Amaranth Facts and Health Benefits



Amaranth Quick Facts
Name: Amaranth
Scientific Name: Amaranthus
Origin Central America and South America but now commonly cultivated in the countries having warm climate.
Colors White, yellow, brown, pink, red, or black
Shapes Spherical or flattened lenticular
Calories 251 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Manganese (91.35%)
Iron (64.63%)
Phosphorus (52.00%)
Copper (40.78%)
Magnesium (38.10%)
Health benefits High protein, Antioxidant properties, Develop bones, Facilitates digestion, Heart health
Amaranth, scientific name Amaranthus, is a member of the Amaranthaceae family which is related to and resembles Quinoa. Native to Central America and South America, it is also cultivated in the countries having warm climate. Amaranth possess various vernacular names such as Hindi: Lal sag, Thotakura Chaulai; Marathi: Shavrani math, Rajgira; Tamil: Punkirai; Telegu: Chilaka thotakoora etc. It is also known as Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Amaranthus frumentaceus, Amaranto, Chua, Amaranthus leucocarpus, Red Cockscomb, Velvet Flower.

Plant and Seeds

Amaranth is an annual, large and bushy plant usually about 90-130 cm high. It has oblong-lanceolate pointed green leaves normally arranged alternately in 2-4 inches long. The stems are erect branched. The plant yields flowers at summer or autumn (August and October) which is pink or white in color. The seeds are yellow, white, red, brown, pink, or black in a spherical or flattened lenticular shape. It prefers the warm climate and thrives in well-drained soils. As the plant is annual, it has got the lifespan of one year.

How to Eat

The younger greens and small varieties are consumed as salad and older greens are used as a substitute for spinach. Amaranth is added as an ingredient in pasta, bread, instant drinks, baby’s food, etc. It could be added to soups or stews and also taken as a cereal for breakfast. Popped Amaranth is added to bread, tofu or meat. Amaranth flour could be mixed with wheat flour to make bread or other foods. The seed could be cooked or roasted like germ vegetables.

Health Benefits

Amaranth is rich in antioxidants, , proteins, vitamins and minerals which make it the healthy food by preventing  the chronic diseases, enhancing immune system, stimulating repair and growth, lowering inflammation and blood pressure, lessening varicose veins, and promoting the strength of bones and others. It could be consumed either as a leaf vegetable, grain flour or a cereal grain.

  1. High protein

Amaranth possess huge amount of protein which the body to break the plant protein into the usable amino acids and can be reformed into usable proteins. Protein is vital for the development and growth of new tissues and cells, energy and functions of metabolism. Even the leaves also possess beneficial proteins in it. (1)

  1. Antioxidant properties

The research shows that the peptide in Amaranth helps to lower inflammation and prevents the free radicals damage of mutating the healthy cells to cancerous cells. The anti-inflammatory activities eliminate the health conditions such as gout, arthritis and inflammation. (2)

  1. Develop bones

The leaves of Amaranth possess various minerals such as calcium. Amaranth enhances the strength of bones and also prevents osteoporosis. Calcium is essential to prevent bone demineralization. (3)

  1. Facilitates digestion

Amaranth is high in fiber content which assists in the digestion and promotes the minerals uptake. It is gluten free which provides an alternative grain source for the gluten intolerance of Celiac’s disease patients. (4)

  1. Heart health

The dietary fiber assists to balance the cholesterol by reducing the bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system. Amaranth possess high amount of Vitamin K which enhances the heart health. The potassium reduces the blood pressure by lessening the strain on cardiovascular system and dilating the blood vessels. It also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. The high concentration of phytosterols also assists in reduction of bad cholesterol. (5)

  1. Reduce varicose veins

Amaranth possesses the flavonoids such as rutin which eradicates the varicose veins by enhancing the capillary walls. It is also rich in Vitamin C which is essential for the collagen production, strengthen and repair the walls of blood vessels. (6)

  1. Eye health

An adequate amount of Vitamin A and carotenoids in the leaves of Amaranth helps to enhance the eye health. These antioxidants eliminate the chances of macular degeneration and cataracts. It lowers the oxidative stress in the ocular system that leads to the healthy and strong vision. (7)

8. Prevent birth defects

Folate is vital for the pregnant mothers because the deficiency in folate leads to the neural tube defects in the newborns. One should add Amaranth grains or leaves to the diet because it provides an adequate folate. (8)

  1. Helps to lose weight

The leaves and grains of Amaranth assist in losing weight by releasing the sated hormone from the appetite. The dietary fiber makes to feel for a long time which eliminates the snack between the meals. (9)

  1. Maintains hair health

Amaranth possesses lysine which is a rare amino acid that cannot be produced by the body. It raises the efficiency of calcium uptake and strengthens follicles which help to prevent baldness. The application of leaves juice after shampoo prevents the hair loss by strengthening hair.

Traditional uses

This herb is used by the practitioners to obstruct bleeding. Amaranth is used as an astringent and as treatment for diarrhea, mouth ulcers and excessive menstrual flow. Gargling with this herb assist to alleviate the pharynx tenderness and assist the mouth ulcer treatment. This herb if used externally helps to cure vaginal discharges, nose bleeding and other abrasions. Amaranth greens are used to enhance eyesight.


Raw Amaranth possesses some toxic or undesirable components so; Amaranth should be consumed by cooking. Children are intolerant to lysinuric protein which may cause stomach pain and diarrhea. Lysine increases the absorption of calcium in the body which leads to the damage causing amount of calcium in the body. So one should avoid huge intake of calcium and lysine at the same time. Pregnant or breast feeding women should avoid Amaranth in order to be in the safe side.

