By now most people have heard about the benefits of quinoa and probably tried it in their diet. But there’s an even “better and badder” version of this super-food out there that most folk haven’t heard of yet. It’s called amaranth. Like quinoa, amaranth is an edible seed rather than a true grain – although it is used in much the same way. That means it is gluten-free. This super seed is high in fiber, protein, and vitamin C. Not only that, just one cup of uncooked amaranth contains more iron than a large bowl of spinach and more calcium than a glass of whole milk. 
Here’s a few more of Amaranth’s many health and nutritional benefits:
- Besides being high in fiber, protein, vitamin C, iron, and calcium, amaranth is a good source of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese. In fact, one cup of uncooked amaranth contains 120% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium. This is especially important when you consider that well over half of all Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets.
- Amaranth contains approximately 30 percent more protein than rice, sorghum, and rye. Not only that, amaranth is almost a perfect protein. It contains 8 out of the 9 essential amino acids needed in our diets.
- One of these amino acids is lysine, which is not found in corn or wheat. Lysine can help to lower levels of bad cholesterol, reduce stress, and improve how your body absorbs calcium.
- Amaranth contains beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease, curb stiffness and joint pain, and possibly even help lower the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Amaranth has not one but two substances that may have cancer-preventing properties. The first one is lunasin, a chain of amino acids that is found in very few other foods except soybeans. Lunasin has been shown in several studies to prevent the growth of cancerous cells in animals.
- The second potentially cancer-preventing substance in amaranth is squalene. This naturally occurring compound is found in small amounts in our bodies, but there are few food sources for it other than from shark liver oil – something not usually found in the average North American’s diet! As with lunasin, several studies have indicated that squalene shows the promise of stopping cancerous growth.
- Squalene is thought to have several other health benefits as well. Although not yet definitively proven, many researchers believe squalene can help prevent heart attacks, boost one’s immune system, and help conditions such as asthma and psoriasis.
Wondering how to get these little bundles of goodness into your diet? Amaranth seeds (sometimes referred to as amaranth grain) and amaranth floor are sold in many health food stores. In its seed form, amaranth can be cooked and eaten like a porridge or used in soups, polentas, and other dishes. Alternatively, the seeds can be popped like popcorn and used as a salad topper or in snack foods. Amaranth flour can be used in baking. But for an even easier way to get the benefits of amaranth, try taking amaranth oil as a supplement.
nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5676/2 nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2626/2 nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/69/2 nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5676/2 www.jigsawhealth.com/resources/magnesium-mineral-deficiency#1 news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130812-amaranth-oaxaca-mexico-obesity-puente-food/