Health Benefits of Amaranthus (Bondwe) Leaves

May 23, 2023

By Misheck Nyirongo

BONDWE with a botanical name of Amaranthus is a traditional food plant in Africa. It is an inexpensive high quality food crop that can either be grown for its seeds and/or as spinach (marog) and has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care.

Amaranthus leaves popularly known “Bondwe” in Zambia are a very healthy and tasty vegetable rich in folate iron. We have heard and been recommended a number of leafy greens. We have been told about their benefits a number of times and been asked to include them in our diet.  While kale, spinach, lettuce, fenugreek etc.; are quite famous.

The humble Amaranthus leaves are witnessing resurgence in their popularity after research has found them to be packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. They are also rich in potassium and fibre thus can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Hence, they are considered heart-healthy food. Not just the leaves, even the seeds of this plant are a necessary source of gluten-free protein.

The leaves are green, gold, purple or red depending on the area where it grows. Amaranthus leaves are much superior to most greens because they're a powerhouse of nutrients. Let us look at some health benefits of eating Amaranthus leaves. Amaranth leaves are a storehouse of essential phytonutrients and antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation in the body and provide an extra boost of nutrition to one’s health.

“100gms of Amaranth leaves carry only unbelievably light baggage of just 23 calories. Traces of fat and absolutely no cholesterol make them a healthy go-to food option, especially those who are watching their weight or who want to reduce it,” Dr. John Mubanga Naturopath explains.

Amaranthus leaves are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre that has many benefits. Eating fibre helps us to reduce our weight and wards off heart disease as it lowers the cholesterol in the blood. Amaranth is high in protein and fibre, both of which may help to reduce appetite and increase weight loss

Iron is needed for producing red blood cells and is also needed for cellular metabolism. Reap maximum benefits of this powerful punch of iron that amaranth leaves provide by adding some source of vitamin C as it facilitates maximum absorption of iron in the blood. So, you could add a dash of lemon or have the amaranth leaves dish with a glass of orange juice.

“Here is another reason why you should make amaranth leaves a regular part of your diet. These leafy greens are rich in vitamin C. having 100gms of the leaves will meet 70% of your daily requirement for vitamin C,” Dr. John Mubanga Naturopath shares, “This vitamin is a water-soluble vitamin and is needed for fighting off infections and for quicker wound healing. It also helps to reduce the effect of free radicals in the environment which are responsible for ageing and many types of cancer.”


Amaranthus leaves are rich in vitamin A and a cup can meet 97% of your daily need for this antioxidative vitamin. They are also full of flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein which provide a protective layer against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Vitamin A is also needed for healthy skin and proper vision.

Amongst all the green leafy vegetables, across the board Amaranthus leaves have the highest quantity of vitamin K. This vitamin is needed for good Bone health and also plays an important role in blood clotting. It promotes osteoblastic activity and strengthens bone mass. Also, it is beneficial for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease as it controls the neural damage done in the brain.

Amaranthus leaves are replete with vitamins of the B group. Folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and others are all found in these leafy greens. They help prevent birth defects in newborn babies and are needed for optimal mental and physical health.

The leaves of this wonder plant are full of potassium. The elements needed for good cardiac health. Potassium is necessary for creating a balanced cellular fluid environment. It also controls the heart rate in the human body.

Dr. John Mubanga Naturopath added, “The seeds of the amaranth plant are used as a grain and can be ground to be made into flour. This is protein-rich flour that is entirely gluten-free, so it is incredibly beneficial for those who have gluten intolerance.”

Amaranthus leaves and grain are rich in protein, leaving behind even oats as a protein-rich grain. Receiving protein from a plant source is considered much healthier than obtaining it from an animal source as the former has no or very little fat and cholesterol.

Amaranthus leaves are helpful in treating diarrhea and hemorrhages. Regular consumption has been known to benefit digestion. Fresh, tender leaves and shoots of Amaranth can be eaten raw in salads or as juice.

To sum up all, Amaranth leaves and grains are known as a super food because they are beneficial for almost every organ of the body. It is easy to incorporate them into the diet as they taste well as a stir-fry or when combined with lentils.

Misheck Nyirongo

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