Although amaranth has only recently gained popularity as a health food, this ancient grain has been a dietary staple in certain parts of the world for millennia.
It has an impressive nutrient profile and been associated with a number of impressive health benefits.
Amaranth is a group of more than 60 different species of grains that have been cultivated for about 8,000 years.
These grains were once considered a staple food in the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations.
Amaranth is classified as a pseudocereal, meaning that it’s not technically a cereal grain like wheat or oats, but it shares a comparable set of nutrients and is used in similar ways. Its earthy, nutty flavor works well in a variety of dishes.Besides being incredibly versatile, this nutritious grain is naturally gluten-free and rich in protein, fiber, micronutrients and antioxidants.
In particular, amaranth is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
One cup (246 grams) of cooked amaranth contains the following nutrients.:
- Calories: 251
- Protein: 9.3 grams
- Carbs: 46 grams
- Fat: 5.2 grams
- Manganese: 105% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 40% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 36% of the RDI
- Iron: 29% of the RDI
- Selenium: 19% of the RDI
- Copper: 18% of the RDI
Amaranth is packed with manganese, exceeding your daily nutrient needs in just one serving. Manganese is especially important for brain function and believed to protect against certain neurological conditions.
It’s also rich in magnesium, an essential nutrient involved in nearly 300 reactions in the body, including DNA synthesis and muscle contraction.
What’s more, amaranth is high in phosphorus, a mineral that is important for bone health. It’s also rich in iron, which helps your body produce blood.