Amaranth Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  11 min read
amaranth benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: amaranth is good for / helps improve digestion, reduce inflammation

Longevity: amaranth is good for / helps boost immune system, lower cholesterol, optimize pH levels in body, prevent and fight cancer, regulate blood pressure

Appearance: amaranth is good for / helps anti-aging, prevent grey hair, weight loss

Amaranth is…

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ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: low, 1,644 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of cereals / 197 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of cereals

Carbon footprint: low, 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of cereals, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers

Destruction: low, amaranth production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc., amaranth grows quickly, resistance and tolerance to extreme conditions and poor soils, the ability to adapt to disadvantageous growing conditions such as low-nutrient soil, sand, a wide range of temperature, and irradiation, tolerant to different stresses such as drought

Amaranth is…

ANIMALS

Killed: none, amaranth production does not require any animals to be killed

Harmed: none, amaranth production does not require any animals to be used

Animals indirectly killed or harmed: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from amaranth production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Amaranth is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Amaranth is…

Where does most amaranth come from?

The world’s top amaranth exporting country is China, followed by Canada, Germany, Paraguay, Austria, Spain, Netherlands, India, USA, Mexico. In the United States, amaranth is grown in the upper Midwest, the Great Plains, and particularly in western Nebraska. 

How is amaranth used?

Amaranth can be eaten cooked or can be used to make popcorn, porridge, cereal, tikkis, fritters, falafel, tabbouleh, dal, pilaf, veggie burgers, pancakes, smoothies, soups, salads, desserts, crackers, energy bars, and more.

Is amaranth nutritious?

Yes, amaranth is high in protein, vitamins (especially Vitamin A), iron, dietary fiber, lysine, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin B-6, calcium and folate.

Amaranth to water ratio?

When cooking amaranth, use a ratio of 1.5 cups water to 1/2 cup amaranth. This should yield around 1.5 cups of amaranth once cooked.

How to cook amaranth?

Place amaranth and water into a small saucepan. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until water is absorbed in about 20 minutes.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

amaranth is gluten free.

Is amaranth gluten free? Yes, amaranth is gluten free. Amaranth does not contain gluten. Amaranth is a type of grain, pseudocereal, and a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

amaranth is not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is amaranth a common food allergen? No, amaranth is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to amaranth but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

amaranth has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does amaranth have a high or low water footprint? Amaranth has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of amaranth? It takes 1,644 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of cereals / 197 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cereals.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

amaranth has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does amaranth have a high or low carbon footprint? Amaranth has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of amaranth? It takes around 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of cereals, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors that may be included are…

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

amaranth is sustainable.

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Overall, is amaranth eco friendly? Is amaranth sustainable?

Amaranth production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

amaranth is vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Is amaranth vegan? Yes, amaranth is vegan. Amaranth is a pseudocereal and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

amaranth may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is amaranth a product with labor concerns? At this time there are no major concerns associated with amaranth production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

Sustainable crops for the 21st century

USDA FoodData Central, Amaranth

State of knowledge on amaranth grain: a comprehensive review

Science Direct- Amaranth Part 1—Sustainable Crop for the 21st Century: Food Properties and Nutraceuticals for Improving Human Health

Food Print: Amaranth

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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