Category Archives: Nutrition

Anise

Benefits of Anise Oil

Anise oil has a licorice-flavored taste that offers body-wide benefits that were used by many ancient civilizations. Many of today’s pharmaceuticals take advantage of anise’s benefits by adding this herb to some drugs, like cough syrup and throat medications. These drugs are neither all natural nor safe according to pharmaceuticals. It needs to be used in its natural form for maximum benefits, or as anise oil.

The anise essential oil originally came from Asia and is prevalent in Mediterranean nations. Spain, France and Russia also produce it as well as being found in the wild of other countries. The Romans originally introduced anise to Europe and early settlers brought it to North America. One primary use was to promote digestive health and was often added with cumin and fennel in ancient Rome to a cake that was eaten after meals. The Egyptians used the herb as an ingredient in breads. There are many uses for anise oil that range from cooking to flavorings to medications.

Some uses of anise oil include:

  • Narcotic and sedative as easing epileptic and hysteric episodes
  • Pain reliever for relief of arthritic pain
  • Antiseptic to clean wounds and help protect against infections
  • Decongestant/expectorant to help eliminate congestion in the respiratory tract
  • Flavoring agent for food and beverages and as an ingredient in salads and soups
  • Food processing in meats like pepperoni, pizza toppings, Italian sausage and
    similar food products
  • Breast milk production as it has phytoestrogenic properties
  • Libido enhancer as a sex drive enhancer and as an aphrodisiac (in ancient times)
  • Natural head lice remover as a safer alternative to chemical lice treatments
  • Insecticide as it is toxic to insects
  • For oral health when added to toothpastes, mouthwashes and syrups
  • Fragrance when added to soaps, detergents, lotions and skin cream

Anise oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, stimulant and expectorant properties and is added to medicines, such as cough syrups and lozenges. The antibacterial properties of this oil are useful against bacterial strains like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, pyogenes, Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium ovis. It is useful against Candida albicans and fungal strains like Alternaria, Aspergilus, Cladosporium, Fusarium and Penicillin. Relieving indigestion, flatulence and acute chest pains are also benefits of anise oil as well as spasms, cramps, diarrhea, convulsions, muscle pain, acute chest pain and will also aid in promoting the elimination of excess gas in the digestive system. The oil will help to loosen mucus or phlegm and help ease breathing troubles as asthma and other respiratory issues.

Five drops of anise oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of almond oil that is massaged onto your stomach will relieve stomach cramps, mixing 1 to 2 drops with warm water to gargle with will freshen breath, using 2 to 3 drops in a diffuser helps respiratory conditions, a couple drops in a carrier oil and massaged in the affected area will ease menstrual pain. Anise oil will also help treat hiccups and treat nausea, migraine and vertigo.

Anise oil is deemed generally safe for human consumption and does not pose a threat when it is consumed or used in moderation. In heavy doses it can aggravate certain type of cancers. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from its use. Avoid administering the oil directly on the delicate skin of infants and young children. Any side effect might be an allergic reaction, mouth or lip inflammation or nausea, vomiting or seizures. If any of these occur, call your doctor immediately.

Dr Fredda Branyon

burdock_plant

What’s the Deal With Burdock Root

Arctium, or better known as burdock, is a flowering plant that has been a major part of various cultures for more than hundreds of years. Its root is known in Japan as gobo and used in their cuisine. The North America Iroquois tribe dried and preserved the root for food during the winter.

The burdock seeds were used in Ancient China to treat various conditions such as cough, fever, sore throat, arthritis and various digestive diseases.

burdock_plantBurdock can reach a height between 1 and 2 meters when fully grown and produces purple flowers that extend away from its bracts that bloom between June and October. This plant is native throughout Europe and Asia and introduced in America during the 1600’s by English settlers and noted by English traveler John Josselyn in 1672. At this period of time the settlers introduced burdock to the Iroquois and it then also became a part of their culture.

The catalyst for the invention of Velcro was burdock. Swiss engineer George de Mestral was hiking in the Jura Mountains in Switzerland in 1941 when he noticed his pants and his dog’s fur became covered in burdock seeds. His curiosity was peaked as to how these seeds stuck to his pants. He discovered they were covered in small interlocking hooks that can cling to fabric, the idea that he patented and eventually became known as Velcro. This product is still used in countless products around the world.

burdock_velcroSome health benefits are blood pressure maintenance, relief from digestive problems, liver detoxification and maintaining a healthy immune system.

