Amaranth—an ancient grain used in a variety of foods such as soups, stews, sauces, porridges, cookies, bread, snack bars, cereal and more—may help prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and cancer, according to a review of existing research in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (2015;14(2):139-58).
Amaranth contains more protein than most cereal grains, as well as high amount of minerals, B vitamins and lipids, in addition to its high digestibility. The current review evaluated amaranth proteins for potential bioactive peptide. All 15 of the main proteins present in amaranth seed showed high occurrence frequencies of angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibitor peptides (which helps control blood pressure), as well as of dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitor, which can be used to treat type 2 diabetes. Other proteins showed antioxidative and glucose uptake-stimulating activity, and also antithrombotic and anticancer sequences.
The researchers found amaranth grain could be used as a functional food, or peptides derived from amaranth could be used as ingredients in functional foods to help prevent and reduce chronic diseases. Given that protein is one of the hottest ingredients right now and that it's predicted to be one of the top trends to shape the food industry in 2015, finding a clean-label, plant-based protein with all these health benefits is like finding gold.