Benefits Of Amaranth: Rediscovering the Ancient Superfood

Amaranth, a highly nutritious grain, has a rich history and origins as a food crop. Believed to have originated in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago, it was revered by the ancient Aztecs and Incas for its cultural and religious significance. Amaranth held a prominent role in their diets and was often used in rituals and ceremonies. The grain's resilience and adaptability contributed to its spread across different societies, where it became a staple food due to its versatility, nutritional value, and symbolic importance.

Nutritional Profile of Amaranth

Amaranth grains possess an impressive nutritional profile, making them a valuable addition to a balanced diet. These tiny grains are rich in protein, containing about 13–14% protein content. What sets amaranth apart is its composition of essential amino acids, particularly lysine, which is often limited in other grains. This makes amaranth a valuable source of complete protein.

Furthermore, amaranth is a great source of dietary fibre, providing both soluble and insoluble fibres. This fibre content aids in digestive health promotes satiety, and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Amaranth also boasts a range of essential vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate, which are vital for immune function, cell growth, and overall health.

In terms of minerals, amaranth is abundant in calcium, iron, and magnesium. Calcium contributes to bone health; iron aids in oxygen transport and energy production, and magnesium plays a role in nerve function and muscle health. This nutrient-dense grain offers a remarkable combination of protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a nutrient-rich food source.

7 Health Benefits Of Amaranth

1. Antioxidant properties: Amaranth contains phenolic compounds and other antioxidants that help protect the body against oxidative stress, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

2. Cardiovascular benefits: The fibre, vitamins, and minerals in amaranth promote heart health by reducing cholesterol levels, improving blood pressure, and preventing the buildup of plaque in arteries, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.

3. Blood sugar regulation: Amaranth's high fibre content slows down the digestion process, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. This benefit makes it suitable for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

4. Weight management: The combination of protein, fibre, and essential nutrients in amaranth helps promote satiety and curb cravings, aiding in weight management and maintaining healthy body weight.

5. Nutrient absorption: Amaranth's nutrient profile, including the presence of lysine and other essential amino acids, enhances the absorption of nutrients from other foods, ensuring optimal nutrient utilisation by the body.

6. Digestive health: The dietary fibre content in amaranth supports healthy digestion, prevents constipation, and promotes a healthy gut microbiome, contributing to overall digestive well-being.

7. Bone health: Amaranth is a good source of calcium, an essential mineral for bone health. Consuming amaranth regularly can help strengthen bones, prevent osteoporosis, and maintain overall skeletal health throughout life.

Culinary Uses of Amaranth

Amaranth exhibits remarkable versatility as a food ingredient, making it a valuable addition to various culinary creations. It can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, offering a unique texture and nutty flavour. Amaranth can be popped like popcorn, toasted, or cooked as a whole grain. When preparing amaranth porridge, it can be cooked in water or milk, similar to cooking oatmeal, with a recommended ratio of 1 cup of amaranth to 3 cups of liquid.

Traditionally, amaranth has been used in diverse cultural recipes. In Mexican cuisine, it is used in "alegría," a sweet treat made with popped amaranth, honey, and nuts. In India, it is used in "rajgira ki kadhi," a yoghurt-based curry, and "rajgira ladoo," a festive sweet made with amaranth flour. In West Africa, amaranth leaves are commonly used in stews and soups.

Another significant aspect of amaranth is its gluten-free nature. It serves as an excellent alternative to wheat flour in gluten-free cooking and baking. Ground amaranth flour can be used to make pancakes, bread, cookies, and other baked goods, providing a nutritious option for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. With its adaptability, unique flavour, and gluten-free properties, amaranth opens up a world of culinary possibilities for both traditional and contemporary recipes, allowing for creative exploration in the kitchen.

Amaranth porridge, a rediscovered ancient superfood, offers a wealth of nutritional benefits. Its high protein content, essential amino acids, fibre, vitamins, and minerals make it a powerhouse of nutrients. Amaranth porridge promotes heart health, aids in blood sugar regulation, support weight management and enhances digestive well-being. Additionally, its versatility in cooking, cultural significance, and gluten-free nature make it a valuable ingredient. Embracing amaranth in our diets allows us to reconnect with this nutritious grain and unlock its potential for our overall health and culinary enjoyment. It's time to rediscover and incorporate amaranth into our daily meals.

Recipe For Amaranth Porridge 

                                                         Video Credit: Juhi Kapoor/YouTube


1 cup amaranth grains

3 cups water or milk (dairy or plant-based)

Pinch of salt (optional)

Sweeteners and toppings of your choice, such as honey, maple syrup, fruits, nuts, or cinnamon


Rinse the amaranth grains thoroughly under cold water to remove any debris.

In a saucepan, combine the rinsed amaranth grains with water or milk. Add a pinch of salt if desired.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan with a lid.

Simmer the mixture for about 20–25 minutes, or until the amaranth grains are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

If the porridge becomes too thick, you can add additional water or milk to achieve your desired consistency.

Once cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the porridge rest for a few minutes.

Serve the amaranth porridge warm in bowls.

Sweeten your porridge with honey, maple syrup, or any other preferred sweetener.

Customise your porridge with toppings such as fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Mix everything together and enjoy your delicious and nutritious amaranth porridge.

Feel free to adjust the recipe according to your taste preferences and desired texture. Enjoy the nourishing benefits of amaranth in a warm and comforting breakfast porridge!