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for Life - Amaranth (Africa Spinach)
Amaranth grows all around the world in
tropical and subtropical environments. Several cultivars
of amaranth grown meant either for vegetable leaves or grain.
Health Benefits of Amaranth Greens
Amaratnh leaves are storehouse for many phytonutrients,
antioxidants, minerals and vitamins which contribute immensely
to health and wellness.
Its greens carry just 23 calories/100g. Amaranth leaves contain
only traces of fats and no cholesterol.
The leaves and stems carry a good amount of soluble and insoluble
dietary fibers. For the same reason, leafy greens including amaranth
often recommended by dieticians in the cholesterol controlling and
weight reduction programs.
Fresh 100 g of leaf amaranth contains 29% DRI of iron. Iron is
an essential trace element required by the human body for red blood
cell (RBC's) production and as a co-factor for the oxidation-reduction
enzyme, cytochrome oxidase during the cellular metabolism.
Fresh amaranth leaves are one of the richest sources of vitamin-C.
100 g of fresh leaves carry 43.3 mg or 70% of recommended daily
intake of this vitamin. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant
which plays a vital role in wound healing and help fight against
Amaranth has several vital antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-A
(2917 IU or over 97% of daily recommended levels per 100 g) and
flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin,
and ß-carotene. Together, these compounds help act as protective
scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen
species (ROS), and thereby play a healing role in aging and various
In addition, vitamin-A is essential for maintaining healthy mucosa
and skin, and is essential factor for ocular (eye) health. Consumption
of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids
are also known to help the body protect from lung and oral cavity
Amaranth greens perhaps have the highest concentrations of vitamin-K
of all the edible green-leafy vegetables. 100 g of fresh greens
provides 1140 µg or 950% of daily vitamin-K requirements.
Vitamin-K plays a vital role in strengthening the bone mass by promoting
osteoblastic activity in the bone cells. Additionally, it also has
an established role in patients with Alzheimer's disease by limiting
neuronal damage in the brain.
Amaranth greens also contains ample amounts of B-complex vitamins
such as folates, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin, thiamin (vitamin
B-1), and niacin. Folates rich diet help prevent neural tube defects
in the newborns.
Moreover, its leaves carry more potassium than that of in the spinach.
Potassium is an important component of the cell and body fluids
that helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Additionally, it has higher levels of other minerals than spinach
such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. The human
body uses manganese and copper as a co-factor for the antioxidant
enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is also required for the production
of red blood cells. Zinc is a co-factor for many enzymes that regulate
growth and development, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
In a way similar to other kinds of greens like spinach, kale, etc.,
amaranth in the diet helps prevent osteoporosis (weakness of bones),
Information sourced from www.nutrition-and-you.com