Amaranth: A Gluten-Free, Protein-Rich Grain Full of Benefits

If you’re on the lookout for gluten-free grains that pack a nutritional punch, you’ll definitely want to try amaranth. The grain is gaining popularity today because of its startling health benefits. It has an earthy and nutty flavor, helps you to feel full because of its fiber content, and like quinoa, serves as an excellent source of protein.

A 2017 review published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research indicates that the proteins found in amaranth are particularly high in nutritional quality due to the outstanding balance of essential amino acids. Plus, the phytochemicals found in amaranth contribute to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and allows for the grain’s range of health benefits.

If you’re looking for a new gluten-free grain to add to your favorite recipes, give amaranth a try. It’s tasty, filling and nutritious.

Table of Contents

What Is Amaranth?

Nutrition Facts

Amaranth is a great source of protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. It helps keep your digestive system regulated, build your strength, and reduce the risk of fracture or broken bones.

According to the USDA, one cup (approximately 246 grams) of cooked amaranth grain has about:

  • 251 calories
  • 46 grams carbohydrates
  • 9.3 grams protein
  • 3.9 grams fat
  • 5.2 grams fiber
  • 2.1 milligrams manganese (105 percent DV)
  • 160 milligrams magnesium (40 percent DV)
  • 364 milligrams phosphorus (36 percent DV)
  • 5.2 milligrams iron (29 percent DV)
  • 13.5 micrograms selenium (19 percent DV)
  • 0.4 milligram copper (18 percent DV)
  • 0.3 milligram vitamin B6 (14 percent DV)
  • 54.1 micrograms folate (14 percent DV)
  • 2.1 milligrams zinc (14 percent DV)
  • 116 milligrams calcium (12 percent DV)
  • 332 milligrams potassium (9 percent DV)

Top 9 Benefits of Amaranth

1. High Source of Protein

The protein contained in amaranth is of an unusually high quality, providing nine grams for one cup of cooked grain. Protein is used in every cell in our bodies and is critical for building muscle mass, supporting neurological function, aiding in digestion, helping balance hormones naturally and keeping an upbeat mood.

Protein foods are also beneficial for preventing weight gain since they make us feel full and require more work for the body to digest than fast-acting refined carbohydrates.

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that consuming protein before and after exercise has beneficial effects by decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis.

This study suggests that protein is useful for muscle recovery and immune regulation for sports events.

2. Reduces Inflammation

Amaranth has the power to reduce inflammation, which is associated with just about every health condition. When dietary and environmental toxins build up in the body, the immune system becomes overactive, and it stimulates defense cells and hormones that damage tissues.

When the immune system overreaches and begins attacking healthy body tissues, we’re met with an autoimmune disorder like leaky gut syndrome and inflammation in otherwise healthy areas of the body. 

This is also the case for arthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as celiac and irritable bowel disease. Because grains and protein-rich foods help fight inflammation, amaranth is a great tool for your body.

A major health benefit of anti-inflammatory foods is the way they relieve pain induced by arthritis and gout. Arthritis is a joint disease that causes swelling and pain in the joints. One type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage between joints wears down and causes inflammation and pain. This type of arthritis generally occurs in the joints we most frequently use, such as knees, hips, spine and hands.

A 2014 study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research showed that amaranth inhibited inflammation in humans and mice. This suggests that amaranth serves as a natural treatment for arthritis and has the power to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

3. Supports Bone Health

The calcium present in amaranth grain allows the body to use this mineral for bone repair and strengthening. Including calcium-rich foods  in your daily diet is so important because it helps heal broken or weak bones.

A calcium deficiency increases your risk of a fracture and developing osteoporosis, which is when small holes or weakened areas are formed in the bone that can lead to fractures, pain and a Dowager’s hump.

A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that amaranth consumption is an interesting and effective way to increase the nutritional value of calcium, as well as iron and zinc.

Calcium is so important because without enough of it in the body, bones are susceptible to becoming weak and pliable, making them more prone to fractures and breaks. Calcium aids in bone strength as the bones build up calcium stores over time.

4. Helps Lower Cholesterol

A 2003 study published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research tested the effects of amaranth grain on cholesterol levels in animals models.

Amaranth grain decreased very low-density LDL cholesterol by 21 percent to 50 percent. LDL is known as the bad cholesterol because it’s low in proteins and high in cholesterol. Thus, this grain is a cholesterol-lowering food.

Amaranth also aided digestion by increasing fecal excretion or frequency of bowel movements. This is due to the fiber content present in amaranth. The fiber binds cholesterol in the digestive system and causes it to be excreted by the body.

Eating high-fiber foods helps the body lower cholesterol naturally. The fiber acts on the bile that’s made from cholesterol, pulling it out of the body with stool. Because of this process, the liver is required to make more bile, which uses the body’s cholesterol stores, lowering cholesterol overall.

5. Aids Digestive System

Because of amaranth’s high fiber content, it stimulates the digestive system and helps regulate the excretion of bodily waste. Due to its structure and our inability to absorb it, fiber passes through the digestive system unabsorbed by digestive enzymes within the stomach, taking with it toxins, waste, fat and cholesterol particles out of the gut. 

According to research conducted at Purdue University, 78 percent of the fiber in amaranth is insoluble fiber and 22 percent is soluble fiber, which is a higher proportion than what is found in wheat and maize.