Some different uses of burdock root are to use them in stir fry, eat them raw for a quick and nutritious snack, use them in broth for vegetable soups and pickle them in apple cider vinegar to preserve the shelf life. Burdock root can also help to maintain healthy skin and hair. It contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can provide relief for conditions like psoriasis, eczema, skin ulcers and acne and can also help prevent hair loss by treating dandruff and maintaining a healthy scalp.

You can use burdock in a multitude of dishes, but it is known mostly as an ingredient for tea. Use burdock as an essential oil with the benefits mostly associated with the skin and scalp. Burdock oil contains vitamin A and various essential fatty acids that help to nourish your scalp and promotes healthy hair growth. Relief from infections and irritations caused by dandruff can also be provided by burdock oil as it helps to keep sebaceous glands and hair follicles healthy.

There are some side effects that you should be aware of. There is a small chance that it may increase your blood sugar levels, so it’s best to avoid it and use other healthy alternatives instead if you are diabetic. You should be sure to check for any topical irritations by performing a skin patch test on your arm. Consult with your doctor before using this oil to avoid any other possible health complications.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Omega 3 Capsule

Omega-3’s Return on Investment

According to a recent European study, young people have an inexpensive and bullet shot at preventing the development of high blood pressure by increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acid, a high-octane nutrient. This study was presented at the American Heart Association’s 2016 Scientific Session. This study involved measuring the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood of 2,036 young and healthy adults.

They first assessed each subject’s blood pressure and found that those with the most omega-3s in their blood had the lowest systolic blood pressure. Those with the lowest amount in their blood had the highest diastolic blood pressure.

A researcher at the University of Zurich and Cantonal Hospital of Baden in Switzerland, Dr. Mark Filipovic, said that even a reduction in blood pressure as little as 5mm Hg could prevent the number of strokes and heart-related events people experience. Less than 1 gram of omega-3 fats could benefit people who already suffer from hypertension, according to a report from another recent study. Just by taking a single 3-ounce serving of wild-caught Alaskan salmon you will receive this amount. A source of Krill oil has proven the best source.

By taking omega-3 supplements it can increase muscle function in older women. In a study each participant had her muscle size measured using MRI and muscle function testing with a dynamometer before and after the program began. The results were that resistance training increased their muscle function, size and quality in all the individuals. The women in the placebo group exercise training resulted in an average strength increase of 16%, but when the exercises were combined with an intake of fish oil, that improvement increased to an average of 34%.

By improved skeletal muscle improvement it could mean regaining the ability to rise from a chair or toilet, climb stairs and even regaining or maintaining independence. Losing their independence is probably the biggest fear by the elderly today. By having decreased function in older people it means their quality of life begins to diminish. The percentage of people who reach age 65 is projected to increase from 17% now to 23% by 2035, and are encouraging people to develop effective strategies for maintaining health well before that time is crucial. Companies are developing more omega-3 rich products to benefit brain health, cortisol control, ADHD mitigation, sports nutrition and stress management.

Lecithin contains choline that is good for your brain health of which ¾’s is phosphatidylcholine (PC). It was recently reported by the European Union (EU) that the savings for health care costs realized by using omega-3 food supplements to reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) related events, are currently estimated at 38.4 million events throughout the EU. It is estimated by scientists that the relative risk among adults aged 55 and over is reduced by 4.9% given the use of 1,000 mg of omega-3 EPA+DHA supplements on a daily basis.

The shortage of marine-based omega-3 fatty acids is a health concern for higher risk of chronic disease worldwide. Krill oil is an ideal choice for raising the Omega-3 index because its omega-3’s are mostly bound to phospholipids, which enhance cellular uptake and carry EPA and DHA into the blood more efficiently. Omega-3s have a 230% return on investment! So why would we not take advantage of Alaskan salmon?

Dr Fredda Branyon

iced coffee 1

Hot vs. Iced Coffee: Is One Better Than the Other?

Did you know over half of Americans say they prefer hot coffee? Only 9 percent favor iced, and 19 percent say it depends on the season. But what if the temperature of your coffee plays a role in its nutritional profile? In this blog post, we will determine whether iced or hot brewed coffee is superior.

