Learn more about Amaranth

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Learn more about Amaranth

Learn more about Amaranth

Learn more about Amaranth

Being an ancient high-yield, frost-resistant and short-rain crop with high protein content, having many medicinal properties, amaranth deserves to be included into the daily diet of every person on the planet. In terms of protein, amino acids, vitamins, macro-and microelements and biologically active substances collected from a unit of area amaranth outstrips traditional cereals and legumes. Addition of amaranth proteins into food makes human and animal nutrition complete, balanced and health-improving.

Due to its nutritional and medicinal properties, the UN Food Commission called amaranth the crop of the XXI century.

Today, in the U.S., Mexico and Peru they cultivate amaranth to gather seeds that are further processed into flour, groats and alcohol. Amaranth seeds are used to prepare dozens of useful and tasty foods for children and people in need of a diet.

amarant-kolosistyi

Today different countries successfully use amaranth to treat urogenital system inflammations in men and women, hemorrhoids, anemia, beriberi, prostration, diabetes, obesity, neurosis, various skin diseases and burns, stomatitis, periodontitis, gastric and duodenum ulcer atherosclerosis. Medications containing amaranth oil reduce cholesterol in blood, protect the body from radiation exposure effects and contribute to the resorption of malignant tumors due to squalene — a unique substance contained in this plant.

Amaranth herb that has an antibacterial effect is administered in the form of decoctions to treat colds. This plant facilitates incontinence in children, inflammation of urogenital system, anemia, vitamin deficiency, diabetes, obesity, neurosis, atherosclerosis and other diseases. In India, to protect fresh meat from spoiling, they peppered the latter with amaranth seeds. Today it is known that antibacterial and antimycotic effect of amaranth is associated with the presence of low molecular weight protein in amaranth seeds that inhibits bacterial growth.

Given high nutritional value of amaranth herbage, it should also be noted that this crop is characterized by high content of rutin, which is a phenol of plant origin. As it is known, rutin inhibits free radicals and is becoming more and more popular in the world as a substance that is used to produce drugs needed to treat radiation sickness.

Although amaranth is not applied in Ukrainian Pharmacopoeia, there are examples of its use in folk medicine in different countries as an anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, diuretic, antibacterial agent for the treatment of syphilis and cancer.

Pharmacological properties of amaranth oil became the basis for the study of its use in therapeutic dentistry in exudative and hyperemic and erosive and ulcerous forms of lichen planus, chronic recurrent aphthous stomatitis, oral mucosa injuries, desquamative glossitis, glossalgia and prosthetic stomatitis.

The experience gained by many farmers in Russia and Ukraine shows that amaranth potherb is an attractive daily nutrition for sheep, goats, calves, pigs and rabbits. In large farms, they add corn, sorghum, sunflower or cereals straw to the amaranth herbage and thus produce silage with high protein content (60%).

As a forage crop, the amaranth’s phytomass can be used fresh within two months and after drying or ensiling this period increases greatly.

Amaranth phytomass is easily processed into vitamin-grass meal (VGM) with 19-21% of protein content. Since amaranth phytomass doesn’t contain any practically significant amounts of anti-nutrients, VGM can be used to adjust feed in terms of protein content for animals of different age groups. Moreover addition of 5-15% of VGM into diet ensures significant increase in the productivity of farm animals at low cost.

Summary of products characteristics

It is deemed to be advantageous to use amaranth seeds to produce oil that is unique in its fatty acid composition and availability of a number of biologically active components.

front-transparent-togetherAmaranth oil is a pharmacological agent regulating cholesterol metabolism due to the presence of physiologically active components, namely: squalene (up to 8%), polyunsaturated fatty acids (up to 50% of linoleic acid), vitamin E (up to 1%), phospholipids (up to 10%) phytosterols (up to 2%), has innumerable medicinal properties, is a powerful tool for treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of various diseases. Exerting  effect on the entire body, amaranth oil normalizes metabolism and restores body’s defenses.