Soluble fiber is vital for proper digestion because it dissolves into a gluey mass and traps fats, sugars, bacteria and toxins. While aiding the digestive system, amaranth is also able to prevent other health conditions like leaky gut syndrome. 

In order to understand leaky gut syndrome, think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through. Your gut lining works as a barrier — keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system. This leads to inflammation throughout the digestive system, and it causes fatigue, bloating, weight gain, headaches, skin issues and thyroid problems.

It can also lead to multiple food sensitivities. This is because partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal linking, making their way into the bloodstream and causing an allergic reaction.

By sprouting a grain like amaranth, you get a great source of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria, thereby working to treat leaky gut syndrome.

6. Helps Fight Diabetes

With just a cup of amaranth providing over 100 percent the daily recommended dose of manganese, it can be eaten as part of a diabetic diet that helps reduce high blood sugar levels.

Manganese is needed to help with proper production of digestive enzymes responsible for a process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis involves the conversion of protein’s amino acids into sugar and the balance of sugar within the bloodstream.

According to research published in BMC Endocrine Disorders, the prevalence of diabetes and renal dysfunction increased with participants with low blood manganese levels.

Researchers suggest that low blood manganese may play a role in glucose homeostasis and renal function.

7. It’s Gluten-Free

Amaranth is gluten-free, so people with sensitivities or intolerances to gluten are free to eat this beneficial grain. Gluten sensitivity is a cluster of symptoms related to a reaction to the protein found in the wheat plant called gluten.

The severe form of gluten sensitivity is celiac’s disease, but research suggests that non-celiac gluten sensitivity can also cause less severe symptoms, such as joint pain, headaches, fatigue and poor memory.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance may include fatigue, bone and joint pain, arthritis, infertility, miscarriage, depression, and skin rashes, just to name a few.

A gluten-sensitivity diet includes grains like amaranth, quinoa and nutritious buckwheat.

8. Helps Pregnant Women

The folate in amaranth grain helps the body make new cells, specifically by playing a role in copying and synthesizing DNA. For pregnant women, a folate deficiency can lead to neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. A deficiency can also cause defects such as heart and limb malformations.

Adequate intake of folate foods is needed for DNA replication, so without folate, the fetus’ cells are unable to grow properly. This is why folate is known as possibly the most critical vitamin for a healthy pregnancy.

Research shows that the fortification of foods with folate by the FDA has decreased the risk for neural tube defects by 26 percent. It’s critical to have adequate levels of blood folate before getting pregnant because the fastest cell replication happens in the early stages.

9. Aids Weight Loss

There are a number of reasons why consuming amaranth helps maintain a healthy and desired weight. It’s full of fiber, which keeps your digestive system regulated and reduces inflammation.

Amaranth strengthens bones, allowing you to be physically active and reducing the risk of broken bones or fractures. It’s also a great source of protein, which keeps you full longer and increases endurance levels.

Amaranth grain is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid found in low quantities in other grains. Lysine is important for proper growth, and research published in The Journal of Physiology shows that it plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping lower cholesterol.

Athletes sometimes use lysine as a protein supplement because it increases energy and stimulates muscle growth. If you are looking to lose weight, but you feel too sluggish to exercise as much as you’d like, try adding amaranth to your diet.

Health benefits of amaranth


Amaranth is available to purchase in any local health food store. There are a few forms of the grain on the market, including amaranth oil, which is often used to boost skin health, and amaranth flour.

The grains or seeds are the most popular form. To cook amaranth seeds, follow the following steps:

  1. use the ratio of 1.5 cups water to a half cup amaranth
  2. heat the mixture in a small saucepan until it begins to boil
  3. reduce the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, until the water is absorbed. This typically takes about 20 minutes.

This ancient grain has a nutty and toasted flavor, so it works well in many dishes — from breakfast to dessert. Here are a few ideas about how to include amaranth grain into your everyday diet:

  • Mix amaranth with fruit, nuts and probiotic yogurt for breakfast
  • Serve amaranth instead of rice, pasta, orzo, couscous or risotto
  • Add amaranth to soup or chili to create a thicker texture
  • Make “rice cakes” with amaranth and honey
  • Make “rice pudding” with amaranth
  • Use amaranth flour to make gluten-free baked goods
  • Add amaranth to a smoothie for a nutty flavor

How to Grow and Sprout

Sprouting grains (including amaranth), nuts, beans or seeds is extremely beneficial. It is essentially the practice of germinating seeds so they’re easier to digest and your body can access their full nutritional profile.

Read more  3 Reasons Why You Should Use More Annatto Seed

When you sprout a grain like amaranth, it helps to:

  • increase nutrient absorption
  • make food easier to digest
  • decrease phytic acid
  • break down gluten
  • increase enzymes and antioxidants

Soaking is when the whole seed or kernel is soaked in liquid for a period of time, sometimes in some sort of acidic liquid. When people talk about soaking seeds in acid liquid, they’re usually referring to fermenting and using these two phrases interchangeably. To soak amaranth grains, let them sit for eight hours.

Sprouting takes place when the whole seed/kernel is sprouted — or germinated. After it’s sprouted, it can be dehydrated and ground into flour (which is the case with Ezekiel bread). To sprout amaranth grains, let them sit for one to three days.

Most experts agree that soaking is good, but consensus is that foods that are soaked and then sprouted for a period of time become more nutrient-dense the longer they’re able to sit, sprout and grow (assuming they have no mold).


