Amaranth
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Amaranth, also known as Rajgira, is a highly versatile and nutritious grain that has been used for thousands of years in traditional diets around the world. It is believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America and was considered a sacred crop by the Aztecs, who used it in religious ceremonies. Amaranth is a member of the same family as quinoa, and it is often used as a substitute for rice, pasta, or other grains. It is an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a popular choice among health-conscious individuals.

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 Nutrition Profile: The Nutrients Present in Amarnath

Let’s have a look at the nutrition profile per 100g of Amarnath as provided by Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition (Source):

  • 1.      Energy                          102  kcal
  • 2.      Protein                          3.8   g
  • 3.      Total lipid (fat)            1.58 g
  • 4.      Ash                                   0.77 g
  • 5.      Carbohydrate               18.7 g
  • 6.      Fiber, total dietary           2.1   g
  • 7.      Calcium, Ca                             47    mg
  • 8.      Iron, Fe                        2.1   mg
  • 9.      Magnesium, Mg           65    mg
  • 10.  Phosphorus, P              148  mg
  • 11.  Potassium, K                135  mg

Amaranth is a Rich Source of Nutrients: Amaranth is a powerhouse of nutrition, boasting an impressive array of essential vitamins and minerals that are crucial for maintaining optimal health. This ancient grain is particularly rich in calcium, a mineral that is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. In fact, amaranth contains more calcium than most other grains, making it an excellent choice for individuals at risk for osteoporosis or other bone-related conditions. Amaranth is also an excellent source of iron, a mineral that is essential for healthy blood function. Iron helps to transport oxygen throughout the body and plays a critical role in energy production. In addition, amaranth is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including energy metabolism, protein synthesis, and muscle and nerve function.

AMARANTH IS GLUTEN-FREE

For individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, finding safe and nutritious sources of grains can be a challenge. Thankfully, amaranth is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for those with gluten-related health issues. Unlike wheat, barley, and rye, which contain gluten, amaranth is a type of pseudo-cereal that is not related to grasses and is therefore safe for consumption by individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. In addition to being gluten-free, amaranth is also an excellent source of protein and fiber, two important nutrients that are often lacking in gluten-free diets. In fact, amaranth is one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that the body needs to function properly. This makes it an ideal choice for vegetarians and vegans who may struggle to obtain sufficient protein from other sources.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES

Chronic inflammation is a common underlying factor in many chronic health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Thankfully, amaranth may help to combat inflammation in the body due to its high content of antioxidants, which help to neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Inflammation is a natural immune response that helps the body to fight off infection and injury. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can damage healthy tissues and organs and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Studies have suggested that amaranth may help to reduce inflammation in the body by suppressing the activity of inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). These markers are responsible for triggering the body’s inflammatory response, and reducing their activity can help to alleviate inflammation and prevent chronic disease.

HEART HEALTH

One of the key benefits of amaranth is its potential to improve heart health. The high fiber content of amaranth helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, amaranth is a rich source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, including potassium, magnesium, and folate.

Amaranth is a rich source of dietary fiber, which plays a crucial role in maintaining heart health. Studies have suggested that consuming a high-fiber diet may help to lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease. The fiber in amaranth works by binding to cholesterol in the intestines and preventing its absorption into the bloodstream, thus helping to lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

 Amaranth

SUPPORTS DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Amaranth contains high amounts of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining digestive health. Fiber helps in bulking up the stool and facilitates the smooth passage of food through the digestive tract, thereby preventing constipation and other digestive disorders. The fiber in Amaranth also acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and improving overall digestive health.

Amaranth contains two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, while soluble fiber absorbs water to form a gel-like substance, which slows down the digestion process and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM

Amaranth is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect the body from harmful free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals can cause cellular damage and lead to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. The antioxidants in Amaranth include polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, which have been shown to strengthen the immune system and improve overall health. Vitamin C, in particular, is essential for immune system function, as it stimulates the production of white blood cells that fight infection and disease. Amaranth is also a good source of other immune-boosting nutrients, including zinc, iron, and selenium, which are necessary for the production and function of immune cells.

In conclusion, Amaranth (Rajgira) is a highly nutritious food with numerous health benefits. From improving heart health to boosting the immune system and supporting digestive health, this versatile grain is a great addition to any diet. Its availability and affordability make it a popular choice across different parts of India, where it is known by different names. Incorporating Amaranth into your diet can provide many health benefits and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

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