Eating grains, such as amaranth, can have many great health benefits, including lower blood pressure and improved digestion.
However, if you have an amaranth intolerance or you eat too many grains, then this can lead to uncomfortable side effects, such as indigestion or stomach cramps
In this article, we take a closer look at the side effects of amaranth, and everything you need to know about this healthy grain.
What Is Amaranth Grain?
Amaranth is a so-called pseudocereal which is typically grown and harvested for its starchy seeds.
While amaranth isn’t a traditional cereal grain, such as rice or wheat, it has similar nutritional values and health benefits that can be compared to maize and rice.
Amaranth originally comes from Middle America where it was grown by the Aztecs as a food crop and for religious rituals.
However, cultivating amaranth was banned after the conquest of the Aztecs, and it was only grown as a weed since then.
This being said, grain amaranth is a more popular alternative to rice, maize, couscous and other grains today.
Side Effects Of Amaranth Grain
Amaranth has a wide variety of health benefits. It’s a non-toxic grain, so amaranth is safe to consume regularly.
However, nutritionists recommend that you shouldn’t eat raw amaranth as only boiling can release all of the grain’s nutrients.
In addition, amaranth is much easier to digest when it’s soft and edible.
This being said, the grain also has a number of disadvantages that you should be aware of before trying amaranth for the first time.
Amaranth Allergy Or Intolerance
Amaranth is naturally gluten-free but it can contain other proteins and compounds that some people may be allergic to.
For example, amaranth contains lysinuric protein which can cause stomach pain and diarrhea in people with a lysinuric protein intolerance.
This being said, even people who don’t have an amaranth grain intolerance should be careful with eating too much of this grain.
Amaranth improves the body’s ability to absorb calcium. If you eat calcium-heavy foods, then this can lead to a damaging amount of calcium in your body.
Amaranth Lowers Insulin Levels
Amaranth also has the ability to lower insulin levels in the body.
This could be potentially dangerous for anyone who has an insulin insufficiency or takes insulin medication, such as diabetics or anyone with hypoglycemic conditions.
Amaranth Can Interfere With Nutrient Absorption
Raw amaranth contains so-called anti-nutrients that interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients in our body. These anti-nutrients are tannins and saponins.
Saponins are common in a variety of plants, including amaranth seeds. Amaranth seeds are coated in saponins to protect them from animals and insects.
While saponins aren’t toxic, they can stop our body from absorbing certain nutrients which can lead to uncomfortable side effects.
As an example, saponins can affect your digestive system, causing bloating and indigestion.
Amaranth grains also contain tannins which also affect our body’s nutrient absorption. However, scientists believe that they don’t cause any gastrointestinal issues.
Saponins and tannins break down when the grain is soaked. This means, you can the effects of these anti-nutrients by soaking or boiling amaranth.
What Happens If You Eat Amaranth Every Day?
Amaranth contains a wide variety of health nutrients that are excellent for a balanced diet. However, it’s important to eat amaranth in reasonable amounts only.
This traditional grain also has a range of side effects that you should be aware of, including lowered insulin levels and greater calcium absorption.
You can avoid many of these side effects by preparing amaranth in the right way, such as boiling or soaking the grain before you eat it.
Can Amaranth Be Toxic?
Amaranth is not toxic. However, it is a good idea to avoid eating raw amaranth directly from agricultural fields as this can cause stomach upsets.
You should also avoid eating amaranth leaves from the plant as they contain oxalic acid which can be dangerous to people with kidney problems.
Health Benefits Of Amaranth Grain
While eating raw amaranth or too much amaranth is not good for your body, this grain has so many fantastic benefits.
Here are all the key health benefits that come with eating amaranth grain.
Amaranth Improves Heart Health
Amaranth has been shown to improve the body’s overall heart health for a variety of reasons.
Amaranth seeds contain plant sterols that help to reduce cholesterol.
In addition, these healthy grains are also rich in magnesium which lowers the risk of strokes and heart diseases.
Amaranth Contains Antioxidants
Amaranth can protect our skin cells and blood vessels against any free radicals that damage these parts of our body.
Amaranth contains a number of different antioxidants, including vanillic acid and gallic acid, that fights these free radicals and improves our overall health.
Amaranth Can Control Your Blood Pressure
Amaranth contains plenty of potassium and magnesium which both control and balance our blood pressure.
You will be able to notice the positive effects of amaranth when you serve it together with other healthy foods, such as avocados and fish.
Amaranth Can Help With Weight Loss
Amaranth is also a popular grain for anyone who wants to lose weight. These seeds are low in fat and calories, so you can eat a good amount of them without the extra calories.
Plus, amaranth is also rich in fiber and protein. The fiber in this grain slowly expands in your stomach, so you feel full a lot faster.
In addition, amaranth is a really versatile grain. This means that you can include it almost anywhere in your meals and snacks.
As it doesn’t have a very strong taste, you can just add a bit of seasoning to amaranth and enjoy it.
This being said, in order to lose a significant amount of weight, you will need to eat a balanced diet and include exercises into your daily routine.
Amaranth Improves Digestion
Amaranth grains contain a couple of different types of fiber that can support the health of your colon and aid the functions of the digestive tract.
Eating amaranth can help you digest easier as it creates a balanced level of healthy bacteria in your gut.
Amaranth Enhances The Look Of Your Skin
Amaranth seeds are rich in B vitamins and vitamin B. These healthy vitamins improve the look of your hair and skin.
Plus, amaranth also contains vitamin C which lifts your mood and reduces wrinkles.
Amaranth Soothes Heartburn
Thanks to the high amount of fiber in amaranth, it can help our entire digestive system stay in balance.
This includes less bloating and also a reduced amount of acid reflux as well as heartburn.
Amaranth Is Suitable For A Gluten-Free Diet
One of the biggest advantages of amaranth is that it is a gluten-free grain. This means that anyone with a gluten allergy or gluten intolerance can eat amaranth.
This also includes people with celiac disease who usually cannot tolerate barley, wheat and rye. However, they can often enjoy amaranth without any side effects.
While amaranth grains are a healthy alternative to rice and quinoa, they also have a number of different side effects, such as lowering insulin levels and reduced nutrient absorption.