A great way to add amaranth into your diet is to eat it for breakfast. Many people start their days with oats — try amaranth grain instead. It adds a nuttiness to your oatmeal, and it mixes perfectly with fruit and raw yogurt.

Here are some easy recipes to try with amaranth:

  • This Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Recipe has lots of flavor and nutrients
  • This Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Recipe is another great option. Just swap out the oats and add amaranth to thicken the dish — it will keep you full for hours.
  • A simple way to add amaranth to your diet is by using it instead of brown rice. This healthy Brown Rice, Basil and Tomatoes Recipe is easy to put together, and it’s full of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Another great option for adding amaranth to your diet is this Gluten-Free Coffee Cake Recipe. This popular recipe calls for almond flour, but it is great with amaranth flour too. The amaranth adds a nutty flavor that brings out the coffee in this recipe. It’s healthy for you because it has no refined sugar, and it’s gluten-free!

Side Effects

It’s safe to consume amaranth in food amounts, and there are no known side effects. If you notice that amaranth is difficult to digest, try soaking or sprouting it.

If you’re pregnant and have not used amaranth before, don’t start using it at this time, as some people may be allergic to it.

Final Thoughts

  • Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that provides protein, fiber and a range of micronutrients.
  • The grain has an earthy and nutty flavor. Research indicates that amaranth benefits come from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Amaranth can be used in place of any grain. It adds a nuttiness to recipes and works to thicken dishes too.
  • Sprouting amaranth makes it easier to digest and increases nutrient absorption. It also helps to break down gluten and may increase digestive enzymes.

— Update: 10-02-2023 — found an additional article 15 Amazing Benefits Of Amaranth, Nutrition, And Side Effects from the website for the keyword health benefits of amaranth.

The many benefits of amaranth prove its status as a superfood. Amaranth is rich in vitamin B6, C, folate, and riboflavin. It has plenty of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Amaranth helps to reduce inflammation and support bone health. It is gluten-free and boosts immunity, heart, and gut health.

This article discusses the benefits of amaranth, its nutritional profile, and any potential side effects. Take a look.

What Is Amaranth?

Scientifically known as Amaranthus, this is a genus of perennial plants (annual as well as short-lived). The name ‘amaranth’ is derived from the Greek words ‘amarantos’ (which means ‘unfading’) and ‘anthos’ (which means flower).

Technically, amaranth is a seed and not a grain (though most sources call it a grain, and that is okay). It is called ‘bayam’ in Indonesia and Malaysia, ‘kalunay’ in the Philippines, ‘amarante’ in France, ‘kiwicha’ in Spanish, ‘borlas’ in South America, and ‘bredo’ in Portugal. It also is called the African or the Indian spinach.

Certain amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, ornamental plants, and even pseudocereals (non-grasses used the same way as cereals, like quinoa). And there are different types of amaranth:

Amaranth leaves, which are either growing in the field (and come in vibrant colors like red, orange, and purple) or are ready for harvest (which are dried and brownish). These are also called amaranth greens.

Amaranth grains, which are in a uniform shade of pale cream.

Popped amaranth, also called puffed amaranth – they are what we get when you pour a few tablespoons of amaranth grains onto a very hot surface. The grains pop. You can call it amaranth popcorn.

Amaranth flour, which is white or creamish like any other flour.

Don’t lose yourself in the technicalities because what you are about to see next is even more interesting.

What Is The History Of Amaranth?

Why do we call this interesting?

Because this is one of the oldest things cultivated and eaten by humans. Like, say, more than 8,000 years ago. The Aztecs were the first guys to cultivate this crop, and it is still a native crop in modern-day Peru. The ancient history of amaranth can be traced back to Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula.

Today, amaranth is grown in Africa, India, Russia, China, throughout South America, and parts of North America.

The reason amaranth is being cultivated for more than 8,000 years now is the stuff it contains – the nutrients.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Amaranth?

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 193g
Amount Per Serving
Amount Per Serving
Calories 716Calories from Fat 113
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g21%
Saturated Fat 3g14%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 8mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 127g42%
Dietary Fiber 13g52%
Sugars 3g52%
Protein 26g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C14%
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A3.9IU0%
Vitamin C8.1mg14%
Vitamin D
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)2.3mg11%
Vitamin K0.0mcg0%
Vitamin B61.1mg57%
Vitamin B120.0mcg0%
Pantothenic Acid2.8mg28%
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV

One cup of cooked amaranth contains about 251 calories. It contains 4 grams of fat and no cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, and 46 grams of carbohydrates.

Some other important nutrients in amaranth include:

– 0.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 (14% of the daily value)

– 0.1 milligrams of vitamin B2 (3% of the daily value)

– 0.6 milligrams of niacin (3% of the daily value)

– 0.5 milligrams of vitamin E (2% of the daily value)

– 0.1 milligrams of thiamine (2% of the daily value)

– 2 milligrams of manganese (105% of the daily value)

– 160 milligrams of magnesium (40% of the daily value)

– 5 milligrams of iron (29% of the daily value)

– 116 milligrams of calcium (16% of the daily value)

– 54 micrograms of folate (14% of the daily value)

– 2 milligrams of zinc (14% of the daily value)

Knowing about these nutrients is not enough – what we need to look at is what these nutrients can do for us.

What Are The Benefits Of Amaranth?

Amaranth is gluten-free, which is great news for anyone who wants to have a healthy diet but is gluten-intolerant. The seed is a great source of protein, which helps build muscle and boosts immunity and hair health. And the fiber amaranth contains works great for treating diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even cancer.

1. Is Gluten-Free

That’s some fantastic news for people with sensitivities or intolerances to gluten. Gluten sensitivity is basically a cluster of symptoms that happen due to reaction to a protein in the wheat plant (and that protein is gluten). The most severe form of gluten sensitivity is Celiac’s diseaseXAn immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in barley or wheat, causes inflammation of the small intestine’s lining. , which causes serious digestive complications.

Given amaranth doesn’t have gluten, you can happily include it in your gluten-free diet.

2. Is An Excellent Source Of Protein

We have read in school that protein is the building block of the body. And then, we forgot about it. It’s time to remind ourselves about the importance of this nutrient.

Amaranth contains an unusually high quality of protein. One cup of cooked amaranth offers 9 grams of protein. This nutrient is used by every cell in our body – and is essential for building muscle mass and digestion. It also aids neurological function.

One study talks about how protein can enhance muscle recovery post exercise (1). Another study talks about how amaranth grain also contains a greater concentration of amino acids (2).

3. Helps Fight Inflammation

Amaranth is a great tool you can use to fight inflammation. And more importantly, it treats inflammatory conditions like arthritis and goutXA complex form of arthritis that causes inflammation and joint pain due to the deposition of too much uric acid in joints. . This is especially true in the case of osteoarthritisXA common form of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissues at the end of the bones wear down and cause joint pain. .

One study spoke of the anti-inflammatory properties of amaranth and how they could aid the treatment of inflammatory conditions like arthritis (3). Something similar is also discussed in a report by the Arthritis Foundation, which talks about how amaranth can be a better choice for anyone suffering from arthritis (4). It is gluten-free (we will discuss that too), which offers an added advantage. The magnesium in amaranth also offers anti-inflammatory benefits.

These anti-inflammatory properties of amaranth can be attributed to the presence of phytochemicals, which amaranth contains aplenty (5).

4. Improves Bone Health

Manganese is one important mineral this vegetable contains, which plays a role in bone health. One cup of amaranth offers 105% of the daily value of manganese, making it one of the richest sources of the mineral.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, amaranth is one of the ancient grains important for a bone-healthy diet. It contains protein, calcium, and iron – nutrients crucial for bone health (6). It also happens to be the only grain to contain vitamin C, which helps improve the health of ligaments and also fights inflammation (and associated inflammatory ailments like gouts and arthritis).

And being rich in calcium, amaranth helps heal broken bones and even strengthens the bones. One 2013 study stated that consuming amaranth was an effective way to meet our daily needs of calcium and other bone-healthy minerals like zinc and iron (7).

These characteristics of amaranth also make it a good treatment for osteoarthritis.

5. Strengthens The Heart

One Russian study stated the efficacy of amaranth oil in preventing coronary heart diseaseXA disease in which enough oxygen-rich blood cannot be delivered to the heart due to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. . The oil achieves this by reducing total cholesterol (8). It also increases the concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids and other healthy long-chain acids from the omega-3 families. This also can have a beneficial effect on patients suffering from hypertensionXA condition in which the force exerted by blood against the artery walls is over normal. Also known as high blood pressure. .

Another study published in 2003 showed that amaranth has phytosterolsXThey are natural compounds found in plants that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart-related diseases. , which have cholesterol-reducing properties. Amaranth had also exhibited anti-atherosclerotic effects in several other studies (9).

6. Might Fight Diabetes

Though amaranth has a high glycemic index, surprisingly, it may not be harmful for diabetics. In one study, rats fed with amaranth oil or amaranth grain experienced an increase in insulin levels and a decrease in blood sugar levels (10). Although we need more studies in this regard, taking amaranth in moderation can be beneficial for diabetics (as it contains fiber as well).

You might want to have amaranth along with lean protein foods and foods high in unsaturated fat.

7. Fights Cancer

The protein in amaranth can play a vital role in cancer treatment. It builds the health of healthy cells that are otherwise destroyed in chemotherapy.

According to another Bangladeshi study, amaranth can exhibit a strong anti-proliferative activity on cancer cells. It stops the cancer cells from spreading (11).

Amaranth also contains tocotrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family, found to have anticancer properties. We don’t know much about tocotrienols, but whatever little we know tells us that these compounds play a role in the treatment and prevention of cancer (12).

8. Is A Great Source Of Lysine

Amaranth tops the list of the high-lysine grains – offering 721 milligrams of the nutrient in a half cup serving. Lysine is one essential amino acid that plays a role in calcium absorption. It also burns fat and maintains the skin, tendons, cartilage, and bones.

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The lysine in amaranth is also used to treat herpes virus and cold sores around the mouth. It also works as an immune booster.

9. Boosts Immunity

Reports suggest that unprocessed grains work wonders for your immune health, and amaranth is one among them (13). And the oil also works great for immunity – especially for children suffering from allergies.

Amaranth is also rich in zinc, another mineral known to empower the immune system. Zinc has an important role to play, especially in the immune systems of older people. Older individuals might be more susceptible to infections, and zinc helps by staving them off.

Zinc supplementation is linked to an increase in the numbers of T-cells, which are a type of white blood cells associated with a stronger immune system. T-cells target and destroy invading pathogens (14).

10. Enhances Digestive Health

The fiber in amaranth bags the credit here (15). It binds to the cholesterol in the digestive system and results in its excretion. The fiber basically acts as bile and pulls the cholesterol out of the stool – which, apart from offering benefits to your heart, also aids digestion. It also regulates the excretion of waste.

Around 78 percent of the fiber in amaranth is insoluble while the remaining 22 percent is soluble – and this proportion is higher than what is found in other grains like maize and wheat. Soluble fiber aids proper digestion.

Amaranth also treats leaky gut syndrome, where the gut lining that prevents the bigger food particles (that can damage your system) from passing through gets inflamed. This causes fatigue, bloating, headaches, and even weight gain. Amaranth works here by encouraging the growth of the beneficial gut bacteria, thereby healing the leaky gut.

11. Might Aid Weight Loss

Though not a weight loss food specifically, amaranth could be an addition to your weight loss diet. Fiber is what we can look at here. It suppresses your appetite and keeps you full, and this discourages overeating – healthily impacting your overall weight loss process.

Amaranth is also a whole grain, and it contributes to weight loss much better than refined grains (16).

12. Improves Vision

Amaranth contains vitamin A, which is known to improve vision. The vitamin is important for vision under poor lighting conditions, and it also prevents night blindness (caused by vitamin A deficiency) (17).

Amaranth leaf also is rich in vitamin A, which can help enhance vision (18).

13. Is Beneficial For Pregnancy

Amaranth is rich in iron, a mineral that has a vital role to play during pregnancy. It helps deliver oxygen to the baby and supports its development. And the folate in this veggie helps the body make new cells. It also is crucial for copying and synthesizing DNA. More importantly, a folate deficiency can lead to neural tube defects in the newborn.

Folate is also considered the most important vitamin during pregnancy. In fact, fortification of foods with folate by the FDA had cut down the risk of neural tube defects by 26 percent (19).

14. Improves Hair And Skin Health

Amaranth contains lysine, an amino acid the body cannot produce – and an amino acid that can benefit the hair. It strengthens the hair follicles and helps prevent male pattern baldness. You can simply extract the juice from the amaranth leaves and apply to your hair after shampooing.

The iron in amaranth also contributes to hair health. This mineral might also prevent premature graying.

Amaranth oil can be beneficial to your skin as well. It can help prevent premature signs of aging and even serve as a good cleanser. You just have to massage a few drops of the oil into your face before you take a bath.

15. Combats Anemia

Given that it is rich in iron, amaranth can help combat anemia – which is a result of the deficiency of the mineral. This was proved in a study published in Public Health Nutrition, where adding amaranth to the diets of Kenyan children had improved their anemic symptoms (20).

The benefits, we saw, are wonderful. But these alone can’t define the greatness of amaranth. There is something else.

How To Use Amaranth

There are other ways you can use amaranth to make your life easier. Whether it is moisturizing your skin or removing your makeup seamlessly, amaranth has something to offer. Here are ways you can use amaranth:

  • Moisturize Your Skin 

Wash your hands and then leave them damp. Pour about 3 drops of amaranth oil on your palms and rub them together. Massage this oil into your face. Repeating this daily can improve skin health.

  • Clean And Whiten Your Teeth

The oil works as a natural bactericideXThey are substances or chemical agents that prevent the formation of bacteria and help eliminate them. . So, you can use it to remove the plaque and bacteria on your teeth and tongue. You might also want to use the oil to treat swollen gums, mouth ulcers, or even a sore throat. Simply swish a tablespoon of the oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes, and then spit it out. Repeat daily.

  • Remove Makeup 

Take a couple of drops of the oil on your fingertips and massage into the skin around your eyes and eyelashes (and wherever you added makeup). Take a cotton swab and wipe the makeup residue away.

  • Make Your Hair Shine

Simply massage your hair and scalp using a drop or two of amaranth oil. Wrap a towel around your hair and leave it on for 30 minutes. You can shampoo afterwards for smooth and shiny hair.

That’s with the uses. It sure does feel good when something not only benefits your health but also works in ways to make your life a whole lot easier. But yes, ever wondered how you can cook amaranth? Any tips on how to serve the veggie?

How To Cook And Eat Amaranth

You can prepare and eat amaranth in several ways. And these are just a few.

  • You can cook them in water. The ratio is 6 cups of water to 1 cup of amaranth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir once in 15 minutes. 
  • Or you can take it as a healthy cereal. Cook amaranth in milk and serve it with your favorite fruit and nuts. 
  • Have it as a tasty evening snack. Simply pop amaranth seeds just like popcorn. Add it as a crunchy topping to soups or salads. 
  • Use it as a side dish. Cook amaranth in juice or stock. Add seasoning and a dollop of butter. Use it as a side dish. 
  • As a substitute for rice. You can have amaranth in the place of rice. Or replace rice with amaranth in your regular rice preparations. 

Good stuff, isn’t it? But not all amaranth you find in the marketplace is good. So, one must know how to pick the right variety. And how to store it as well.

How To Select And Store Amaranth

This is quite simple. 

For selection, ensure you pick the fresh, crisp, and green bunches. There must be no signs of insect damage. If you are going for the seeds, make sure they are well wrapped in airtight packages. 

For storage, keep them (seeds or leaves) refrigerated in a plastic bag. Use within a week. Don’t wash them until you are ready to use them. 

What do you do after you have picked the right type of amaranth and stored it properly? You head to your kitchen counter, ready to create the next culinary masterpiece. Right? Well, these amaranth recipes can help – they will have you going gaga over this trendy grain.

