Amaranth Millet

Amaranth is among the two pseudo cereals mainly consumed for their exceptional nutritional profile and high production sustainability in resource poor countries. It is morphologically different from other cereals and millets but similar in its high protein and mineral composition. Pseudo cereals are especially important for their high climate resistance and sustainability in increased salinity and even drought conditions.

Scientifically referred to as Amaranthus L. and locally referred in India as ragira, seel, ramdana. or cholai beej. This millet is light and puffy and can be both dark and light in color. Amaranth’s crop is known to be adaptable to various ecological zones and have favorable agronomic properties including being resistant to various climatic stressors. These versatile food grains are in important component of the food chain in developing countries to maintain food and nutrition security and serve as a nutrient vehicle for malnourished women and children.

Amaranth is gaining in popularity as a breakfast cereal and snack among health-conscious Indians. It is also regarded as a future promising crop to feed populations. Its many nutritional benefits include its high amino acid profile and significant concentration of good fatty acids and rich mineral and vitamin concentration. Its high fiber content is proven to aid in maintaining better gastrointestinal health and reducing the cholesterol levels in individuals

Nutritional composition of amaranth per 100g (IFCT 2017)

Nutrients Amounts
Energy 355 kcals
Protein 13.2 g
Fat 5.5 g
Fiber 7.4 g
Calcium 12 mg
Iron 8 mg

Energy: Amaranth is a high energy pseudo cereal, similar to major cereal grains like wheat and rice. It contains high amounts of starch showing high glycemic response in both flaked or roasted amaranth. This high energy cereal serves as an essential nutrient source for all ages. The natural fibre in it makes it good for the gut.

Proteins: Amaranth has a high protein content of 13%, making it amongst the richest sources of proteins for vegans. It contains a balanced set of amino acids, with significant amount of lysine that is otherwise absent in main cereal crops like rice and wheat.; lysine helps in the absorption of calcium, building muscles and producing energy. Its high protein content also helps build good hair health. Thus, with its high protein quality, amaranth is considered a complete source of protein when consumed with another cereal grain.

Fats: Amaranth seeds are high in unsaturated fatty acids displaying cholesterol lowering properties and anti- hypertensive affects. Amaranth oil contains approximately 77 % unsaturated fatty acids and is high in linoleic acid. The high concentration of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds play a vital role in prevention of many cardiovascular diseases in individuals.

Vitamins and minerals: Amaranth seeds are regarded as a storehouse of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and carotene. These vitamins are vital components in supporting regular body functions. Being a rich dietary source of phytosterols, it reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Amaranth contains an exceptionally significant amounts of essential minerals including iron, zinc and calcium and low phytate levels supports better absorption and utilization of these minerals.

Amaranth has been used as an alternative to commonly consumed grains in development of food products aiming to provide health benefits to populations of all ages. Its high bioactive compounds are advantageous in reducing inflammation in disease conditions and also support healthy growth and development in children. Being full of antioxidants, it helps in fighting free radicals, inflammation and also has anti-hypertensive properties. Hence it is a great anti-ageing grain.