Oil obtained from amaranth seeds has burn and wound-healing effect, promotes healing of ulcers. This witness of a significant therapeutic anticancer effect of amaranth oil and makes it possible to use it not only in gastroenterology, but also for the prevention of other diseases. Furthermore, it was found that amaranth oil contains no cholesterol and can be used as a dietetic product. Regular consumption of amaranth oil slows down the aging process, improves memory. Moreover, amaranth oil is particularly effective in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Having squalene in its composition that is a natural acyclic triterpene with six double unsaturated bonds, which by the results of medical research was recognized as an important biologically active component that regulates lipid and steroid metabolism in human body and has antioxidant properties, it became possible to obtain dietary supplements that would contain all the beneficial components that are necessary to everyone.

Oil content in amaranth seed makes from 4.8 to 8.1%. By its composition, amaranth oil is close to corn or cotton-seed oil. The content of essential fatty acids in amaranth oil is as follows: linoleic acid — 37-62%, oleic acid — 19-35%, palmitic acid — 12-25% and stearic acid — 2.0-2.5%. This oil has already been used in Israel, the U.S., Germany and Japan hospitals as a medicinal plant. By its healing properties amaranth oil is not inferior to Sea buckthorn and Dog rose oil and in some cases even superior to the latter due to the content of tocopherol, squalene and other biologically active substances.

Amaranth oil comprises 81% of triglycerides. The content of unsaponifiables makes over than 8%, of sterol esters — about 5%, diglycerides — 1.8% and phospholipids — about 4%. The predominant sterol in amaranth oil is sitosterol (54% of the total sterol). Amaranth oil contains squalene — a biologically active substance belonging to a group of sterols, and is the main component of fraction of unsaponifiables that is contained in much larger quantities than in other vegetable oils.

Table. Fatty acid composition of oil contained in seeds of different crops

Fatty acidAmaranthWheatOatCornRiceOlives
Palmitic acid 16:0192120132211
Stearic acid 18:0422432
Oleic acid 18:1241537303976
Linoleic acid 18:250583750328
Alpha-linolenic acid 18:1344343
Total content777778837587

 

S30N50 squalene is a natural acyclic triterpene with six double bonds, namely: 2,6,10,15,19,23-hexamethyl — 2,6,10,14,18,22-tetracosahexane. Currently, pure form of squalene is obtained from deep-sea shark liver, where depending on the species of shark its content may be up to 2%.

Table. Squalene and unsaponifiables content in various kinds of oils

NameSqualene,%Unsaponifiables, %
Raw amaranth seeds oil6.968.84
Refined amaranth oil8.01
Olive oil0.1-0.70.61-0.65
Wheat germ oil0.14.78-4.98
Rice oil034.10-4.12
Cotton-seed oil0.010.60-0.69
Shark liver oil1-1.56.1-7.7

 

In human body squalene performs the role of a regulator of lipid and steroid metabolism, being the forerunner of a number of steroid hormones, cholesterol and vitamin D. Squalene is a mandatory component of sebaceous glands in human subcutaneous tissue and in case of its damage squalene concentration increases sharply, thus, witnessing of its protective role.

Squalene is a substance that captures oxygen and saturates our tissues and organs with it. Squalene is a potent antitumor agent that prevents destructive cancer effects of free radicals on a cell. Furthermore, squalene easily penetrates through the skin into the body and affects the entire body, and is a powerful immune stimulator.

front--transparentSome varieties of amaranth contain 8-10% of squalene. Squalene is an important component of cosmetics and is used in equipment. A real source of squalene is sharks’ and whales’ fat. Deep-water sharks require squalene to survive in conditions of severe hypoxia (low oxygen content) while swimming at great depths. And people need squalene as an anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial and fungicidal agent, as it has already been proven that oxygen deficiency and oxidative damage to cells are major causes of aging, as well as of the emergence and development of tumors. When penetrating into the human body, squalene rejuvenates cells and inhibits the growth and spread of malignant tumors. Besides, squalene is capable of increasing strength of the body’s immune system by several times and, thus, ensuring its resistance to various diseases.

