17 Juni 2010

Nutritional value of Amaranth

Amaranth greens, also called Chinese spinach, hinn choy or yin tsoi (simplified Chinese: 苋菜; traditional Chinese: 莧菜; pinyin: xiàncài); callaloo, dhantinasoppu (Kannada); తోటకూర (Telugu); Rajgira (Marathi); முளைக் கீரை (Tamil), cheera ചീര (Malayalam); bayam (Indonesian); phak khom ผักโขม (Thai); tampala, or quelite, (Oriya); Khada Saga, are a common leaf vegetable throughout the tropics and in many warm temperate regions. It is very popular in India. They are a very good source of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, and folate, and dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Because of its valuable nutrition, some farmers grow amaranth today. However their moderately high content of oxalic acid can inhibit the absorption of calcium and zinc, and also indicates that they should be eaten with caution under consultation with healthcare providers by people with kidney disorders, gout, or rheumatoid arthritis, concerning mineral absorption and supplementation.[citation needed] Reheating cooked amaranth greens is often discouraged, particularly for consumption by small children, as the nitrates in the leaves can be converted to nitrites, similarly to spinach.

Amaranth seeds, like buckwheat and quinoa, contain protein that is unusually complete for plant sources. Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids, and thus different sources of protein must be used.

Its seeds have a protein content greater than that of wheat. However, unlike that found in true grains (i.e. from grass seeds) its protein is not of the problematical type known as gluten.

Several studies have shown that like oats, amaranth seed or oil may be of benefit for those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease; regular consumption reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while improving antioxidant status and some immune parameters.While the active ingredient in oats appears to be water-soluble fiber, amaranth appears to lower cholesterol via its content of plant stanols and squalene.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth

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