Amaranth or Amaranthus is cultivated as a leaf vegetable, cereal, and ornamental plant. It was first known by the Aztecs as huauhtli, which represented 80 percent of the caloric consumption. Amaranth grains are toasted and mixed with honey, molasses, or chocolate to make a treat called alegría.
Here are the 7 health benefits of amaranth.
1. Amaranth can be used as a staple food.
For centuries, amaranth has been used as a staple in Mesoamerica. One cup of amaranth contains 716 calories and only 3 grams of sugar.
2. Amaranth may help improve your digestive health.
Amaranth is an excellent source of fiber. A one-cup serving of lima beans contains 13 grams of dietary fiber. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively. Dietary fiber may help prevent constipation, making one’s bowel movement easier to manage.
3. Amaranth can help you build stronger bones.
One cup of amaranth contains 307 milligrams of calcium. An adult should be consuming 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium to help prevent osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases. The mineral plays a vital role in building stronger, healthier bones early in life and keeping bones strong and healthy later in life. About 99 percent of consumed calcium is stored in bones and teeth.
4. Amaranth could help alleviate PMS symptoms.
One cup of amaranth contains 322 percent of the mineral manganese. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggested that taking manganese with calcium could help improve symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome like anxiety, restlessness, irritability, pain, depression, and mood swings.
5. Amaranth can help prenatal babies develop properly.
Amaranth is an excellent source of B-vitamin complex like folate. Folate has shown to help in neural tube formation and red blood cell formation in prenatal babies. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns.
6. Amaranth can help protect your nervous system.
Vitamins such as folate, play a significant role in the regulation of specific amino acids that the nervous system requires. Studies have shown that a deficient amount of dietary folate can increase the homocysteine levels, which can be a dangerous precursor to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. One cup of amaranth contains 40 percent of the recommended value of folate. Also, one cup of amaranth contains 15 percent of thiamin. Thiamin ensures smooth functioning of the brain and helps improve memory and concentration. Thiamin also helps relieve stress and helps strengthen the nerves.
7. Amaranth can help your body have more oxygen in your body.
Copper and iron are essential for the new blood cell formation. One cup of amaranth contains 82 percent of the recommended value for iron and 51 percent for copper. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia.