Amaranth is one of the latest buzzwords in the world of superfoods and nutritional masterpieces, and the benefits cited have been impressive.
This is a grain that has been used for centuries by indigenous people as a food source, but it was not until recently that scientists began to take notice.
But can amaranth really help with IBS? We took a closer look at this ancient grain to find out if it could be beneficial for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
What Is Amaranth?
Amaranth is an annual plant native to Mexico and Central America. It is also known as “the quinoa of the Andes” because it is similar to quinoa in appearance and taste.
The seeds are rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and vitamins A, C, E, K, and B12.
Amaranth is gluten-free, low in fat, high in fiber, and contains no cholesterol or trans fats. Its carbohydrates come primarily from starch, which makes it easy to digest.
In fact, amaranth is considered to be a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.
What Is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition characterized by chronic abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by changes in bowel habits.
These symptoms may include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, or stomach cramps.
There are two types of IBS: IBS with diarrhea and IBS with constipation. Both types are equally debilitating and affect approximately 10% of Americans.
The exact cause of IBS remains unknown, although many factors likely contribute to its development. Some researchers believe that stress plays a role in triggering IBS.
Other experts think that certain foods trigger IBS, while others blame bacteria or parasites.
Still, other doctors believe that IBS is caused by a combination of these factors, and this is likely to be the most accurate answer.
Can Amaranth Be Used To Treat IBS?
Amaranth has long been touted as a great natural remedy for IBS. This is a highly nutritious grain that provides plenty of energy. It is packed with nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, selenium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E, K, and folic acid.
Amaranth’s high nutritional value makes it an excellent food choice for people who suffer from IBS. Because it is rich in fiber, amaranth helps keep your bowels regular and prevents constipation. It also promotes normal elimination, helping to eliminate toxins and waste matter from your body.
Amaranth has been used traditionally throughout history to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Native American tribes have long used amaranth to help prevent and heal stomach ailments.
Today, modern science confirms this traditional use, and many patients have claimed that amaranth is effective in treating IBS.
How Does Amaranth Work?
Amaranth works by providing relief from IBS symptoms, and it does so by soothing irritated intestines and promoting proper digestion, as well as containing high levels of fiber.
In fact, studies suggest that amaranth contains more than 50 different compounds that work together to ease IBS symptoms.
These compounds include saponins, which act as anti-inflammatory agents; flavonoids, which promote detoxification; and polysaccharides, which provide bulk to the stool.
All three of these components work together to improve bowel function and relieve IBS symptoms.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Amaranth?
As with any supplement, medication, or treatment, it is important to be aware of any potential side effects.
While there are no known negative side effects associated with using amaranth, it may interact with medications you take if you are currently taking them. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist before adding amaranth to your diet.
If you do decide to try amaranth, make sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. You should also consult your physician before beginning any new treatment plan.
What Are Some Other Health Benefits Of Amaranth?
Amaranth is not only beneficial for relieving IBS symptoms, but it is also helpful for improving overall health. Here are just a few other ways that amaranth can benefit your life:
It Can Help Prevent Cancer
Studies show that amaranth contains antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against free radical damage.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can harm cells and lead to cancerous growth. By protecting against free radical damage, amaranth reduces the risk of developing cancer.
It Can Improve Your Skin
Amaranth is loaded with vitamin A, which supports healthy skin. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, and it also helps maintain clear eyesight.
It Can Promote Weight Loss
Amaranth is a good source of protein, which means it will fill you up without filling you out.
Protein is also necessary for building muscle mass, and it also helps regulate blood sugar levels.
It Is An Excellent Source Of Fiber
As we mentioned, amaranth is high in fiber – and this is one of the elements that makes it so beneficial to those suffering from IBS.
Fiber is one of the most important parts of a balanced diet because it keeps your digestive system working properly.
Fiber plays a key role in aiding digestion, improving intestinal motility (the movement of food through the intestine), and helping remove toxins from the body.
It May Be Helpful For Diabetics
Some studies show that amaranth can also have a positive effect on those with diabetes, particularly type 2.
The fiber content of amaranth helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while its high protein content provides an excellent source of energy.
It Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
The rich magnesium and potassium content of amaranth means that it has often been sued to help reduce and manage high blood pressure, and balance these essential minerals in the body.
It Is A Great Source Of Iron
Iron deficiency is common among women who experience irregular periods. Studies suggest that eating foods like amaranth can help prevent iron deficiencies during menstruation.
Other Options For Managing IBS
In addition to amaranth, there are many options available for managing IBS. You may want to consider trying these natural remedies for IBS:
Drinking lemon juice has been shown to relieve nausea and vomiting associated with IBS. It has also been proven to help improve bowel function and increase peristalsis (movement of the intestines).
Apple Cider Vinegar
This popular home remedy is said to stimulate digestion, cleanse the colon, and ease cramps. Apple cider vinegar is also believed to boost immunity and fight infection to offer a boost to overall health.
Peppermint oil is a popular choice for treating stomach aches and other gastrointestinal problems, and peppermint oil is sometimes prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome.
Peppermint tea can also be very useful for alleviating digestive problems and discomfort.
Aloe vera is another popular herb that is thought to help treat IBS. Aloe vera contains compounds called polysaccharides, which are believed to promote regularity and strengthen the immune system.
Garlic is known to help fight off infections and boost the immune system. This herb is also believed to help relieve gas and bloating.
If you are suffering from IBS, the numerous benefits of amaranth could prove to be very useful. It is important to note that amaranth should never replace conventional treatments for IBS, but it may provide some relief when used as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
If you suffer from IBS, talk to your doctor about whether amaranth might work for you.