Minggu, 06 Juli 2014

Amaranth Benefits

Amaranth Benefits

Amaranth is one of the most important groups of plants to emerge from the Americas after the discovery of the New World in the 15th century. Most of the approximately 60 species share similar traits, and many are used worldwide as a nutritious food source for both people and domestic animals. Studies indicate that amaranth may have some medical benefits, as well.

Nutritional Benefits

    The highly nutritious seeds and leaves are the two main parts of the plant used for food. The seeds can be ground into flour and used to make bread, cookies, crackers, cereals and other items that traditionally are made from wheat flour. Unlike wheat, though, amaranth seeds are gluten-free yet high in protein. They are also abundant in minerals such as iron, magnesium and phosphorus. The leaves are often used as a pot herb in Africa and the Caribbean and are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as calcium.

Medical Benefits

    According to an article in the Jan. 5, 2007, issue of the medical journal "Lipids in Health and Disease," studies have shown that amaranth is similar to oats in its ability to lower cholesterol when included as a regular part of a dietary plan. Amaranth oil seems to not only benefit sufferers of hypertension and coronary heart disease but can also be used as a natural antioxidant supplement. Additionally, amaranth seeds are low in saturated fats, high in fiber, and rich in the amino acid lysine.

Other Benefits

    Amaranth is sometimes utilized as a protein-rich forage for animals such as hogs, and some varieties are believed to be drought-tolerant, making it as versatile as sorghum in this respect for farmers. Many species of amaranth are used as ornamental plants. Love-lies-bleeding and prince's feather are two of the more well-known examples of decorative flora. Some species of amaranth also attract butterflies and moths, which may be of interest to avid gardeners.

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