Among the list of whole grains and superfoods is the pseudo-cereal amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus L.). A beautiful, red-flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America, it’s been cultivated for millennia, highly regarded in indigenous cultures both modern and ancient. Amaranth is specifically grown for its seeds – that’s where all the good stuff is at. It’s not the most famous or flashy of uber-nutritious foods, but it offers a tonne of benefits for anyone looking to stay healthy with a mindful, nourishing diet.
Here are 5 big benefits of this unassuming little grain:
Amaranth is Nutrient-Dense
This powerful superfood is not only a whole grain – it’s also a complete protein. Proteins are literally the building blocks of our body; they support muscle growth, digestion, the nervous system, and cognition. Amaranth seeds have an unusually high density of protein at 9 grams per cup. Amaranth’s protein profile is the closest to animal protein.
Amaranth is specifically dense in lysine, which is an essential amino acid the body can’t produce on its own. Lysine supports healthy bones by aiding calcium absorption, energy production by improving metabolism of fatty acids, and promoting hair health via protein synthesis.
Amaranth seeds also contain 100% DV of manganese. Manganese is responsible for hundreds of enzyme reactions throughout the body, including blood production, bone growth, hormone production, immune response, blood glucose health, and way more.
Other important nutrients amaranth contains a lot of are:
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
The impressive nutritional profile of amaranth and its bioactive abilities are why you’ll find it in natural wellness products like MTE. Amaranth’s abilities are boundless, especially when it comes to improving and protecting your physical health.
Amaranth Improves Health
Adding a little amaranth to your day can improve and protect your health, long-term. Compounds in this nootropic superfood acts on many of your body’s systems. In clinical settings, amaranth has demonstrated more than a few amazing abilities, including:
Protects Against & Fights Cancer
A recent review of the literature points to the syringic acid in the amaranthus plant as the main actor in its anticancer properties. Syringic acid is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiproliferative agent, killing cancer cells via apoptosis. The vanillic acid in amaranth also contributes to its anticancer properties, and acts as a neuroprotectant.1
Protects the Cardiovascular System
Amaranth protects heart health in a few ways. The squalene and unsaturated fats it contains are known to lower cholesterol. The squalene also increases cellular and immune system activity. The oils in the amaranth seed have demonstrated an ability to lower blood pressure in clinical settings, and including it in a diet has been shown to improve the condition of people with coronary heart disease and hypertension.2
Aids Digestion & Supports Gut Health
Supplementing with amaranth indicates there are multiple routes that make amaranth an important food for digestive health. Ingesting amaranth helps the liver take more cholesterol out of the food you consume so you can excrete it. It’s also high in fiber, nearly 80% of which is insoluble. Amaranth supplementation has also shown an ability to balance the microbiome in your gut, increasing the good bacteria and decreasing the bad.4
Amaranth is an Antioxidant
It is well-documented that the amaranth seeds and leaves have radical-scavenging abilities. The amaranth plant contains 5 powerful and well-known antioxidants, which also happen to be essential fatty acids our body needs but can’t manufacture on its own:
- Palmitic acid
- Stearic acid
- Oleic acid
- Linoleic acid
- Linolenic acid
These antioxidants and scavengers protect cell health and the physical effects of oxidative stress. The protein and nutrients in amaranth also help by nourishing the body’s antioxidant system.3
Amaranth Boosts Immunity
Amaranth is rich in 2 nutrients that are key to shoring up your immune system: vitamin A and zinc. Your body uses the beta carotene in the amaranth plant to create vitamin A, which strengthens the immune system. Likewise, zinc stimulates the immune system, boosts the abilities of the antioxidants in amaranth, and also offsets oxidative stress at the cellular level.
Bonus: Beta carotene also protects your vision, and zinc helps DNA production, cell growth and wound healing, among other things.
Amaranth May Aid Weight Loss
The protein and fatty acid profile of amaranth is dense, especially when considered on a protein-per-calorie basis. Protein releases a satiation hormone that stops hunger signaling. Protein also lowers insulin levels in the body, reducing cravings, and along with the insoluble fiber content in the seeds, amaranth is easy for the body to digest.
How to Add Amaranth to Your Diet
This isn’t nearly all there is to say about amaranth – there’s an entirely different body of clinical research exploring its nootropic effects, like aiding in focus, learning, memory, sustained energy, and more. There are at least a dozen reasons amaranth should be a staple in everyone’s diet – especially since it’s so diet-friendly!
There are different ways you can add this super-seed to your daily routine. As a small grain, you can cook it much the way you would cook quinoa. You can also choose a daily wellness drink that contains amaranth, like MTE, or supplement via pills. You can also consume an extract of amaranth oil, which is the most common administration form used in clinical trials.
- Kumar, A., Katiyar, A., Gautam, V., Singh, R., & Dubey, A. (2022). A Comprehensive Review on Anti-Cancer Properties of Amaranthus viridis. Journal for Research in Applied Sciences and Biotechnology, 1(3), 178–185. https://doi.org/10.55544/jrasb.1.3.23.
- Martirosyan, D.M., Miroshnichenko, L.A., Kulakova, S.N. et al. Amaranth oil application for coronary heart disease and hypertension. Lipids Health Dis 6, 1 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-6-1.
- Soriano-García M, Arias-Olguín II, Montes JPC, et al. Nutritional functional value and therapeutic utilization of Amaranth. J Anal Pharm Res. 2018;7(5):596-600. DOI: 10.15406/japlr.2018.07.00288.
- Yang Y, Fukui R, Jia H, Kato H. Amaranth Supplementation Improves Hepatic Lipid Dysmetabolism and Modulates Gut Microbiota in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet. Foods. 2021 Jun 1;10(6):1259. doi: 10.3390/foods10061259. PMID: 34206088; PMCID: PMC8229566.