How Does Coffee Work? 

Coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine from an average cup of coffee. In approximately 45 minutes after consumption, this plant-based stimulant will bind itself to the adenosine receptors and speed up cell activity. As a result, the consumer feels awake, alert, and more ready for long days and nights. Caffeine also increases heart rate, discharges sugar into the bloodstream, and opens up breathing tubes. These effects lead to improved energy despite lack of sleep, as well as promote an overall positive mood.

What Is the Difference Between Iced and Hot Coffee?

Most people assume that hot brew is more effective than its cold or iced variety. In truth, if both iced and hot coffee have similar doses of caffeine, they will have the same effect on the mind and body.

What Are the Benefits of Drinking Coffee?

Whether you prefer a hot cup of coffee or an iced blend, caffeine may provide the following health benefits:

  • Cut muscle pain
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Protect against liver cirrhosis
  • Decrease risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Protection against Parkinson’s disease
  • Reduce suicide risk and depression
  • Reduce chances of contracting heart disease
  • Have stronger DNA
  • Lower risk of multiple sclerosis
  • Minimize colorectal cancer risk

There are several other benefits to drinking coffee. A study claims that caffeine could extend lifespans and delay age-related pathology. Further research claims that drinking coffee helps co-workers get along in the office.

Is Iced Coffee Better?

iced coffee 2

Iced coffee, however, is slightly better for your health. Hot coffee is three times more acidic than cold coffee; and the more acidic a drink is, the worse it is for your digestive system. This finding explains why iced coffee causes less tension in a person’s stomach than a hot cup. The typically alkaline environment of iced coffee not only has less acid, but it also has more flavor. Oils in coffee beans oxidize quicker at elevated temperatures. As a result, if you brew coffee grounds with hot or boiling water, oils full of acidic compounds will be released and give coffee a much bitter taste.

Conclusion

Due to its low acidity and less bitter taste, iced coffee is chemically superior to its hot counterpart. So, to everyone loyal to hot joes: Order yourself an energizing iced coffee the next time you need a caffeine fix! You can even become your own coffee connoisseur and make cold brew at home. Brewing coffee only requires a pitcher or a mason jar, and a strainer to sift the coffee grounds. Not only will you have delicious coffee in the comfort of your home, but you will also save money by avoiding a trip to Starbucks.

potatoes

Relationship of Brown Toast & Potatoes to Cancer

potatoes

According to the U.K. government scientists, you should cook your toast and potatoes to a golden color, not browned, in order to reduce the intake of a chemical that may increase the chance of having cancer.  Acrylamide is a natural byproduct of the cooking process and not deliberately added to food. Acrylamide is formed when you heat certain foods, such as starch foods like potatoes and root vegetables, as reported by professor Guy Poppy, chief scientific adviser to the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency.

These foods form acrylamide when cooked to above 120 degrees.  Other foods that have high levels of acrylamide are potato chips, cakes, cookies, cereals and some coffee.  Acrylamide exposure to cancer has been linked through studies in rats, according to the National Cancer Institute. The National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have evidence from human studies that acrylamide is a “probably human carcinogen.”

According to Diane Benford, head of risk assessment at the Food Standards Agency, the current levels of acrylamide that are found in our present diet are higher than they are comfortable with.  They are encouraging the industry to try to reduce acrylamide levels in processed foods and wish to raise the awareness among consumers of the things they could do to help reduce their exposure to acrylamide in food.

Some easy steps we can all take to reduce acrylamide at home are:

  • Go for the golden yellow color or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods.
  • Check the package for cooking instructions and follow them carefully.
  • Don’t keep raw potatoes in the fridge if you are going to roast or fry them as this can increase the overall acrylamide levels.  Cool instead in a dark, cool place at temperatures above 42 degrees.
  • Keep a varied and balanced diet that includes at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day.

By re-evaluating the way we cook our starchy foods it just might prevent our body from being exposed to the increased risk of cancer.  We also want to be reminded that starchy foods are carbohydrates that convert to sugar….the food cancer loves most.

