Some of the health benefits of Amaranth leaves for babies and toddlers include supply of essential vitamins and minerals, it is easy to digest, it helps in reducing anemia, has high anti-oxidants, possesses anti-inflammatory properties, acts like a natural pain-killer, has anthelmintic properties and it strengthens the immune system.
Amaranth is an herb that is becoming very popular in United States today, because of its wide variety of health benefits. It belongs to the species of Amaranthus. Here, we are particularly discussing about Amaranthus spinosus and it is commonly called ‘pigweed’. It is a medium sized plant which grows to about 100 to 130 cm in length and it is a perennial plant, meaning that it can grow all through the year. This makes it an ideal herb foar consumption round the year.
It can be mostly found in tropical places. In countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, China and even in Greece and in some parts of Africa, Amaranthus plant is widely cultivated.
When can Amaranth Leaves be given to infants?
Amaranth is mostly regarded as safe for consumption. It is known to be one of the least allergy causing foods and hence, it is safe for infant consumption. But, to be on a safer side, you can introduce Amaranth to your baby between 7-8 months. This has been recommended by the FAO European Union Food Facility Project.
9 Health benefits of Amaranth leaves for infants and children
Here are some of the health benefits of introducing Amaranth leaves into your infant’s diet.
Good source of vitamins and minerals: Amaranth is a good source of vitamins and minerals which are crucial for your baby’s overall development. These important vitamins and minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin K. Each of these vitamins and minerals are essential for your baby’s overall growth.
Easy to digest: As this herb can be cooked easily and it is easy to digest as well. It is also one of the best ways to ensure that your baby can get the benefit of all the micronutrients present in Amaranth leaves with ease.
Helps in reducing anemia: As amaranth has good amount of iron content in it, it is beneficial in reducing chances of anemia and helps in producing hemoglobin. As we know, hemoglobin plays a crucial role in the quality of blood.
Has high amounts of anti-oxidants: Apart from being a good source of vitamins and minerals, amaranth is also a good source of anti-oxidants as well. Anti-oxidants, as mentioned in our earlier works, are essential micronutrients for everybody. They help in preventing the damage caused by free radicals on the body by neutralizing them.
Possesses anti-inflammatory properties: Some studies have shown that amaranth extracts reduce edema and reduced vascular permeability substantially in experiments. This is an indication of anti-inflammatory property and it can be utilized for reducing inflammations.
Anti-protozoan activity: Studies have shown that the extract of amaranth can also be beneficial in reducing protozoan attacks. The extracts managed to kill protozoa to a great extent.
Acts as an analgesic or pain-reliever: Amaranth also has the benefit of being a natural pain reliever. As a natural pain reliever it can be safely given to babies, infants and children when they are physically hurt and are in pain.
Has Anthelmintic properties: The extracts of Amaranth have also proven to possess anthelmintic properties. Infants and children can be highly susceptible to intestinal worms and taking Amaranth regularly can reduce the risk of developing intestinal worms.
Strengthens the immune system: Apart from possessing these properties, Amaranth also helps in strengthening and boosting the immune system significantly. This property is highly useful for strengthening the immune system of your child.
Nutrients in Amaranth Leaves
According to the National Nutrient Database from the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutritional value found in Amaranth leaves include
|Nutritional Component||Value per 100 g||Nutritional Component||Value per 100 g|
|Water||91.69 g||Energy||23 kcal|
|Protein||2.46 g||Total Lipid (fat)||0.33 g|
|Carbohydrates||4.02 g||Calcium||215 mg|
|Iron||2.32 mg||Magnesium||55 mg|
|Phosphorus||50 mg||Potassium||611 mg|
|Sodium||20 mg||Zinc||0.90 mg|
|Vitamin C||43.3 mg||Thiamin||0.027 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.158 mg||Niacin||0.658 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.192 mg||Folate||85 ug|
|Vitamin A||2917 IU||Vitamin K||1140 ug|