Getting Into Amaranth
The ancient seed amaranth is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. Amaranth can be roasted, popped, boiled, and added to other dishes.
With the world’s shift towards healthy and organic eating, some food items are pretty permanent on that list. Some of these names include seeds, oats, and super grains. Super grains, quite faithful to their name, are grains with excellent (multiple) benefits to health. These grains have been entirely in trend in the west, and the movement has now picked up worldwide.
The rise of organic and conscious eating habits has directly led to an increase in the discussion around the consumption of super grains. There are many super grains, like quinoa, barley, millet, rye flakes, and Amaranth. All these super grains have different impressive nutritional contents and accordingly add value to our lives.
Amaranth – The Super Grain
The master of these is Amaranth. Amaranth, at a glance, is nothing but tiny grains similar to all other grains. But these small granules contain immense protein and nutrition. The secret to their protein content is the amino acid, Lysine. Lysine is highly rich in protein and makes Amaranth a power-protein house.
Another added advantage of Amaranth is that it is gluten-free and aids in fibre consumption. This makes it a preferential option for those with gluten allergies and celiac intolerance. Many people worldwide cannot opt for healthy options because many healthy options have gluten in them, and people are allergic to them. This way, Amaranth rises out as an excellent option for all.
Not just these surface stats, there are quite many reasons to adopt Amaranth as your primary grain intake partner. It is not a recently produced grain that might be genetically modified – it is an ancient grain that was a part of the Aztec diet. As noted by the anthropologists, pre-Columbian Aztecs included Amaranth in their staple diet.
Such use of the grain since ancient times indicates the value of the grain. It is no news that ancient civilizations had more muscular bodies withstood many wars and other challenging situations.
Amazing facts about Amaranth
Amaranth is a handful of 60 different species of grains that have been nurtured for roughly 8,000 years. This itself proves that the grains have quite many benefits and nutrients.
Even though everyone popularly knows Amaranth as a super grain, it is technically a seed. Its background is quite similar to that of quinoa. Amaranth is a seed of the amaranth plant, and one plant can mature up to 50,000 plus sources. Not just the seeds, the leaves of the plant are also edible. Amaranth leaves are quite popular in Indian and Caribbean cuisines – used for masalas, soups, and gravies.
One cup of Amaranth has about 26 grams of protein (roughly 13% protein). This is quite impressive as normally long-grain white rice has approximately 13 grams of protein per cup. It is indeed an excellent protein source for vegans and vegetarians.
It is generally noted that carnivores have higher protein levels. But with the proper diet of suitable seeds and grains – vegans and vegetarians can have adequate protein levels.
What Other Nutrients Amaranth Has?
The super grain is not just limited to protein. It has much other nutritional content as well. The amaranth seeds have calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Thus, it contains multiple vitamins and minerals.
These multiple nutritions can help you in your journey towards better health. Not just an enhanced health status, such nutrients also aid in your overall stamina, your energy levels, and regulating your bodily functions.
Amaranth is a pseudocereal that has a high nutrient profile and is a protein powerhouse, like other pseudocereals. With 14% protein, it contains nearly double the protein found in rice and corn. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Guatemalan researchers found that it’s among the most nutritional plant-based proteins.
Additionally, amaranth contains lunasin, a peptide thought to help prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. A great gluten-free grain option if you have celiac disease is amaranth!
What are the added benefits of Amaranth?
Amaranth is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants work against the free radicals in the body. The free radicals are pretty harmful to the body in terms of infections and the development of chronic disease. In some cases, it is also noted to protect the liver from alcohol.
FIghts against Inflammation
It is also suitable for treating inflammation. Inflammation is quite annoying, and it is mostly the body’s response to an injury or an infection. This makes anti-inflammatory food substances lucrative. Although inflammation is not tricky, chronic inflammation can lead to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and more.
Cholesterol is another issue that has risen drastically over the last few years. It does not have any direct effect but can lead to many severe cardiovascular problems. There are two types of cholesterol – HDL and LDL. LDL is the bad cholesterol, whereas HDL is the good cholesterol. Amaranth helps in increasing the HDL while decreasing the levels of LDL.
