What is amaranth greens?
Amaranth greens are on Dr Sebi’s food list (Dr Sebi’s nutritional guide). It is an alkaline vegetable which you will learn more about here.
Amaranth greens are leafy vegetables that come from the amaranth plant. The leaves are a vibrant green color and have a slightly bitter taste. Amaranth greens are highly nutritious and are a good source of folate, calcium, and iron.
Amaranth greens are commonly used in Mediterranean and African cuisines and can be eaten raw or cooked. They are often used in salads, soups, stews, and stir-fries. The leaves can be sautéed with onion and avocado oil or added to pasta dishes. The stems of the plant can also be eaten and are often pickled or used in recipes that call for celery.
Amaranth greens are sometimes confused with amaranth grains, which are a type of pseudo-cereal that can be cooked like rice or used in flour for baking. While both the greens and grains come from the amaranth plant, they are two different parts of the plant and have different culinary uses.
Scientific name: Amaranthus spp.
Other names: Chinese spinach, Hinn choy, Yin tsoi, Callaloo, Pigweed, Bayam, Tampala
Habitat: Amaranth greens have been grown in many regions around the world, including Asia, Africa and Central and South America. It has become naturalized in temperate regions, including North America.
Description: Amaranth greens are edible leaves of the amaranth plant. They are deep green in color, with a slight purplish hue, and have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor. The leaves are large and oval in shape, and the stems are thick and fibrous.
Status: Amaranth greens are natural, and are not hybrids or genetically modified organisms (GMO).
Species of amaranth
Known species of amaranth greens
There are several species of amaranth greens that are commonly consumed around the world. Here are a few examples:
- Amaranthus tricolor: Also known as Chinese spinach or callaloo, this species has green leaves with red or purple veins and is commonly used in Caribbean and Asian cuisine.
- Amaranthus dubius: This species is also known as red spinach or spleen amaranth and is native to Africa. It has green leaves with red stems and is often used in African and Indian dishes.
- Amaranthus cruentus: This species is known for its edible grains, but the leaves are also consumed in some cultures. It has green leaves with red veins and is commonly found in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.
- Amaranthus hybridus: Also known as smooth amaranth, this species has green leaves and is commonly used in African and Asian dishes.
These are just a few examples of the many species of amaranth greens that exist. Different varieties may have slightly different flavor profiles and nutritional profiles, but they are all generally considered to be highly nutritious leafy greens.
Wild species of amaranth greens
There are many wild species of amaranth greens that grow throughout the world. Some of these species have been cultivated for their edible leaves and grains, while others are considered weeds or invasive species.
Here are a few examples of wild species of amaranth greens:
- Amaranthus retroflexus: Also known as redroot pigweed, this species is native to North America but is considered a weed in many areas. It has green leaves with red stems and can be used in salads or cooked like spinach.
- Amaranthus viridis: Also known as slender amaranth or slim amaranth, this species is native to tropical regions of the Americas but has been introduced to other areas. It has small, tender leaves that are often used in salads or stir-fries.
- Amaranthus blitoides: Also known as mat amaranth, this species is native to North America but has spread to other areas. It has small, round leaves that are edible and can be used in salads or cooked like spinach.
- Amaranthus caudatus: Also known as love-lies-bleeding, this species is native to the Andes region of South America but has been introduced to other areas. It has long, trailing red flowers that can be used in floral arrangements, and the leaves and grains are edible.
There are many other species of wild amaranth greens, each with its own unique characteristics and culinary uses.
Benefits of amaranth greens
Mineral Content: Amaranth greens are a good source of essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. They also contain a variety of other trace minerals, including manganese, selenium, copper and sodium.
Medicinal Value: Amaranth greens are believed to have a variety of medicinal benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. They are also believed to aid in digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve vision and skin health.
Culinary Use: Amaranth greens can be eaten raw or cooked, and are often used in soups, stir-fries, salads and other dishes. They can also be steamed, boiled, sautéed or baked.
A number of studies have been conducted on the nutritional and medicinal benefits of amaranth greens. Studies have shown that they are a good source of essential minerals and vitamins, and that they may have a range of health benefits.
Amaranth greens have been the subject of numerous studies in recent years, as researchers have become increasingly interested in their potential health benefits. Here are a few examples of the research that has been conducted on amaranth greens:
- Nutritional content: Several studies have found that amaranth greens are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. For example, one study found that amaranth greens were a good source of antioxidants and had higher levels of certain minerals than other leafy greens like spinach and lettuce.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Some studies have suggested that amaranth greens may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could potentially help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. One study found that amaranth greens had anti-inflammatory effects in the gut of rats with colitis.
- Blood sugar control: There is some evidence to suggest that amaranth greens may be helpful for managing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. For example, one study found that consuming amaranth greens reduced blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes.
- Cardiovascular health: Some studies have suggested that consuming amaranth greens may have benefits for cardiovascular health. For example, one study found that amaranth greens reduced blood pressure in rats with hypertension.
These are just a few examples of the research that has been conducted on amaranth greens. This available evidence suggests that they are a nutritious and healthful addition to the diet.
Amaranth greens can be eaten in a variety of ways. Some popular recipes include amaranth green sauté, amaranth green stir-fry, amaranth green soup and amaranth green salad.
Amaranth and Vegetable Stir-Fry
1 cup amaranth grains
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook amaranth grains according to package instructions.
2. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
3. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the cooked amaranth grains to the skillet and stir to combine.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve hot.
Amaranth and Spinach Salad
1 cup amaranth leaves, chopped
2 cups lettuce leaves, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine the amaranth leaves, lettuce leaves, avocado, cucumber, and red bell pepper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
3. Serve chilled.
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7. Choi, U. K., Lee, O. H., & Yim, J. H. (2014). Anti-inflammatory effects of aqueous extract of Amaranthus viridis L. in an in vitro model of colorectal cancer. Journal of Medicinal Food, 17(7), 814-820. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.3018
8. Arora, S., Taneja, P., & Singh, R. (2016). Amaranth supplementation: Effect on glycemic control and insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 96(10), 3502-3506. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7627
9. García-Lara, S., Hidalgo, M., Rozada, R., & Villarreal, M. L. (2015). Amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) and its impact as a functional food ingredient on plasma lipids and antioxidant capacity in rats with induced hypercholesterolemia. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 70(4), 403-409. doi: 10.1007/s11130-015-0518-x