Any Popular Amaranth Recipes?

1. Amaranth Porridge

What You Need
  • ½ cup of amaranth
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • ¼ cup of milk (or almond milk or rice milk)
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the amaranth and the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (covered) and simmer for 30 minutes. Keep stirring as the amaranth might stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Stir in the milk and maple syrup or brown sugar. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Keep stirring until the porridge is creamy. Remove from the heat and serve.

2. Orange Amaranth Bread

What You Need
  • 1 ¼ cups of warm water
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 ½ cups of bread flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup of whole wheat bread flour
  • ¾ cup of amaranth flour
  • 3 tablespoons of grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon of wheat gluten flour
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  1. In a large bowl, stir the water, honey, and yeast. Let the mixture stand until the yeast softens and begins to turn into a creamy foam.
  2. Whisk the bread flour, whole wheat bread flour, amaranth flour, and wheat gluten flour in another bowl.
  3. Add the orange zest and vegetable oil and salt to the yeast mixture. Gradually add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture until you get a sturdy dough. After the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a slightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. This might take some 10 minutes.
  4. In a slightly oiled bowl, place the dough and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place (until it has doubled in volume).
  5. Lightly grease a loaf pan.
  6. Punch down the dough, turn it onto a lightly floured surface, and knead about six times. Form the dough into a loaf and place into a prepared pan. Let the dough rise and double in volume in the next 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350o F.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until the top turns golden brown. The bottom of the loaf should also sound hollow when tapped. This might take some 40 minutes.

You can also replace your regular flour with amaranth flour for delicious amaranth flour recipes.

We don’t have to be too serious. Here’s something to lighten you up a bit.

Any Important Facts About Amaranth?

  • Amaranth completes its life cycle after one or a few years, depending on the species.
  • The leaves of amaranth are edible and quite popular in Asia.
  • Amaranth propagates via its seed.
  • The amaranth plant blooms during the summer and autumn. It belongs to a group of self-pollinating plants.
  • Amaranth has an erect and bushy stem that can grow anywhere from a few inches to 10 feet in height.

You have learned a good deal about amaranth and how it can benefit you. But wait, where can you get it?

Where To Buy Amaranth?

You can grab your pack of amaranth from your nearest supermarket. Or you can even buy it online.

You can also buy puffed amaranth or amaranth flakes.

We aren’t done yet. There is something else you must know.

Any Side Effects Of Amaranth?

There are no known side effects of amaranth. But this doesn’t mean you can take as much as you want. Stick to normal food amounts. And coming to pregnancy and breastfeeding, there is no enough information. So stay safe and avoid use.

Frequently Asked Questions

How different is amaranth from quinoa?

There is not a lot of difference. Some say amaranth is way cheaper, but this depends on the location as well. Amaranth contains slightly more protein than quinoa, but the difference is not so much that it deserves any debate.

How does amaranth grow?

Planting amaranth is simple. Remember that good soil moisture is imperative. Don’t water the plant until it has two to three leaves. The plant might appear slow growing initially, but it is drought tolerant and does well on a total of inches of water or less.

What does amaranth taste like?

It has an earthy and nutty flavor. Like whole wheat or whole berries.

Any good substitute for amaranth?


How to sprout amaranth?

Soak the seeds in water for 30 minutes. That’s it.

What are the benefits of amaranth flour?

Same as what we saw about amaranth.

Does amaranth contain saponins like quinoa?


How to prepare amaranth flower tea?

Steep the flowers in boiling water and keep stirring. Filter the petals, and you are good to go.a

Is amaranth good for kidneys?

Yes. As per animal studies, amaranth’s antioxidant and antidiabetic activity protects the kidney’s tissues and reduces kidney damage (21). However, more studies on humans are warranted.

Which amaranth variant is better: red or green?

The red variant has more pigments and antioxidant constituents than the green variant. Hence, red amaranth is better of the two (22).


  1. “Branched-chain amino acid supplementation…”. University of Pavia, Italy.
  2. “The chemical composition and protein…”. INCAP, Guatemala, Central America.
  3. “Extrusion improved the anti-inflammatory effect of amaranth…”. University of Illinois, USA.
  4. “Best grains for arthritis”. Arthritis Foundation.
  5. “Phytochemicals in quinoa and amaranth grains…”. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, USA.
  6. “Give your bone health a boost…”. International Osteoporosis Foundation.
  7. “Iron, zinc and calcium…”. Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina.
  8. “Amaranth oil application for coronary heart disease…”. Functional Foods Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
  9. “Pepsin-pancreatin protein…”. Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico.
  10. “Antioxidative and anti-diabetic effects of amaranth…”. Hanseo University, Korea.
  11. “Assessment of antioxidant, anticancer…”. University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh.
  12. “Tocotrienols fight cancer…”. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA.
  13. “What to eat to boost your immune system…”. The Telegraph.
  14. “Effect of zinc supplementation on serum zinc concentration and T cell proliferation in nursing home elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oxford Academic.
  15. “Ancient rediscovering food: Grain amaranth”. Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  16. “Managing your weight with healthy eating”. US National Library of Medicine.
  17. “What is vitamin A and why do we need it?”. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
  18. “Fact or fiction: Can the carrot be a cure for your eyes?” The University of Arizona.
  19. “Folate Fortification for the Prevention of Birth Defects”. American Journal of Epidemiology.
  20. “Think amaranth for healthy variety”. Chicago Tribune.
  21. “”Grain Amaranth Is Associated with Improved Hepatic and Renal Calcium Metabolism in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus of Male Wistar Rats
  22. “”.Antioxidant constituents of three selected red and green color Amaranthus leafy vegetable

Read more  I forced myself to walk for an hour every day during the pandemic, and I was surprised by how much it improved my mental and physical health

— Update: 10-02-2023 — found an additional article 10 Health Benefits Of Amaranth Grain And Leaves from the website for the keyword health benefits of amaranth.