Until recently, squalene has been obtained exclusively from deep-sea shark liver, which made it one of the most expensive and critical products. But the problem was not only in its expensiveness, but also in the fact that there was only 2% of squalene in shark’s liver, while amaranth oil contains from 8 to 10% of squalene!

Amaranth flour has a high nutritional value and unique biochemical composition (in particular, in terms of its protein content it is not inferior to durum wheat, it is superior to rice and corn, and as related to the balance of amino acids, it is superior to all vegetable proteins).

Amaranth seeds can be a valuable dietary supplement in the diet, covering protein deficiency and improving physiological and nutritional value of foods, as in the protein complex of amaranth lysine makes 11.7-16.6 g per 100 g of protein, which is significantly higher than in wheat, rice, pea and soy flour. Amaranth seeds contain up to 16% of protein (30% of which are essential amino acids), and 15% of fat (50% of which is ensured by Omega-6 – a polyunsaturated fatty acid) and nearly 9-11% of dietary fiber (cellulose).

Amaranth flour contains vitamin E that has very strong antioxidant effect on human body (in amaranth seeds vitamin E is found in absolutely rare tocotrienol form, antioxidant activity of which is by 45 times higher than the one of standard tocopherol form of vitamin E).

By enhancing the effectiveness of other antioxidants included into the amaranth flour (vitamins A and C, squalene) vitamin E exerts strong immunostimulanting, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effect, greatly contributes to the improvement of cardiovascular system (reduces cholesterol in blood, normalizes blood pressure and blood clotting, strengthens blood vessels), and also plays a key role in the reproductive system (provides beneficial effect on spermatogenesis and female gonads).

Vitamin A that is present in amaranth flour, as well as vitamin E and squalene, significantly strengthens the immune system, and in addition, exerts beneficial effects on visual organs and promotes efficient regeneration of damaged tissue of skin and mucous membranes.

Amaranth flour is also rich for vitamin D that enhances immunity and strengthens bone.

Vitamins B1 and B2 contained in amaranth flour are actively involved in natural synthesis of hemoglobin and sex hormones, play an important role in carbohydrate, fat, protein and energy metabolism, improve the nervous, muscular, endocrine and digestive systems, normalize the functioning of thyroid gland, help to strengthen immunity, improve vision and exert beneficial effect on skin, hair and nails.

Amaranth flour is characterized by rather high concentration of vitamin B4 (i.e. choline). This compound is a part of lecithin, which is a structural component of brain cells and nerve fibers. Choline exerts a beneficial effects on the central and peripheral nervous systems, improves memory and mental faculties, helps to reduce cholesterol in blood, and also participates in the natural synthesis of phospholipids, preventing liver hepatosis.

Flour derived from amaranth seeds is also rich for such macro-and micronutrients as iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and copper (it is worth noting that by concentration of iron, potassium and copper amaranth flour surpasses wheat flour by many times). Iron and copper play an important role in synthesis of hemoglobin, potassium and magnesium are needed for smooth operation of heart and blood vessels, phosphorus and calcium are required for normal functioning of musculoskeletal system, as well as for complete formation and efficient regeneration of bone and cartilage.

Amaranth flour is also a great source of phytosterols (i.e. “plant hormones”) that have immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, contributing to a reduction of “bad” cholesterol in blood  and reducing the risk of appearance of II type diabetes. In humans, phytosterols are actively involved in natural synthesis of various hormones, bile acids and provitamin D. In official medicine, phytosterols are often used as a part of prevention and treatment of prostate diseases, cancer and cardiovascular illnesses.

A very important property of amaranth flour is the absence of gluten in its composition (as opposed to wheat flour). This factor may be the basis for creating products for celiacs or people suffering from gluten enteropathy.

open-transparentRegular consumption of amaranth flour that enhances immunity, effectively cleansing the body from toxins, waste, radionuclides and heavy metals, can bring tangible benefits in the prevention and combination treatment of as follows:

  • Digestive system diseases (gastritis, gastroduodenitis, constipation, dysbacteriosis, gastric and duodenal ulcers, colitis, enterocolitis, fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis). Amaranth flour contains substances that normalize the acidity of gastric juice and enhance secretory function of stomach and intestines (i.e. vitamins B1 and B2), exert anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effect on mucous membranes of gastrointestinal tract, and hinder the development of inflammatory processes in liver, gall bladder and biliary tract (i.e. vitamins A, E, C, magnesium, squalene, Omega-6 linoleic acid, phytosterols). Also amaranth flour is known for its high content of choline, phospholipids and methionine i.e. substances that normalize bile secretion and prevent fatty liver. Furthermore, due to high content of cellulose amaranth flour helps to eliminate constipation, normalize the balance of healthful intestinal microflora and release gastrointestinal tract from harmful toxins.
  • Cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart failure, coronary heart disease, angina, thrombophlebitis, varicose veins, heart attack, stroke). Vitamin E, squalene, phospholipids, choline, phytosterols and magnesium found in amaranth flour contribute to the reduction of “bad” cholesterol in blood, thereby preventing the formation of dangerous atheromatous plaques on blood vessel walls. Vitamin E together with vitamin D, magnesium and squalene normalizes blood clotting, increases blood vessels elasticity and provides vasodilatory effect (thus, helping to reduce high blood pressure) and prevents the development of inflammatory processes in circulatory system. Potassium, calcium and phosphorus, amaranth flour is particularly rich for, play an important role in the regulation of myocardium (heart muscle) rhythm, strength and speed of contraction.

 

front-transparentAnemia (blood deficiency). Amaranth flour is a rich source of substances that are actively involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin, whose main function is to transport oxygen from lungs to the heart, brain and other organs of human body (these substances include iron, copper, vitamins C and B2 and lysine).

  • Obesity and diabetes mellitus. Cellulose contained in amaranth flour slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and fats, thereby contributing to the stabilization of blood sugar. Vitamin E, which is found in this herbal product, also reduces the level of insulin. Due to choline, phytosterols and squalene, amaranth flour effectively improves fat metabolism. And, in addition, amaranth flour contains such substances magnesium and tryptophan that play a direct role in the natural generation of insulin by pancreas .
  • Amaranth flour is the strongest source of natural immunostimulatory antioxidants (i.e. squalene, vitamins E, A and C) detoxifying free radicals and carcinogens i.e. the substances which can cause malignant tumors (as studies show, squalene that is found in amaranth flour demonstrates the greatest antitumor activity in oncological diseases of skin, breast and bowel). Cancer patients, undergoing cancer chemotherapy, are widely recommended to add amaranth flour and products made on its basis into the daily diet.

 

  • Female and male genital system diseases. Regular consumption of amaranth flour, which is rich for vitamin E that is necessary to provide complete functioning of sex glands, phytosterols, squalene and B vitamins that contribute to the normalization of hormonal balance, is very useful in erectile dysfunction (impotence), prostate diseases, male and female infertility and various gynecological diseases (cervical erosion, ovarian cysts, fibroids, inflammation of appendages, etc.). Inclusion of amaranth flour in meal will also bring tangible benefits to women experiencing pain during premenstrual or menopausal periods.
  • Traumatic injuries and skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema, herpes, dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, fungal skin diseases, ulcers, bedsores, burns, frostbite, radiation injury of skin). Amaranth flour contains a complex of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal biochemical components, as well as substances that activate skin regeneration and promote rapid healing of wounds (these substances include squalene, vitamins E and A, and vitamin C, lysine and copper that stimulate natural synthesis of collagen).

