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Amaranth is a gluten-free and super healthy source of protein

Friday, October 11, 2013 by: P. Simard
Tags: amaranth, gluten-free food, protein source

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(NaturalNews) Amaranth is grown as a gluten-free grain that unfortunately goes far too often under the radar in North America. Although its production began in the 70s in the US, it is best known as being forcefully destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors who forbade its use and growth a few centuries ago. Amaranth is part of the Chenopodiaceae family of plants and is therefore related to beets, Swiss chard, spinach and quinoa, the latter of which was also forbidden by the Spanish upon their arrival.

It is quite rich in amino acids, particularly lysine, which is around two times more abundant in amaranth than it is in wheat, for instance. It also offers decent amounts of vitamins and minerals and most importantly provides generous quantities of high-quality protein, seemingly more than most other grains. Since more and more people are looking for non-GMO, gluten-free foods, it would definitely be wise to keep quinoa and amaranth on the list of important items to have.

Amaranth oil features a high content of squalene, which is partly responsible for the production of vitamin D and vitamin E's tocotrienols, amongst other things. Based on a study published in the Lipids in Health and Disease journal, researchers noted that amaranth oil greatly helps blood vessels by keeping them more flexible, which, in turn, permits them to keep blood pressure under control.

Does amaranth have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and the liver?

It is no surprise to say that heart disease is the number one killer for people of all races and ethnic backgrounds, with hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity and high overall levels of cholesterol as being the main culprits to these problems. Fortunately, all information available up to this point seems to indicate that amaranth oil can be quite beneficial to the cardiovascular system. The study reported earlier showed that, when chickens were regularly fed with amaranth oil, their cholesterol levels also decreased. With cases of hypertension, the cell membrane is generally defective, but, thankfully, amaranth oil balances and stabilizes the cell membrane fluidity.

Based on an animal study published in the June 2011 issue of Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, amaranth seems to protect the liver from accumulated toxins and other detrimental waste products. During tests covering a period of approximately 28 days, animals were given moderate levels of alcohol in addition to an amaranth-filled diet. The end results showed that fewer lipids became damaged by various toxins. This also accounted for a smaller number of enzymes that, when strongly present in the immediate environment, contribute to weakening of the liver. On the other hand, there was a substantial increase in the number of antioxidants present in the livers.

Please note that amaranth has a small amount of oxalic acid; therefore, it would be best to consult with a health practitioner if you happen to have gout, kidney problems or possibly rheumatoid arthritis.

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About the author:
After spending several years working in property management, P. Simard is now focusing on being a naturopath in Quebec.

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