Amaranth has become an important part of my diet since I participated in the Cook! SF detox. Amaranth was cultivated by the Aztecs and in other tropical climates, but is now experiencing a resurgence in popularity as a gluten-free protein. Though amaranth is derived from the fruit a flowering plant, it is often referred to as a grain–so we’ll call it a grain here. Here are reasons to use amaranth grain and even the leaves into your diet.

10 Amaranth Benefits

1. Amaranth Is Gluten-Free

Cook amaranth grain as a hot cereal to eat in the morning (recipe below). Find it as flour and use if for baking. Some even pop it like popcorn and bread fish with it.

2. It Has More Protein Than Other Grains

One cup of amaranth grain has 28.1 grams of protein compared to oats at 26.1. It’s healthier to receive protein from plant-based sources rather than animals, because the latter often comes with fat and cholesterol.

3. Amaranth Provides Essential Lysine

Amaranth has far more lysine, an essential amino acid that the body can’t manufacture, than other grains. Lysine helps metabolize fatty acids into energy, absorb calcium, and even keep the hair on your head in tact.

4. Helps With Hair Loss And Greying

Expanding on the above, eating it helps with hair loss,  juice the leaves and apply it after shampooing. I’ve never done it but people swear it helps moisturize and flatten wirey grey hair.

5. Lowers Cholesterol And Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

Amaranth seeds and oil (found in the seed) have  fiber which contributes to lower cholesterol and risk of constipation. It’s also rich in phytosterols, also known for lowering cholesterol.

6. It’s High In Calcium

Amaranth helps reduce risk of osteoporosis and other calcium deficiencies because it has twice the calcium as milk.

7. Amaranth Is Full Of Antioxidants And Minerals

It’s the only grain to have vitamin C, but it’s high in vitamin E, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium which are necessary for overall health. The leaves are high in vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

8. Works As An Appetite Suppressant

Protein reduces insulin levels in the blood stream and releases a hormone that makes you feel less hungry. Since amaranth is roughly 15% protein, the fact that it aids in weight loss or maintaining weight is one of the health benefits.

9. Improves Eyesight

While I can’t find an article to back this up, some cultures believe that amaranth greens are a natural way to improve eyesight. Eat them as salad or brew them in tea.

10. Amaranth Is Easy To Digest

Amaranth is traditionally given to patients recovering from illness or people coming off of fasts. It’s the mix of amino acids that allows for very easy digestion.

How Does Amaranth Grow?

Health benefits of amaranth

Amaranth is a gorgeous perennial plant that flowers in the summer. Some species of amaranth get a bad rap for being invasive plants. Some argue that this feature allows us to grow it with ease, therefore, we should be incorporating it more into our diets. It’s hearty and requires little care to grow.

How to Cook Amaranth

Health benefits of amaranth

I buy amaranth in bulk at Whole Foods and prepare it in advance for breakfast. Use a 1:3 ratio of amaranth to liquid. The liquid could be water, almond milk, milk or coconut milk in a breakfast dish or prepared differently for a snack or savory meal. All you need to do is measure out the right amount of amaranth and rinse it with water. Drain the water. Put the amaranth in a pot with the liquid and cook on medium until the liquid is absorbed. Have a look at my favorite amaranth breakfast recipe.

Amaranth leaves taste like spinach, but with a stronger flavor. Sprinkle them in salad or use them in a stir fry.

How do you eat amaranth?

Whole Grain Council 101
Discovery Fit & Health

— Update: 11-02-2023 — found an additional article 16 Health Benefits of Amaranth Leaves That You Must Know from the website for the keyword health benefits of amaranth.

What is Amaranth?

We have heard and been recommended a number of leafy greens. We have been told about their benefits a number of times and been asked to include them in our diet. While kale, spinach, lettuce, fenugreek etc. are quite famous, Amaranth, also known as ‘chaulai’ has taken the backseat. Amaranth looks somewhat like spinach and is found mainly in the foothills of the Himalayas and the coasts of South India. They come in various colours ranging from gold, red, green to purple. Amaranth seeds used to be the staple food of many people including the Aztecs in the past. Their popularity had resurged a few years back and they came to be known as a superfood when the Amaranth seeds were found to have health benefits.

Why Amaranth leaves?

The humble Amaranth leaves are witnessing a resurgence in their popularity after research has found them to be packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. They are also rich in potassium and fibre, thus can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Hence, they are considered  heart-healthy food. Not just the leaves, even the seeds of this plant are a necessary source of gluten-free protein. Part of the tropical climates, it can be found in all regions of our country. The leaves are green, gold, purple or red depending on the area where it grows and is sold as  chaulai  in the country.

Health benefits of Amaranth leaves

Used mostly as part of the winter dishes of it is the less favourite relative of spinach. But Amaranth leaves are much superior to most greens because they are a powerhouse of nutrients. Let us look at some health benefits of eating Amaranth leaves.

