Amaranth (Rajgira) has many Health Benefits
Amaranth also called rajgira in India is an amazing ancient grain with wonderful nutritional benefits. Amaranth is actually a pseudo grain that means though it has all the nutrients like a grain, it is actually a seed of amaranth plant.
Amaranth was cultivated by aztecs who lived from the 14th to 16th centuries and it made up 80% of their diet. Amaranth was not only their staple diet, they also used it in religious ceremonies. The word Amaranth refers to all the plants belonging to the genus Amaranthus that have around 70 species.
We call amaranth plant Chaulai in Hindi and the seeds are called Rajgira | Ramdana in Hindi and Marathi, Rajgaro in Gujarati, Mulai Keerai (plant name) in Tamil (if it matures, it is called Thandu Keerai) and the amaranth seeds are called Keerai Vithai in Tamil. Amranth Leaves are called Thotakura in Telugu and the seeds are called Thotakura Ginjalu, Cheera in Malayalam (plant name), and Harive in Kannada (plant name).
Medicinal Uses & Nutrition Of Amaranth (Rajgira) | Thotakura For Health, Hair & Weight Loss
Amaranth Nutritional Value:
100 grams of amaranth seeds contain around 367 calories, 66 grams carbohydrates, 13.44 grams of protein, 5.3 grams fat, 4 grams of fiber and 303 mg of calcium. It is rich in minerals like manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, selenium, potassium, sodium and zinc. It is also rich in vitamin B6, B9, B2, B3, Vitamin E and thiamine.
Amaranth Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses:
1. High Protein Content:
The first thing I noticed when I read the label at the back of the pack is it’s high protein content, 100 grams contain astonishingly almost 14 grams of protein! Especially for people who are on a vegan diet, consuming amaranth will greatly help meet their daily protein requirements easily.
2. Lowers Cholesterol:
Amaranth has wonderful cholesterol lowering properties. Amaranth has been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol significantly, you can read the study that proves it here. Any food that is rich in fiber helps lower cholesterol, fiber binds with the cholesterol and helps excrete it naturally. 100 grams of amaranth has around 4 grams of fiber, people with high cholesterol levels can include amaranth in their diet regularly.
3. Good For Diabetes:
Any food that keeps the blood sugar levels stable is very good for diabetes and amaranth does just that. Also amaranth is rich in manganese and diabetics usually tend to have low amounts of manganese, so amaranth is a wonderful ingredient for diabetic patients to include in their diet.
4. Amaranth Antioxidant Properties:
Amaranth has both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties making it a miracle grain. Consuming amaranth regularly will keep us in peak health and will help prevent premature ageing as it is full of antioxidants. Try your best to include amaranth everyday, if not at least a few times a week.
5. Amaranth For Weight Loss:
Amaranth keeps us full for long periods of time and is a perfect weight loss food. 100 grams of amaranth has around 367 calories but it will be hard to consume even 50 grams at a time as it fills us up so quickly in addition to keeping us fuller for longer periods of time.
6. Amaranth For Bone Health:
Amaranth is rich in calcium, 100 grams of amaranth has around 303 mg of calcium! Since calcium is very crucial for bone health, consuming amaranth regularly will help us have strong bones. For bone health consume amaranth as a porridge along with milk (any milk of your choice) for breakfast.
7. Amaranth is Gluten Free:
Amaranth is gluten free and for people who are allergic to gluten, amaranth is a wonderful choice to include in the daily diet. You can even grind amaranth into a flour and consume. Popped amaranth bars is also a wonderful gluten crunchy snack that you can consume everyday.
8. Amaranth For Hair & Skin:
Amaranth is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins making it a perfect skin and hair food. Amaranth especially contains lysine which is essential for hair growth. Consuming just a small cup of amaranth porridge or an amaranth bar everyday as a snack will go a long way in meeting our daily protein needs.
9. Amaranth During Fasting & Pregnancy:
Traditionally in India, amaranth is had during fasting in the form of roti. As it is gluten free, high in protein and nutrients, it will keep one from getting tired during the fast. Amaranth is also rich in iron that is why pregnant women are advised to include amaranth in their diet. Amaranth also can be included in children’s diet regularly
10. Amaranth Greens:
Like the seeds, the amaranth leaves also have wonderful nutritive value. It is rich in calcium, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin B, K and C. Amaranth leaf is a wonderful body coolant too. You can add amaranth greens in soups, dals and curries.