Dr Fredda Branyon

ice_cream

Is Ben & Jerry’s Protecting the Environment?

ice_cream

Their ice cream sure is good but are they contributing to destroying our environment?  This ice cream icon started in Vermont in 1978 and claims to be as devoted to stewardship to the environment as it is to creating new ice cream flavors.  The friendly image propelled the brand into one of Unilever’s (their corporate owner) rising stars with revenues close to $600 million a year and growing.  They are, like many other corporate giants, actively supporting industrial dairy which is so damaging to the environment, the cows and the farmers that this system is destined to collapse.

They are still clinging to its Vermont heritage but Vermont is no longer home to an abundance of grazing cows producing rich, creamy milk that is used to make their premium ice cream. CAFO’s are becoming the norm and farmers are forced to grow their herds and increase milk production using artificial methods like feeding cows an unnatural amount of grain-based food, 24 hour confinement and increased number of milkings per day. Because of the price of milk now, the average-sized dairy farm in Vermont is operating at a loss of $100,000 a year. Farmers are only getting about $14 for 11.6 gallons of milk that costs them about $22 to produce. There is currently a petition by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to encourage Ben & Jerry’s to stop defrauding consumers and convert to organic.

The industrial dairy industry dumped 43 million gallons of milk in 2016 due to a massive milk glut.  This was the result of a 2014 spike in milk prices that encouraged many dairy farmers to add more cows to their farms.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data showed dairy cows increased by 40,000 in 2016 with a 1.4% increase in production per cow. This resulted in milk prices declining 22% to $16.30 with too much milk and nowhere to sell it.

Now we are at a point where dairy cows are dying at an alarming rate by suffering from burnout and disease. The U.S. dairy herds mortality rates are more than 10% a year, which is up from 3.8% in 2002.

The FDA has authority to require milk to be tested if evidence exists that drug residues may be in the milk supply.  Some dairy farms have been stopped by the FDA from selling their cattle for meat after drug residue violations; however, this does not typically extend to the milk.

Now the question is if Ben & Jerry’s will support farming the natural way!  Grass-fed dairy is a viable solution to the problems of industrial dairy.

  • When a cow eats corn and grain the pH of the rumen becomes acidic and destroys some flora and increases systemic inflammation that will inevitably shorten the cow’s lifespan and increases the risk of infection.
  • By raising grass-fed cows it requires fewer resources than growing grain crops to feed CAFO cows as well as fewer chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • A 100% grass fed farm spreads manure over pastures naturally as the cows roam, and there is no need for environmentally destructive manure lagoons.
  • Grass-fed dairy farming works best with small herds and then helps also to support local economies and small farmers who can then claim a premium price for their premium dairy products.  

More than 200 dairy farms in Vermont have transitioned to organic and are returning their cows to a grass-based diet.  Purchasing your grass-fed milk and other foods from a local organic farm or co-op is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting high-quality food.  Try making your own grass-fed milk ice cream at home. The Campaign for Real Milk website can help you to locate a raw, grass-fed milk source near you.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Alcohol_and_Caffeine_Mixed

Alcohol, Caffeine & A-fib!

Alcohol, Caffeine

And exactly how do alcohol and caffeine affect someone with A-fib?  Danielle Dresden published an article that was reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, CNE, COI, on this exact subject.  Those suffering from A-fib describe it as feeling like their heart could flop out of their chests while some feel about to pass out.  Still, others feel absolutely nothing at all.

The most common form of heart arrhythmia is called atrial fibrillation (A-fib), or irregular heartbeat that affects 2.7-6.1 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Appearing with a variety of symptoms, they do all have the same cause of irregular and rapid beating of the upper chambers of the heart. These episodes can be unsettling and uncomfortable but aren’t usually life-threatening. If untreated though, A-fib can lead to dangerous health conditions.

Those diagnosed with A-fib are about 5X more likely to have a stroke that can lead to permanent disability or death as it can weaken the heart muscles over time, which triples the risk of heart failure.  The risk of dementia also doubles.

Alcohol’s impact on the heart is a subject of ongoing discussion in the medical field.  Researchers believe it can have both positive and negative impacts. A positive with moderate drinking include raising levels of the “good” cholesterol, preventing platelets from forming blood clots and reducing the buildup of plaque in the circulatory system.

Negative effects of alcohol are high blood pressure, heart failure, weight gain leading to high blood pressure and enlarged heart.