  • Storehouse of nutrients

Amaranth leaves are a storehouse of essential phytonutrients and antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation in the body and provide an extra boost of nutrition to one’s health.

  • Low in calories

100gms of Amaranth leaves carry only unbelievably light baggage of just 23 calories. Traces of fat and absolutely no cholesterol make them a healthy go-to food option, especially those who are watching their weight or who want to reduce it.

  • High in fiber

Amaranth leaves are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre that has many benefits. Eating fibre helps us to reduce our weight and wards off heart disease as it lowers the cholesterol in the blood. Amaranth is high in protein and fibre, both of which may help to reduce appetite and increase weight loss

  • Good for anemics

Iron is needed for producing red blood cells and is also needed for cellular metabolism. Reap maximum benefits of this powerful punch of iron that amaranth leaves provide by adding some source of vitamin C as it facilitates maximum absorption of iron in the blood. So, you could add a dash of lemon or have the amaranth leaves dish with a glass of orange juice.

Also, read about iron-rich diet to fight the deficiency.

  • Boosts immunity

Here is another reason why you should make amaranth leaves a regular part of your diet. These leafy greens are rich in vitamin C. having 100gms of the leaves will meet 70% of your daily requirement for vitamin C. This vitamin is a water-soluble vitamin and is needed for fighting off infections and for quicker wound healing. It also helps to reduce the effect of free radicals in the environment which are responsible for ageing and many types of cancer.

  • Rich In vitamin A

Amaranth leaves are rich in vitamin A and a cup can meet 97% of your daily need for this antioxidative vitamin. They are also full of flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein which provide a protective layer against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Vitamin A is also needed for healthy skin and proper vision.

  • Rich In vitamin K

Amongst all the green leafy vegetables, across the board amaranth leaves have the highest quantity of vitamin K. This vitamin is needed for good bone health and also plays an important role in blood clotting. It promotes osteoblastic activity and strengthens bone mass. Also, it is beneficial for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease as it controls the neural damage done in the brain.

  • Rich In vitamin B

Amaranth leaves are replete with vitamins of the B group. Folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and others are all found in these leafy greens. They help prevent birth defects in newborn babies and are needed for optimal mental and physical health.

  • Rich In potassium

The leaves of this wonder plant are full of potassium. The element is needed for good cardiac health. Potassium is necessary for creating a balanced cellular fluid environment. It also controls the heart rate in the human body.

  • Amaranth is gluten-free

The seeds of the amaranth plant are used as a grain and can be ground to be made into flour. This is a protein-rich flour that is entirely gluten-free, so it is incredibly beneficial for those who have gluten intolerance.

  • Rich In protein

Amaranth leaves and grain are rich in protein, leaving behind even oats as a protein-rich grain. Receiving protein from a plant source is considered much healthier than obtaining it from an animal source as the former has no or very little fat and cholesterol. Eating amaranth leaves suppresses appetite as they are rich in protein. Having a protein-rich diet leads to suppression of hunger as it reduces insulin levels in the blood and keeps one feeling satiated.

  • Amaranth leaves have Lysine

Amaranth leaves have lysine, an essential amino acid that is needed for energy production and absorption of calcium. It also promotes hair growth and good skin. Those who suffer from hair loss or greying will benefit significantly from eating amaranth leaves.

  • Reduces bad cholesterol

Amaranth leaves are known to lower bad cholesterol which is responsible for many cardiac problems.

  • Rich In calcium

Amaranth leaves are rich in calcium and thus are beneficial for those who are suffering from osteoporosis and other bone health problems related to deficiency of calcium.

  • Easy to digest

Amaranth leaves are offered to those convalescing after an illness or those who are fasting as they are easy on the digestive system. Amaranth leaves are helpful in treating diarrhoea and haemorrhages. Regular consumption has been known to benefit digestion.

How to include it in your diet?

In India, mostly the red variety of Amaranth leaves are used in cooking. It is usually prepared by sautéing the Amaranth leaves a few spices, garlic and onion. It is known as lal saag or chaulai saag. Sometimes, it is also cooked with lentils and served alongside rice or roti. This dish is known as dal saag. In Andhra Pradesh, it is prepared with moong dal or toor dal and known as thotakura pappu. Another variation is done where a sort of curry is made with Amaranth leaves and gram flour. In Kerala, a dish called cheera thoran is prepared. It is made by finely chopping the amaranth leaves and then sautéing them with grated coconut, chillies, curry leaves and certain spices. In Tamil Nadu, it is known as keerai masial and served with steamed rice.

Fresh, tender leaves and shoots of Amaranth can be eaten raw in salads or as juice. In the mainland of China, Amaranth is known as yin-tsai. It is used in various soups and stir-fries. In Greece, they are known as vleeta where they are eaten with dandelion, mustard green, chicory greens, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice. The name of the dish is vrasta chorta.


Amaranth leaves and grains are known as a superfood because they are beneficial for almost every organ of the body. It is easy to incorporate them into the diet as they taste well as a stir-fry or when combined with lentils. Rich in protein, calcium, iron, copper, essential vitamins, magnesium, zinc and manganese, the humble amaranth has more to offer than the other leafy green vegetables. Copper and manganese are used for their antioxidative properties in the body. Copper is essential to produce red blood cells. Zinc is needed for proper growth and maintenance, digestion and the development of the human body. Choose a fresh bunch of this vegetable this winter and enjoy its health benefits.


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About the Author: Tung Chi