What is Amaranth?
Amaranth is a bushy plant with broad leaves that can grow up to 6 feet tall. It produces densely packed bright colored flowers with a head that contains large number of seeds.
Amaranth seeds was a staple food for the Aztecs and had been cultivated as a grain for over 8,000 years. Amaranth cultivation was banned when the Aztecs nation was conquered by Spain. Amaranth regained it’s role as a grain when research on it began around the 1970s period.
There are many species and varieties of Amaranth and some were used for vegetables and grains. Amaranth can grow in light soil where conditions are harsh and lack of nutrients. It is considered a very efficient grain crop.
Amaranth is a good source of nutrition and the protein contained in Amaranth was found to be of exceptionally high quality. Amaranth grain is gluten free, thus it serves as an important grain to people with gluten intolerance.
Amaranth is considered a pseudo-cereal as it is not a true grain and belongs to a different species of plant.
Amaranth grain can also be used to extract the highly valued amaranth oil.
Amaranth is a protein powerhouse that provides exceptionally high quality protein. It also contains high amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
|Amaranth (Cooked) Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Dietary fiber||2.1 g|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.015 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.022 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||0.235 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.113 mg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.19 mg|
– Lowers cholesterol.
– Contains no gluten.
– Reduces blood pressure.
– Reduces inflammation.
– Protects cells from damage, effectively preventing cancer.
– Lysine in Amaranth aids our body to produce energy, build muscles and absorb calcium.
– Aids digestive health.
– Curbs free radical damage.
How to Eat Amaranth
1. Amaranth seeds are cooked and eaten as a grain alternative.
2. Amaranth can be popped like popcorn and serve as a healthy snack.
3. Amaranth can be cooked and mix with coconut syrup or honey to be served as desserts.
4. Amaranth can be cooked and added to salads.
5. Amaranth can be cooked and added to soup or stew.
6. Amaranth can be cooked and added to cookie batters.
Raw amaranth grain contains moderately high content of oxalic acid which could obstruct the absorption of calcium and zinc. Thus amaranth grain should only be eaten cooked to reduce it’s anti-nutritional factors.
Amaranth should be avoided by people with conditions such as gout, kidney disorders or rheumatoid arthritis as oxalic acid might aggravate these conditions.