Amaranth flour is a useful product in the diet of children, pregnant and breast feeding women. Vitamin E, amaranth flour is an excellent source of which, is necessary for appropriate fetus development in pregnant woman. This substance plays a key role in protecting the fetus’s genetic apparatus of cells from mutations caused by the action of harmful radiation, free radicals and toxins. Moreover, vitamin E helps to stimulate lactation (the formation and accumulation of milk in the female breast during breastfeeding) and greatly improves the taste and quality of breast milk. Being full of all the necessary vitamins and minerals that are required for proper growth and development of the child’s body amaranth flour can be successfully used in babies’ food.

The range of using amaranth flour is as diverse as of wheat flour, and can completely replace the latter in bakery.

Amaranth flour is used to bake bread, muffins, cookies, etc., while amaranth cereals are used to cook porridge. Foods made ​​of wheat and amaranth flour mixture differ by higher quality, but due to its high price, amaranth seed is commonly used as an additive in bakery products, thereby enhancing their nutritional properties.

Pelletized amaranth cake (feed) contains up to 38% of balanced protein in terms of its amino acidic content with high content of lysine and istionin and can be effectively used as a feed additive, especially in livestock and poultry farming.

Table. Chemical composition of amaranth cake

NameSubstance content, %
Moisture6.89
Ashes4.61
Protein22.16
Fat8.87
Carbohydrate57.47

 

In amaranth seeds vitamins are mainly found in the seeds’ germ, to exclude riboflavin and thiamin that are present in much lower concentrations than in other cereals, such as wheat, rice and oats.

Table. Vitamins found in different types of crops

CompoundsAmaranthWheatRice (seeds)Oats
Thiamin0.100.540.340.67
Riboflavin0.210.120.070.18
Niacin1314.194.001.78
Phytin0.571.140.890.78-1.01

 

In amaranth seed lipids, carotenes amount to 0.45-1.12 mg, while phytin ratio is lower than that of wheat, rice and oats.

Amaranth seeds are characterized by high ash and minerals content. It has been found that the levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium in amaranth seeds are higher than in other cereals. They are mainly contained in the seed coat, to exclude phosphorus, which is predominantly localized in the germ. Iron and copper are also concentrated in the germ while calcium, sodium and manganese – in the seed coat.

Corn-amaranth oil (an oil, which is rich for squalene). To facilitate the promotion of the core product i.e. amaranth oil, it is possible to produce combination product i.e. corn-amaranth oil, which would be more affordable and more familiar to consumers, thereat preserving major useful properties of amaranth oil. For this purposes, it is planned to process corn seeds into such components as oil, flour, cake and bran.

In edible oil, the content of squalene (0.3 — 0.8%) is similar to the one of top quality olive oil. Squalene is capable of lowering cholesterol in serum and liver. It is due to squalene that this oil is also effective in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Amaranth seeds derivatives, such as meal, chopped seeds, oil (a mixture thereof, or each of them separately) can be  used to make baked goods, macaroni, confectionery products (e.g., as a filling for chocolates and caramels), For this purpose, they  add into the filler a required amount of flavoring and attracting agents, such as sugar (syrup), salt, flavorings, colorants and other necessary ingredients, thereby expanding the range of products. Furthermore, amaranth seeds derivatives can be used to make bracing and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical preparations. And for this purpose, they  add into the filler different nutritional and/or therapeutic agents, such, for example, as biologically active substances, vitamins, minerals, antibiotics, the substances with therapeutic, preventive, biostimulating effect, stir them until smooth, pack by weight or volume in portions (doses) and sell to the consumer via pharmacies.

Being an ancient high-yield, frost-resistant and short-rain crop with high protein content, having many medicinal properties, amaranth deserves to be included into the daily diet of every person on the planet. In terms of protein, amino acids, vitamins, macro-and microelements and biologically active substances collected from a unit of area amaranth outstrips traditional cereals and legumes. Addition of amaranth proteins into food makes human and animal nutrition complete, balanced and health-improving.

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