Caffeine has many effects on the human body, according to the American Heart Association, but no links have been confirmed between caffeine intake and heart disease.  There is no link found between caffeine and arrhythmia, but reports indicate that drinking more than 5 cups of coffee each day can raise blood pressure. Many health experts believe there is a connection between caffeine, alcohol and A-fib that can trigger an attack.  Researchers are currently investigating the specific causes.

The thought is divided on whether or not people with A-fib can consume alcohol or caffeine safely.  The American Heart Association advises those with A-fib to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine.  A recommended general heart health guideline sets the limits of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.  One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, according to the American Heart Association.  Other risk factors are age, obesity, genetics, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and European ancestry. There is a closer connection between obstructive sleep apnea and A-fib than any other risk factor.  Further potential causes include: certain medical procedures, emotional stress, physical stress, dehydration, sleep, hormones and exercise.

A heart-healthy diet can help those with A-fib, such as eating a variety of fruits, veggies and whole grains, protein sources as legumes, fish and poultry, intake of omega-3 as salmon, herring or trout, reducing sodium, avoiding saturated fats and foods that contain them, limiting oil, avoiding sugary beverages and not smoking and/or being subjected to secondhand smoke. Exercising regularly is essential for a healthy heart function. A very basic level of activity as 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise 5 days a week and muscle-strengthening activities twice a week is recommended by the American Heart Association.

Dr Fredda Branyon

7 Worst Fruits and Veggies for Your Waistline

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but did you know some fruits are chock-full of sugar? How about how some vegetables can go straight to your hips? This seems like nature’s evil joke, tricking us into believing that we are eating healthy when really, we are consuming too much sugar, starch, and carbohydrates.

But before you swear off citrus fruits and leafy greens, keep in mind that not all crops are bad for your fitness goals. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy BMI, here are seven fruits and veggies you should limit:


1. Potatoes

The very-much-loved potato is possibly the worst vegetable if you are watching your weight. As delicious and versatile potatoes may be, they are high in starch and carbohydrates. Excessive consumption of french fries, hash browns, and all potato-rich dishes can lead to weight gain over time.

2. Avocados

This creamy addition to any meal is America’s new favorite fruit. However, large avocados contain a whopping 332 calories. If you are trying to reach a healthier weight, this is one to avoid.

3. Beans and legumes

A single cup of lentils has 227 calories, compared to broccoli with only 31. Beans and legumes might be high-protein superfoods, but you need to reduce your intake to speed up the process of weight loss. This is especially true if you do not have an active lifestyle.

4. Dried fruits

Did you know 100 grams of dried fruit contains 359 calories? It is far more calorific than fresh fruit, which in the case of apples, only has 51 calories per 100 grams. By topping your yogurt or salad with dried fruit, you are adding more than just a fresh burst of flavor — you are also adding more calories to your meal.

5. Sweet corn

This delicious, starchy vegetable is assigned an index number of 55. This means sweet corn increases blood glucose levels 55% as much as pure glucose. A few hours after consumption, you will experience a sudden drop in glucose levels, which will leave you feeling hungry much quicker.

6. Bananas

Bananas are a great grab-and-go option for breakfast, lunch, and snack time. Although these yellow fruits are rich in vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, potassium, and protein, they are also 25% sugar.

7. Mangoes

Most people say mangoes are synonymous with tropical vacations and indulgence for good reason: one cup of delicious mango has almost 23 grams of sugar, which doesn’t seem too bad until you realize it’s the equivalent of a full bag of Sour Patch Kids.

Takeaway

We are always told to eat our fruits and vegetables because they contain vitamins, minerals, and unique healing properties. But like those mentioned in this list, not all are great depending on our individual health and fitness goals. If your favorite fruits and veggies are high in calories, sugar, starch, or carbs; you do not need to remove them from your diet. As always, moderation is key to preventing weight gain and its health risks.

Broccoli Helps Prevent Cancer

Here it comes again! Another reason you should eat your broccoli. There has been research in the past that suggests sulforaphane, a compound present in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, can help us prevent or slow cancer’s progression.

There has been another new study that may have discovered how.

Oregon State University (OSU) researchers have found that sulforaphane reduces the expression of long noncoding NAs in prostate cancer cells that disrupts the cells’ ability to form colonies, which is a hallmark of metastatic cancer.

IncRNAs have emerged as key layers, rather than Junk DNA as previously believed, in the development of numerous cancers. These include prostate, breast, stomach and lung cancers.

