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Amaranth is a genus of herbs that contain over 60 species with a variety of colors and uses. Many of these species are considered weeds; however, people around the world consume amaranth as grains, vegetables and cereals for their many health benefits. Amaranth has a long history and has been in use for many centuries by many different cultures.
Most species of amaranth are believed to have originated in South America and Mexico. Pre-Columbian Aztecs regarded amaranth as having supernatural powers and used it in their religious ceremonies. The various species are now sold throughout many countries including India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Caribbean. While still new to Europe and America, amaranth seeds, such as buckwheat and quinoa, are becoming more popular in restaurant dishes and food stores. In Mexico, the popped seeds are made into a sugary treat called Algeria. In Nepal, amaranth is made into a gruel named sattoo. Peruvians ferment these amaranth seeds to produce a type of beer. A common food source in Africa, grain amaranth is valued for its ability to improve nutrition while supporting rural development and sustainable farming. In Africa, this vegetable is even recommended by doctors for people who have low red blood cell counts. Other health benefits of amaranth include:
Amaranth is highly vitamin-rich and is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and riboflavin.
Amaranth includes numerous minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and especially manganese.
Amaranth contains large amounts of protein, up to 30% more than wheat flour, rice and oats. The protein contained in amaranth is also unusually complete when compared to other plant sources, containing a complete set of amino acids. Therefore, different sources to obtain the daily recommended dose of protein is not needed. Also, amaranth lacks gluten, which is a problematic protein contained in many true grains.
4. Dietary Fiber and Amino Acids
Dietary fiber and essential amino acids, including lysine which has clinically shown potential for cancer treatment, are prominent in amaranth. It also contains relatively low cholesterol levels.
Grain amaranth is very palatable and is easy to cook and include in snacks and dishes. Amaranth is grown and consumed as a leafy vegetable in many countries around the world. It is commonly boiled, steamed, or included in soups and stir-frys. Cooked amaranth is 90% digestible.
6. Disease Prevention
The oils in amaranth have been shown to help prevent and treat those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Regular consumption of amaranth can reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Amaranth has been noted to help boost the body’s immune system.
8. Medicinal Benefits of Amaranth
Asthama and Respiratory Problems: Amaranth is very helpful in for asthma and other respiratory disorders . When taken in form of fresh juice with honey is a good remedy for acute bronchitis , tuberculosis and emphysema
Pregnancy and Lactation During pregnancy and mothers lactation it highly beneficial natural supplement. Amaranth ,honey and cardamom powder should be mixed and taken during this period to help in the normal growth of the baby , this fortifies the calcium and iron deficiencies in the body and reduces labour pains during delivery.
Children’s Growth For growing children fresh juice of Amaranth can be given as a natural tonic .This vegetable is a storehouse of proteins and Amino acids such as arginine , isoleucine, ,cystine, leucine ,histidine ,lysine , methionine, theronine and phenylalanine.
Premature Aging Amaranth is useful to prevent premature old age. Calcium and iron metabolism is regulated by it during the period of old age.As the age increases the calcium molecules start depositing in bone tissues rather than bones and this random deposition is caused due to irregular supply of iron in the food. The consistent supply of iron and calcium through amaranth prevents this disorder and thus is a powerful anti-aging food.
Antibleeding Amaranth is useful in all cases of bleeding ailments. A combination of Amaranth and Lime juice should be taken every night to prevent such conditions as bleeding nose ,gums, nose , anal piles and monthly periods.
Heart Diseases Regular use of Amaranth in diet has shown to be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels and lower the blood pressure levels.
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