Amaranth

By EAT-SMARTER
Updated on 24. Apr. 2020

Amaranth has gained a firm reputation as a whole food, and not only because of its high nutritional value! With a nutty, slightly bitter taste, the grains are a culinary asset and versatile in the kitchen. In addition, amaranth is a substitute for grains for anyone who is allergic to gluten.

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Amaranth

Amaranth...

  • ...offers plenty of fiber. Just 100 grams of amaranth covers one third of the recommended daily minimum fiber intake. It’s also great for long-lasting satiety and digestion!
  • ...supplies abundant proteins. The high protein content in amaranth can compensate for potential deficiencies, especially in a vegetarian diet. With well over 14 percent protein, amaranth is an inside tips for sports fans.
  • ...is good for the heart.  Don't panic because of the relatively high fat content in amaranth — it is composed of 70 percent unsaturated fatty acids. They have a positive effect on the cholesterol level and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
  • ...supplies a lot of iron. It's definitely a great idea to eat amaranth more often if you're a vegetarian or vegan. Having 9 milligrams of iron, the grain is particularly rich in this mineral, which is rather rarely found in veggies.
  • ...makes strong bones.  100 grams of amaranth offers 214 milligrams of calcium, plus an incredible 582 milligrams of phosphorus, which means strong bones and teeth.
  • ...gives you iron nerves. If you are under a lot of stress, play a lot of sports or want to be particularly efficient, you should regularly bring amaranth to the table. With no less than 310 milligrams of magnesium, the grain will strengthen the nerves.
  • ...contains no gluten.  Those who have bad reactions to gluten protein enjoy amaranth because it’s completely gluten-free.
  • ...isn’t good for babies.  Children under the age of 1 should not yet eat amaranth. Certain substances in it inhibit the nutrient absorption that’s essential for healthy development.

What You Should Know About Amaranth

Origin

Amaranth belongs to the so-called pseudo-cereals: At first glance, its grains look like cereal. They also have similar nutritional values and can be prepared in a similar way. But, amaranth is not cereals, but instead foxtail plant seeds. Amaranth was already being cultivated in Central and South America 3,000 years ago. The Aztecs considered the plant sacred and used it as an integral part of their divine services. In its countries of origin (Central and South America, India and other Asian countries), amaranth has since then been regarded as an important staple food.

Varieties

There are several varieties around the world, including the tricolor amaranth, in which the leaves and stems are edible and often prepared like spinach. A single plant yields about 50,000 seeds, which are small and light — about 1,500 of them make just one gram. Amaranth is still harvested by hand.

Here you will find all amaranth recipes.

How Healthy is Amaranth?

As small as the seeds are, they have a lot to offer. seedlings are unusually large in relation to the endosperm, so valuable ingredients are concentrated in a small space. Amaranth is about 18 percent protein. The "Inca wheat" is the most protein-rich grain of all. The grains also contain plenty of magnesium, calcium and iron, and the so-called pseudo-cereal is gluten-free, unlike conventional cereals. The oil contained in the seeds consists of 70 percent unsaturated fatty acids, which is good for your health, especially your cholesterol level. In addition, amaranth contains fiber, thus stimulating digestion and making it satiating.

Regular consumption of amaranth is said to help with chronic headaches and migraines, to strengthen the respiratory tract, delay the aging process and help with sleep disorders.

Certain tanning agents in amaranth can inhibit the absorption and utilization of vitamins, minerals and protein from food. This can be particularly problematic for babies still developing. Therefore, it's advised that children shouldn’t be fed amaranth until they are 2 years old.

Nutritional values of amaranth per 100 grams  
Calories 385
Carbohydrates 66.2 grams
Dietary Fiber 9.3 grams
Protein 14.5 grams
Fat 6.5 grams

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Try to shop for amaranth from controlled or organic cultivation to avoid pollutants. If you want to prepare amaranth as a side dish, for example instead of rice, put it on the stove with three times the amount of water and calculate about 30 minutes cooking time at medium heat.

You can also make your own flour from amaranth. In order to make dough for bread, rolls, cakes or biscuits, amaranth flour must be mixed in a ratio of 1:2 with gluten-containing flour made from wheat, spelt or rye.

What To Make With Amaranth

Puffed amaranth tastes nutty and crunchy — perfect for muesli, sweet bars and casseroles, but also great for sprinkling on fruit salads, sweet bagels, vegetable dishes or a sophisticated omelette. Popped amaranth is also easy to make. Heat a pan with a closed lid without fat, place the grains on the hot base and remove the pan from the stove. Stir it a bit  and the seeds will start to pop vigorously.

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