Nutritional Value

In 98 grams of Amaranth, 9.35 grams of protein is found along with 45.98 grams of Carbohydrate and 5.2 grams of fiber. This grain is rich in various minerals and vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, panthothenic acid, calcium, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and potassium. It also possess huge amount of lysine, which is not oftenly found in other grains.

Nutritional value of Amaranth
Serving Size: 1 Cup, 98 g

Calories 251 Kcal. Calories from Fat 35.01 Kcal.

Proximity Amount % DV
Water 184.89 g N/D
Energy 251 Kcal N/D
Energy 1055 kJ N/D
Protein 9.35 g 18.70%
Total Fat (lipid) 3.89 g 11.11%
Ash 1.89 g N/D
Carbohydrate 45.98 g 35.37%
Total dietary Fiber 5.2 g 13.68%
Starch 39.93 g  N/D

Minerals Amount % DV
Manganese, Mn 2.101 mg 91.35%
Iron, Fe 5.17 mg 64.63%
Phosphorus, P 364 mg 52.00%
Copper, Cu 0.367 mg 40.78%
Magnesium, Mg 160 mg 38.10%
Selenium, Se 13.5 µg 24.55%
Zinc, Zn 2.12 mg 19.27%
Calcium, Ca 116 mg 11.60%
Potassium, K 332 mg 7.06%
Sodium, Na 15 mg 1.00%

Vitamins Amount % DV
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.278 mg 21.38%
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid) 54 µg 13.50%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.054 mg 4.15%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.578 mg 3.61%
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.47 mg 3.13%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.037 mg 3.08%
Tocopherol, beta 0.93 mg N/D
Tocopherol, gamma 0.12 mg N/D
Tocopherol, delta 0.59 mg N/D

*Above mentioned Percent Daily Values (%DVs) are based on 2,000 calorie diet intake. Daily values (DVs) may be different depending upon your daily calorie needs. Mentioned values are recommended by a U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are not recommendations. Calculations are based on average age of 19 to 50 years and weighs 194 lbs.


Amaranth Facts

Amaranths are the broad-leaved plants which have rhombic or egg-shaped leaves which are smooth and covered in tiny hairs. The leaves possess prominent veins either green or red with long petioles. The plants yield red to purple flowers. Amaranth is grown as annual plant. Amaranth is also considered as Chinese spinach.

Name Amaranth
Scientific Name Amaranthus
Native Central America and South America but now commonly cultivated in the countries having warm climate.
Common/English Name Amarante, Alegría, Amarante-Grain Géante, Amarante-Grain, Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Amaranthus frumentaceus, Amaranto, Chua, Amaranthus leucocarpus, Huatlí, Huantli, Lady Bleeding, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Pilewort, Lovely Bleeding, Ramdana, Prince’s Feather, Rhamdana, Red Cockscomb, Velvet Flower
Name in Other Languages Hindi: Lal sag, Thotakura Chaulai
Konkani, Kannada, Sanskrit: Rajgiri
Kashmiri:  Mawal, Bustan afroz
Marathi: Shavrani math, Rajgira
Punjabi: Taj khurus
Urdu: Gulkesh
Tamil: Punkirai
Telegu: Chilaka thotakoora
Plant Growth Habit Annual, large, bushy
Growing Climate Warm
Soil Well-drained
Plant Size 90-130 cm
Lifespan One year
Stem Erect branch stems
Leaf Alternate, oblong-lanceolate pointed, green leaves, Length: 2-4 inches
Edible parts of the plants
  • Shoots and stem: Shoots and stems are added in soups or sauces as potherb or cook with other vegetables.
  • Leaves: The leaves of Amaranth may be eaten as spinach or vegetables. It possess rich amount of minerals and vitamins having a delicate taste.
  • Seeds: The seeds could be eaten raw or cooked. Amaranth seeds are the perfect substitute for cereals. It could be taken in form of popcorns or added to salads. It is also used like a grain.
  • Dye: The red pigment from Amaranth could be used as coloring for foodstuff and medicines.
Flowering Season Summer or Autumn (August and October)
Flower Pink-white
Seed Spherical or flattened lenticular, white, yellow, brown, pink, red, or black
  • Amaranthus caudatus
  • Amaranthus cruentus
  • Amaranthus hypochondriacus
  • Amaranthus paniculatus
  • Amaranthus spinosus
  • Amaranthus tricolor
  • Amaranthus vridis
Major Nutritions Manganese, Mn 2.101 mg (91.35%)
Iron, Fe 5.17 mg (64.63%)
Phosphorus, P 364 mg (52.00%)
Copper, Cu 0.367 mg (40.78%)
Magnesium, Mg 160 mg (38.10%)
Carbohydrate 45.98 g (35.37%)
Selenium, Se 13.5 µg (24.55%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.278 mg (21.38%)
Zinc, Zn 2.12 mg (19.27%)
Protein 9.35 g (18.70%)
Total dietary Fiber 5.2 g (13.68%)
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid) 54 µg (13.50%)
Calcium, Ca 116 mg (11.60%)
Total Fat (lipid) 3.89 g (11.11%)
Potassium, K 332 mg (7.06%)
Health Benefits
  • High protein
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Develop bones
  • Facilitates digestion
  • Heart health
  • Reduce varicose veins
  • Eye health
  • Prevent birth defects
  • Helps to lose weight
  • Maintains hair health
Calories in 1cup (98 gm) 251 Kcal.

Amaranth (Amaranthus)Scientific Classification

Scientific name Amaranthus
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheobionta
Order Caryophyllales
Family Amaranthaceae
Genus Amaranthus L.
Super division Spermatophyta
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Sub Class Caryophyllidae