It is a gluten-free grain that was an important food crop of the Aztecs, and some scholars have estimated that this grain was domesticated about 7,000 years ago. In the present day, it is grown in India, Africa, Russia, China, North America, and throughout South America.
It is rich in vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, riboflavin, protein, manganese, calcium, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and potassium.
This grain is also a gluten-free substance, that means that is recommended for people suffering from gluten intolerance or Celiac’s disease.
Most grains are short on lysine, an essential amino acid, but that is not the case with this grain. Lysine facilitates the synthesis of elastin, collagen, antibodies, and hormones and absorption of calcium in the body.
This amino acid is also important in the creation of carnitine (a quaternary ammonium compound), that lowers cholesterol levels and transforms essential fatty acids into energy.
It is an essential mineral involved in numerous cellular activities that affect vital organs and the skeletal structure. This mineral also has an important role in facilitating proper digestion in the body.
Moreover, it is the body’s source of phosphate, that helps synthesize fat, protein, and carbohydrates, manage and create energy, maintain the body’s electrolyte and fluid balance, and contract muscles.
100g of this grain has 148 mg of phosphorus, that is about 15 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Iron is a crucial mineral for the human health and is responsible for transporting the much-needed oxygen in the red blood cells. It is estimated that more than 75% of the world’s population may be deficient in this mineral, with about 30% having iron deficiency anemia.
A low intake of vitamin C may also lead to iron deficiency anemia since vitamin C is required to absorb non-heme iron (found only in plant foods).
100g of this pseudo-grain has 2,1 mg of iron, which is approximately 12% of the daily recommended intake.
It is a trace mineral which contributes to DNA synthesis and thyroid hormone metabolism, as well as it helps protect against infection and oxidative damage.
Moreover, this mineral has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants, especially vitamin E, helping the human body to defend against cancers, such as – colon and prostate cancer, and to reduce free radical damage.
100g of this grain has 5,5 mcg of selenium, that is 8 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Although referred to as a grain (pseudo-grain), it is a seed from a vegetable related to spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. It is indigenous to the Andean region of South America, specifically Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile, and has been cultivated for approximately 5,000 years.
It is high in manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin E, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, folate, and riboflavin.
The protein in this pseudo-grain is a complete protein because it offers all the essential amino acids the body needs to build healthy muscles and all the enzymes necessary for good health. Also, it has more protein than millet, rice, or wheat. Moreover, it contains omega-3 fatty acids in a small percentage.
Because of its high fiber content and low glycemic index, this super grain is a slowly digested food, that can actually promote overall digestive health.
Also, according to studies, eating this grain regularly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, plus, it can help you keep blood sugar levels balanced if you already have this condition.
100g of this pseudo-grain has 2,8g of fiber which is 11 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Vitamin B2, also referred as riboflavin, is a member of the B-vitamin family which acts as an antioxidant within the human body. Moreover, riboflavin builds up glucose molecules into the complex carbohydrate and helps in red blood cell production.
Also, this vitamin protects the body from migraine headaches by improving the transport of much-needed oxygen into the cell.
100g of this pseudo-grain has 0,1mg of riboflavin that is about 6 percent of the daily recommended intake.
This seed is also a good source of flavonoids, especially kaempferol and quercetin. These are effective anti-oxidants which aid in reducing the signs of aging and protect from free radical damage.
Quercetin is known to address conditions of the heart and blood vessels, like – high cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), circulation problems, and heart disease.
There are no scientifically proven side effects.
Amaranth vs Quinoa – Which Has A Better Nutritional Profile?
In terms of nutrition, both grains are gluten-free and complete protein source, plus, they have about the same amount of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and protein.