As suggested by the studies IncRNAs can regulate gene expression, which is the process by which genes are switched on or off in order to do their jobs. It is believed that they can fuel disease development when IncRNAs become dysregulated. Further evidence from the study other than the role IncRNAs play in cancer, supports research recognizing the anticancer effects of sulforaphane.

This dietary compound has its highest levels in broccoli and can affect IncRNAs, according to the principal study investigator Emily Ho of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health at OSU.

Hopefully, this will open the door to a whole range of new dietary strategies, foods or drugs that could play a role in suppressing cancer or in therapeutic control. The study results were reported in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Whole-genome sequencing on normal human epithelial prostate cells and prostate cancer cells were conducted to reach these findings. Prostate cancer cells show high expression of IncRNAs with one particularly called LINC01116. LINC01116 levels were reduced, however, leading to a fourfold reduction in the cells’ ability to form colonies. These findings support the idea of IncRNAs as a target for cancer prevention and suggests that dietary intake of sulforaphane might be a feasible way to target these molecules.

Laura Beaver, lead study author of the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU says that their results may not only have implications for cancer prevention, but for cancer treatment as well. If they could develop methods to greatly slow the progress of cancer and help to keep it from becoming invasive, it would be of significant value.

Further studies are still needed to understand better how sulforaphane might prevent and slow cancer and the researchers believe these findings help to shed some light on it. The authors conclude: “These discoveries illustrate that IncRNAs can play important roles in cancer development and may be useful targets for cancer prevention, detection and treatment.”

Dr Fredda Branyon

amaranth grain

The High-Protein and Gluten-Free Amaranth Grain

amaranth grain

Amaranth is the general name for more than 60 different species of Amaranthus. Cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years, amaranth is classified as a pseudocereal grown for its edible starchy seeds. However, it is not in the same grain family as wheat and rice.

Top Benefits of Amaranth

Here are five reasons to eat this beneficial grain:

1. A Rich Source of Protein

Amaranth is exceptionally high in protein, providing nine grams per cup of cooked grain. Every single cell in the body needs protein. It is critical for building and strengthening muscle mass, supporting neurological function, aiding digestion, balancing hormones, and keeping a positive mood.


2. Gluten-Free

Since amaranth is gluten-free, it is an excellent alternative to people with wheat allergies or intolerances. Gluten sensitivity occurs when the body reacts to the protein found in the wheat plant (gluten). The more severe form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, which leads to difficulty in digesting food. Gluten can also provoke other less severe symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, skin problems, joint aches, leg or arm numbness, and even poor memory.


3. Reduces Inflammation

This pseudocereal can reduce inflammation, which is associated with nearly all health conditions. When the body experiences a buildup of dietary and environmental toxins, the immune system becomes overactive and activates defense cells and hormones that damage tissues.


4. Aids the Digestive System

Amaranth’s high fiber content helps in stimulating the digestive system to regulate the discharge of bodily waste. Due to fiber’s structure and the body’s incapacity to absorb it, fiber can pass through the digestive system without being absorbed by the stomach’s digestive enzymes. As a result, fiber carries waste, toxins, fat, and cholesterol particles out of the gut.


5. Lowers Cholesterol

A study published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research examined the impact of amaranth on the cholesterol levels of animals models. Results showed that consuming amaranth decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) by 21 to 50%.


Where to Find Amaranth Grain

Amaranth is available for purchase in many health food stores. Since it is gaining popularity, it is sometimes available in major supermarkets, too.

 

How to Use Amaranth Grain

Amaranth grain has a toasted, nutty flavor that works well with many dishes. Here are a few ways to  incorporate amaranth into everyday meals:

  • Serve amaranth instead of white rice and pasta.
  • Combine amaranth with fruit and nuts instead of using oats.
  • Use amaranth as flour to make gluten-free bread or pastries.
  • Blend amaranth with fruit and veggie smoothies to add a nutty flavor.
  • Add amaranth to soups or chilis to create a thicker texture.
  • Make “rice cakes” by combining amaranth and honey.

When cooking amaranth grain, remember to use the ratio of 1/2 cup amaranth to 1 1/2 cups water. Heat the mixture in a saucepan until it boils. Then, reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered until the water is absorbed. This usually takes approximately 20 minutes. It is also more convenient to use a rice cooker instead.