Amaranth is not just for healthy eating; it is also an active component of the weight loss diet. Many diets include Amaranth as a substitute for other grains, such as wheat. Amaranth accelerates the weight loss process as well. Be a person of any age; this is an excellent step towards a healthy diet style.
Good for Heart and Brain
Many research studies have shown that consumption of Amaranth is good for the heart. With a minimum calorie intake of around 250 calories with one cup of Amaranth, it becomes a great option. Manganese is an excellent addition to the amaranth seed – it is beneficial for a healthy brain and is also considered protecting from neurological conditions.
How can you eat Amaranth?
The easiest way to consume Amaranth is through the granola bars that only contain Amaranth. Many energy bars also include amaranth seeds for added protein levels. Such protein levels are needed for an intensive workout. So, these bars are preferred by many athletes, body-builders, and gym-goers. These bars, although, have some artificial sweeteners and chemicals as well.
There are many natural and organic ways to add Amaranth to your diet as well.
Sprouts: Sprouts are generally one of the healthiest snack options in the world. Amaranth seeds can also be used as sprouts.
Amaranth with Breakfast: One option is to add Amaranth as a breakfast option for all. The tiny grains can be eaten in the form of porridge. Porridge is a great protein-packed meal and is already a traditional breakfast choice in many parts of the world, such as India, Peru, Mexico, and Nepal.
Roast: Amaranth can also be roasted, and it also can be combined with other grains. The mixture of amaranth seeds can be used as a snack and as soups, salads, and sides.
Mixed grains: Many households use a mixed grains flour for cooking Rotis (Indian homemade bread).
Amaranth seeds can be an extra addition to smoothies, salads, and other vegetables as well. This makes the seeds a pretty lucrative option overall.
Amaranth has seen a spike in the consumer market. Many companies are coming with Amaranth-inspired food items, snack alternatives, and more. Even companies that are known for producing non-nutritional content are opting for Amaranth as it is pretty convenient.
So, if you are a professional who does not have the time to cook or explore the different amaranth eating options, you have many opportunities coming up.
One thing that people have cited to move away from Amaranth is the taste. No doubt, like any other healthy option, Amaranth also has a distinct flavour.
The taste of any food item cooked with Amaranth can be developed over some time. It is a matter of will and determination that you can continue to experiment with Amaranth. You will find the right combination of ingredients that will suit your health and taste buds with practice.
The three major components of every lifestyle are diet, exercise, and sleep. Sleep is a must, and everyone should sleep for at least 6 hours every day. Exercise is another component that is neglected by us all. With the rise in our workload and other activities, exercise often takes a sideline.
This is a significant reason behind many mental and physical issues faced by people all across the world. The last component is diet. Diet has a direct impact on our energy levels, our daily functioning, our thinking capacity. Without a proper diet, we can not expect to be healthy and strong.
Our diets have become more packaged; we eat from plastic containers without thinking about any nutrition or its’ health benefits. Thus, it is the need of the hour to shift to organic and healthy eating options; This is the easiest step towards a sustainable and active lifestyle. You can start this step by removing the unhealthy food options from your diet schedule.
Just replace these options with super grains and organic cereals.
As talked about above, Amaranth is your best option for the same. With Amaranth, you will slowly move towards eating lighter food. You can try other super grains as well, or a mix of them. It is just imperative to make the recommended changes towards your life.
Related: World’s Most Rare Fruits
How To Cook With Amaranth
It can be stored for 4 months in the pantry and 8 months in the freezer in its intact form.
A full cup of Amaranth flour can be stored in the pantry for up to 2 months and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Amaranth is cooked by mixing one cup of dried grain with two cups of liquid. The result is 2.5 cups of cooked grain after 25 to 30 minutes of simmering.
Peppers and cabbage with Amaranth.
This herb is ideal for recipes like porridge and polenta. Alternatively, it can be popped like popcorn! Amaranth has a sweet, grassy aroma along with a peppery taste. Combinations with zucchini, corn, sesame, cinnamon, vanilla, and chocolate yield delicious results.
In one serving of cooked amaranth, you will find 180 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein.