Semillas de Amaranto en un recipiente de color marrón

Amaranth: Benefits, Nutrition Facts And Recipes

Discover what amaranthus is, its benefits and some recipes with amaranth seeds

Amaranth is a gluten-free seed that provides many nutrients. This crop, one of the oldest in America, is gaining, day after day, popularity thanks to the benefits and properties associated with it and its many uses in cooking. It has a taste similar to that of walnuts and helps us to feel full and satiated, thanks to its high fiber content.

Also, like quinoa, it is an excellent source of protein. According to a study carried out in 2017, the proteins found in this type of seed have a particularly high nutritional quality due to the excellent balance of essential amino acids. In this article, we tell you a little more about amaranth, what its properties and benefits are, what it is used for and the different recipes we can prepare with this grain.

What is amaranth?

Amaranth, of the genus Amaranthus caudatus, is a type of plant with more than 70 different species of grains that have been cultivated for approximately 8,000 years in America. These grains were considered a staple food in the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations and remains of amaranth have been found in the tombs of these civilizations.

This is classified as a pseudocereal, meaning that technically it is not a cereal grain such as wheat or oats, but shares a comparable set of nutrients and is used in a similar way. Its nutty taste works well in a variety of dishes. In addition to being very versatile, this plant is naturally gluten-free and rich in proteins, fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants.

You can buy amaranth seeds in some supermarkets in the special food section or in specialized shops. As they continue to gain popularity, they are likely to be found in more hypermarkets. Before cooking, we can soak it in water and then let the seeds germinate for one to three days. 


Germination makes the seeds easier to digest  and our body can access all their nutritional components. One way to consume these sprouts in our diet is to add them in salads. When we want to cook it, we can cook it using a proportion of 1.5 glasses of water per half glass of amaranth. Heat the mixture in a small saucepan until it starts to boil. Then reduce the potency and let it simmer, uncovered until all the water is absorbed. This usually takes about 20 minutes.


Amaranth benefits and uses

This ancient seed is rich in fiber and protein, as well as many important micronutrients. In particular, amaranthus is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Here are its properties and benefits for our health and body:


1. Antioxidant

Amaranth is a good source of antioxidants that are beneficial to our health. It is especially high in phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants. The content of this type of substance is higher in raw amaranth, and studies have found that soaking and processing it can decrease its antioxidant activity.


2. Rich in proteins

This is definitely the best-known benefit of this grain, making it a valuable source of protein. It is essential for the  growth and creation of new cells and tissues, as well as for immediate energy needs and metabolic functionality. It contains a higher concentration of protein than almost any other grain on the market.


3. Promotes bones health

Amaranth leaves contain a wide range of minerals, including a high concentration of calcium. There are very few leafy vegetables that contain such high levels of calcium, making it a superfood in terms of increasing bone strength and preventing osteoporosis.


4. Improves digestion

Thanks to its high fiber content,  consuming amaranth causes us to have better digestion of food and facilitates the efficient absorption of minerals.


5. Gluten-free

Amaranth is a gluten-free seed, which means that for the millions of people who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it offers a viable alternative as a cereal source.



6. Lowers cholesterol 

The dietary fiber mentioned above can also help balance cholesterol in the body by removing bad or LDL cholesterol from the cardiovascular system. Also, amaranth contains a large amount of vitamin K, which is a known booster for heart health. Some animal tests have found that amaranth may have cholesterol-lowering properties; however, despite these promising results, further research is needed to understand how it can affect cholesterol levels in humans.


7. Prevents atherosclerosis

The potassium content in amaranth helps lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels and reducing stress in the cardiovascular system, which reduces the chances of developing atherosclerosis.


8. May prevent the appearance of varicose veins

Amaranth contains many flavonoids  that have been directly related to the elimination of varicose veins by strengthening the capillary walls. This is also reinforced by its high concentration of vitamin C, an integral component in collagen production, which also helps to repair and strengthen the walls of blood vessels.


Flor de amaranto de color violeta con hojas verdes
There are many healthy amaranth recipes like smoothies and salads | PixaBay

Amaranth recipes

If we have ever wondered what amaranth is good for, we need to know that this type of seed has a nutty, toasted taste, so it works well in many dishes, from breakfast to dessert. An excellent way to introduce it to our diet is to eat it at breakfast. Many people start the day with oats, so instead, we can try amaranth seeds. We can mix them with fruits, nuts and probiotic yogurt for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.


We can also use amaranth flour to make gluten-free baked goods. For example, in a cake recipe with oat flour, we can replace it for amaranth flour, in this way the dish will thicken more and we will feel full and satiated for much longer than with oatmeal. Another simple way to add it to our diet is to use it instead of rice, pasta or couscous. A delicious idea is amaranth salad with basil and tomatoes.


A dish that is very easy to prepare and that provides us with a great source of nutrients and proteins. If we prefer a sweet recipe, we can make rice pudding, but with amaranth. We can also make other types of recipes with this grain. For example, we can prepare cookies, bars or amaranth pancakes. If we usually cook this type of recipes with oatmeal or flour, we simply have to replace it.


Other options to use this type of seeds are to add them in milkshakes or incorporate them in smoothies to increase the fiber and protein content. It is also often added in stews and soups to produce more thickness. Thus, as we have seen, amaranth is easy to prepare and can be used in many different recipes.


Check out the original article: ¿Qué es el amaranto? Propiedades, beneficios y recetas at