda uses several parts of the Amaranth plant to manage or treat different health conditions (3).
- The roots and shoots of Amaranth are used in Ayurveda to help manage excessive menstruation.
- The decoction of young roots of Amaranth is used for the treatment of respiratory complaints like asthma.
- Amaranth leaves are highly packed with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin K, folate, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C and are used to boost energy in the body.
- The leaves of Amaranth are a terrific source of manganese, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus and therefore are used to maintain proper mineral balance in the body.
- The juice of the leaves Amaranth is used to prevent hair fall and premature greying of hair.
How Is Amaranth Used in India?
In India, the leaves and seeds of Amaranth are used to prepare several recipes, such as:
- Amaranth leaves are used to make saags, which is a popular dish eaten with rotis or rice.
- Amaranth seeds are consumed as a cereal or used to make porridge, laddoos and chikkis.
- The pooped seeds of Amaranth, also known as Rajgira or Ramdana, are also eaten as a snack.
On a Final Note
Amaranth is a nutrient-dense grain that is also gluten-free. It has been identified as a superfood due to its exceptional nutritional value.
Amaranth provides many benefits to the body. It helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, improve bone health, manage cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels. Amaranth is also beneficial for pregnant women and people with constipation and other digestive issues.
In Ayurveda, Amaranth is known as Tanduliyaka and is often used to control excessive menstruation, treat respiratory complaints, and maintain proper mineral balance in the body. Including Amaranth in our diets can be a great step towards a healthier lifestyle.