Amaranth, known as Chaulai or Rajgira, in Hindi is one of the oldest foodgrains in India. Most of it is used during fasting time but given its health benefits for some time now, it is being used for daily diet as well. Amaranth is mixed with sugar and eaten by making laddoos and chikki.
What is Amaranth?
The seeds of Amaranth are small which are born by its plant. When these seeds are ripe, they are taken out by cutting the plants. The scientific name of amaranth is Amaranthus. It can be bought from any grocery store or supermarket as it is widely available. Chaulai is consumed in many forms like laddus of amaranth, chikki of amaranth, pudding of amaranth etc.
Benefits of Amaranth
For the digestive system-
Amaranth helps to strengthen the digestive system of the body and increase its activity because the fibres found in amaranth seeds activates the digestive enzymes of the body. Apart from this, amaranth also works to remove toxins from the body.
As a source of protein-
Amaranth contains all the 9 essential amino acids and a very rare amino acid called lysine is present in abundance. The main functions of lysine in the body are the absorption of calcium, the recovery of injuries, the manufacture of muscle proteins, production of antibodies, enzymes and hormones. At the same time, with the help of proteins present in amaranth, vitality and cells are also formed in the body.
To lose weight-
Amaranth works by effectively reducing the level of insulin in the body. Apart from this, it also makes a person feel full by releasing hormones. Therefore, amaranth is considered a good option for reducing weight.
A good amount of zinc is present in amaranth which works to further improve the immune system. Apart from this, vitamin-A is also found in amaranth which works to boost immunity in the body.
Amaranth is a calcium-rich food item that is an essential mineral for bones. Therefore, the consumption of amaranth helps in protecting against bone-related problems like osteoporosis etc. Apart from this, amaranth also works to repair and strengthen bones.
Amaranth has anti-inflammatory properties such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory which work to reduce the problems related to inflammation. Apart from this, amaranth also works to protect the cellular membrane from oxidative damage.
For the treatment of sugar-
Amaranth is also used for the treatment of sugar due to its ability to reduce insulin levels. Apart from this, it also helps in reducing the level of blood sugar in the body. Thus, amaranth is considered an important food item for diabetic patients.
To control cholesterol-
Fibres are present in abundance in amaranth which controls high cholesterol in the body and prevents hardening of the arteries. Therefore, the consumption of amaranth is considered a good option for people suffering from cholesterol problems.
Vitamins are found in abundance in amaranth which is very important for eye health. Therefore, amaranth helps in reducing the risks of eye infections, blemishes, degeneration and cataracts.
Amaranth contains an amino acid called lysine which usually cannot be made in the person's body. The special thing about this amino acid is that it works to strengthen the hair by improving the efficiency of calcium. As a result, there is less hair fall. Therefore, amaranth is considered good for hair.
Helpful in protecting against celiac-
Celiac is a disease related to anaemia which makes it difficult for the digestion of nutrients by causing disorders in the intestines but certain nutrients are found in amaranth which helps to cure these disorders. Therefore, amaranth is considered a successful treatment for celiac.
Uses of Amaranth
- Amaranth pudding is made and eaten.
- After roasting amaranth in ghee, it is boiled with milk and drunk.
- Amaranth is eaten by making laddus.
- People who eat fewer sweets can consume it in the form of khichdi.
- Amaranth is also eaten by making kheer.
- Roasted amaranth is mixed with sugar and eaten.
- Amaranth is also used in the form of semolina for Gujiya.
Side effects of Amaranth
- Excess consumption of amaranth can increase the risk of blood pressure and kidney stones. Therefore, it should not be consumed in excess.
- Fibre is abundant in amaranth. Therefore, excessive consumption of it can cause problems like flatulence and stomach cramps.
- Amaranth contains an amino acid called lysine but some children and people cannot tolerate leucine due to which they may complain of stomach pain.