Nowadays, it is hard to keep track of the super grains. However, there is one super grain that is extremely helpful to your overall health and its name is amaranth. It is important to know that quinoa has some similarities with this tiny and powerful food.
Both of these foods are naturally gluten free and are amazing sources of protein. However, amaranth boasts some nutritional benefits of its own.
Amaranth can be prepared in various ways, which means that it could be eaten on its own even though it already started to appear in processed foods such as granola bars.
You should get more informed about this super grain, if you already do not know all of its benefits. This food is used for a reason! If you want to find out more about amaranth, read the article below.
Even though amaranth was the most important part of the pre- Columbian Aztecs diet, this super grain was not only just a food. Amaranth was an ingredient they used as a part of their religious ceremonies.
Amaranth crops were burned and its use was forbidden when the Cortez and the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century. However, they were not able to completely get rid of this incredible plant.
Even though many people consider it to be a grain, amaranth is actually a seed like quinoa. It is a seed of the amaranth plant. The interesting fact is that one plant is able to produce up to 60.000 seeds.
You will provide your body with 251 calories if you consume one cup (1.4 dl, 245g) of cooked amaranth grain (from about 65g raw). Besides that it is also rich in protein, dietary fiber and some dietary minerals.
These incredible seeds are an excellent source of manganese (105% of the daily value), magnesium (40% of the daily value), iron (29% of the daily value) and selenium (20% of the daily value).
You will provide your body with vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, manganese and folate if you consume cooked amaranth leaves.
It is a healthy and less expensive alternative to ingredients traditionally used in gluten-free products since amaranth does not contain gluten.
Besides having high biological value, the amaranth’s benefits are not limited to people with gluten-related disorders. The quality and quantity of amaranth’s proteins are superior to those of wheat.
If you compare it with wheat, you can without a doubt say that amaranth contains higher concentrations of folic acid than wheat. These amazing seeds have a higher amount of fiber and minerals than other cereals.
Amaranth may have anti-nutrient factors such as polyphenols, saponins, tannins and oxalates due to its richness in phytochemicals. When you cook it, these factors are reduced.
- Amaranth is gluten-free: It is a great choice for people who are celiac or gluten intolerant since amaranth does not contain gluten. If you want to boost the nutritional power of gluten-free recipes, just include these seeds in your everyday diet.
- It contains lysine: Amaranth is rich in lysine, which is an amino acid, even though most grains like wheat are short on this acid. Since it contains all the essential amino acids, amaranth is a complete protein.
- Amaranth contains protein: Its protein content is much higher than other grains. In particular amaranth contains about 13%, or 26 grams per cup. In order to see the difference, compare a cup of long-grain white rice with one cup of amaranth. The white rice only contains 13 grams of protein.
- The plant is hardy: Even though it can grow at almost any elevation in temperate climates if it has moist, loose soil with good drainage, amaranth prefers a high elevation. Once the plants have been established, they can survive in low-water conditions.
- You can consume other parts of the plant: The leaves of this plant are edible even though most of the people think that amaranth seeds are the only part of this plant that can be consumed by humans. You probably already know that there are 60 different species of amaranth seeds. However, Asian and Caribbean cuisines commonly use the leaves of this plant. We recommend you to try them stir-fried or chopped and added to soup.
- It is a source of key vitamins and minerals: This incredible plant is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. One cup of uncooked amaranth has 31% of the RDA for calcium, 14% for vitamin C and 82% for iron. Isn’t this amazing?
- It was consumed by humans for millennia: People has been eating amaranth for a very long time. We know that because it is estimated that this amazing plant was first domesticated 6.000 to 8.000 years ago. This makes since when you think about how easy and quick it grows.
- Amaranth can be popped: Among other things, popped amaranth is used in Mexico as a toast topping.It looks like tiny popcorn kemels and has a nutty taste. You can make this type of topping in the comfort of your home.
- It grows around the world: Nowdayas it is grown all around the world in countries including China, Russia, Thailand, Nigeria and Mexico even though amaranth is considered as a native plant of Peru. Besides that, this plant has nowadays became a part of the cuisines in India, Nepal and the African continent. Some farmers even grow it in parts of the United States, including Nebraska and North Dakota.
- It has an excellent effect on the heart: According to several recent studies, amaranth has a potential to lower the cholesterol. In 1996 there was an American study which indicated that the oil found in amaranth could lower total and LDL cholesterol in chickens. According to another study done in 2003 out of Guelph, amaranth is able to lower the colesterol due toits richness in phytosterols.
- It is the best option for breakfast: This is the best option for breakfast since amaranth’s tiny grains take on a porrige- like texture when cooked. In India, Peru, Mexico and Nepal, amaranth porridge is a traditional breakfast.
- It can keep you healthy: Amaranth is also a source of fibre with 13 grams of dietary fibre per uncooked cup compared to just 2 grams for the same amount of lon-grain white rice. This means that amaranth has other impressive nutritional benefits.
- Bone development: Since it contains a high concentration of calcium it means that amaranth leaves contain a wide rage of minerals. It is a vegetable superfood in terms of boosting bone strenght since there are a very few leafy vegetables that contain a higher levels of calcium. It is excellent against osteoporosis because of its high content in calcium. If you are old, amaranth is perfect for you because it prevents the demineralization of bones.
- Atherosclerosis: Amaranth is able to lower the chances of getting atherosclerosis since its high content of potassium helps to lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels and reducing the strain on the cardiovascular system. With the regular use of amaranth you are also able to reduce the “bad” cholesterol due to its high content of phytosterols.
- Varicose veins: Most of the people with this problem are very embarrased even though this ondition may not affect everyone. You are able to eliminate your varicose veins by strenghtening capillary walls due to its richness in various flavonoids, including rutin. You are able to repair and strenghten blood vessel walls because of its high content of vitamin C, which is an integral component in the production of collagen.
- Weight loss: With the regular use of amaranth you are able to lose weight. You will reduce the appetite due to the dietary fiber. It will lower the desire to snack between meals. This will definitely result in losing some weight.