Eating oats, millet and brown rice which are touted as healthy foods makes our fitness journey interesting and easy to stay with. Consuming diverse foods also means it can provide us with different nutrients essential for our overall well-being.
While some of these food products are cost-effective, some can be a little heavy on the pocket. Quinoa, for instance. However, there is a cheaper alternative that has a similar nutritional profile and provides equally amazing health benefits.
Amaranth, believed to have originated in the Americas, is popularly known as rajgira in India. The seeds and leaves of this plant are edible and have a nutty, earthy flavour.
Nutrition fact: Amaranth seeds can be popped like popcorn and enjoyed as a snack.
Both quinoa and amaranth seeds are rich in protein, fibre and calcium. They are gluten-free as well, which means they are digested easily. It is a good choice for people who are having food after long fasting periods or who have any health condition.
Amaranth oil, which is extracted from the seeds, is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which support heart health. Studies suggest that amaranth oil is rich in an antioxidant called squalene, which has anticancer properties. Tocopherol, another antioxidant present in amaranth, is essential for the optimum functioning of our brain and nerves.
The benefits of this plant do not end here.
Rich in vitamins, minerals
Amaranth leaves are also rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium. They have plenty of antioxidants which protect us against chronic health conditions.
A popular South Indian staple gravy or soup, called Thotakura pappu in Telugu, is made by cooking amaranth leaves with lentils. You can also get the best out of these leaves by adding them to a stew or soup.
Its seeds can be used in delectable dishes, such as Alegria, a popular Mexican candy made with puffed amaranth seeds and honey.
Smriti Mishra, founder and consultant at Fitgenix, Mumbai, says, “Amaranth seeds are a nutritional powerhouse which is a boon to vegans and vegetarians. From supporting bone health to heart health, it offers various health benefits.”
Mishra lists a few of the health benefits of amaranth seeds.