MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
(Amaranthus leucocarpus, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus)
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Amaranth is also known as Amaranthus leucocarpus, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus and commonly as Pigweed. "Amaranth" derives from Greek word amarantos meaning "unfading," or "everlasting" with the Greek word for "flower," (anthos), factoring into the word's development as quot;amaranth." The more accurate "amarant" is an archaic variant.
There are several species and varieties of Amaranth used for vegetables and grains. The Great Plains has seen a surge in this crop from Rodale Farms developed varieties. The virtue of amaranth is that it grows in harsh and lackluster nutrient conditions such as in light soils, much like the grain sorghum. It is a very efficient grain crop. Amaranthus retroflexus, or "pigweed," is a wild amaranth species in the United States. The name derives from the plant's tendency to sprout where hogs are pasture-fed. Although both its leaves and its seeds are edible, pigweed amaranth has not been cultivated as a food crop.
Amaranth has been cultivated for over 7000 years in Mexico. The Aztec civilization stored over 20,000 tons of the grain, keeping it for 5 to 10 years as a reserve against times of famine. It is now grown in northern India and Nepal as well as Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. Most of the grain in English shops comes from the USA.
Amongst all the wonderful foods and herbs provided to us by mother nature we hardly know about the storehouse of medicinal benefits that they have to offer. The ancient civilizations give us a glimpse into the remarkable benefits which modern science is yet to verify. One such green leafy vegetable is Amaranth. It is a popular leafy vegetable grown in many countries from South America to Asia. Mostly short lived perennial herb like that of spinach with straight and thick and juicy stems with green leaves. More than sixty different types of plant species of Amaranth known around the world.
AMARANTH PLANT CLASSIFICATION
Amaranth is believed to have originated from South America and Mexico. Many of the species are widely spread in tropical countries of the Asia and South American continents.This herb has more than 60 varieties and most of them are considered as weeds but in many countries they are consumed in form of grains , vegetables and cereals. Amaranthus, collectively known as amaranth, is a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-lived perennial plants. Catkin-like cymes of densely packed flowers grow in summer or autumn. Approximately 60 species are recognized, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple and red to green or gold. Members of this genus share many characteristics and uses with members of the closely related genus Celosia. Although several species are often considered weeds, people around the world value amaranths as leaf vegetables, cereals, and ornamental plants.
Amaranthus shows a wide variety of morphological diversity among and even within certain species. Although the family (Amaranthaceae) is distinctive, the genus has few distinguishing characters among the 70 species included. This complicates taxonomy and Amaranthus has generally been considered among systematists as a "difficult" genus. Formerly, Sauer (1955) classified the genus into two subgenera, differentiating only between monoecious and dioecious species: Acnida (L.) Aellen ex K.R. Robertson and Amaranthus. Although this classification was widely accepted, further infrageneric classification was (and still is) needed to differentiate this widely diverse group. Currently, Amaranthus includes three recognized subgenera and 70 species, although species numbers are questionable due to hybridization and species concepts. Infrageneric classification focuses on inflorescence, flower characters and whether a species is monoecious/dioecious, as in the Sauer (1955) suggested classification. A modified infrageneric classification of Amaranthus was published by Mosyakin & Robertson (1996) and includes three subgenera: Acnida, Amaranthus, and Albersia. The taxonomy is further differentiated by sections within each of the subgenera.
AMARANTH NUTRITIVE VALUE
The use of Amaranth leafy vegetable prevents the common deficiancy of vitamin A, B-1, B-2 and vitamin C , potassium and calcium. It helps reduce the onset of many disorders of eyes and vision, inflammatory infections , allergic and common colds as well as normal growth. Amaranth is also a large storehouse of proteins so much so that it contains more than popular grains and cereals such as wheat and oats. It contains essential Amino acids such as arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, cystine, methionine, phenylalanine and threonine. Amaranth is 15-percent protein, 7-percent fat and 63-percent carbohydrate. It has good lycine and calcium levels. It is also easily digested.
Amaranth flour adds a good flavor but does not stick together well when cooked on its own. It should be used to make cakes, biscuits and pancakes in combination with other flours. Amaranth flour does not keep well unless in the deep freeze. It is best purchased as grain and put through a grain mill just before use.
Amaranth can be grown in a frost free garden where it forms bold red spikes of flowers up to 1 meter high. It must be started early in the spring if it is to produce a good crop of grain. When threshed, by rubbing the ripe seed from the seed heads, a small husk remains mixed with the seed and this is best removed by sieving.
A. cruentus is a beautiful maroon-flowered, black-seeded variety from Sonora, Mexico. This black-seeded amaranth is a very vigorous variety with sturdy stalks. Primarily used for grain or to make pinole and atole. The leaves may also be used like spinach. The stalks, leaf veins, and large seed heads are colored a beautiful maroon red, providing a bright contrast to the green foliage. Makes a nice ornamental as well.
AMARANTH AS A WEED
Not all amaranth plants are cultivated. Most of the species from Amaranthus are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as pigweeds. These species have an extended period of germination, rapid growth, and high rates of seed production, and have been causing problems for farmers since the mid-1990s. This is partially due to the reduction in tillage, reduction in herbicidal use and the evolution of herbicidal resistance in several species where herbicides have been applied more often. The following 9 species of Amaranthus are considered invasive and noxious weeds in the U.S and Canada: A. albus, A. blitoides, A. hybridus, A. palmeri, A. powellii, A. retroflexus, A. spinosus, A. tuberculatus, and A. viridis.
A new herbicide-resistant strain of Amaranthus palmeri has appeared. It is Glyphosate-resistant and so cannot be killed by the widely used Roundup herbicide. Also, this plant can survive in tough conditions. This could be of particular concern to cotton farmers using Roundup Ready cotton. The species Amaranthus palmeri (Palmer amaranth) causes the greatest reduction in soybean yields and has the potential to reduce yields by 17 to 68 percent in field experiments. Palmer amaranth is among the "top five most troublesome weeds" in the southeast of the United States and has already evolved resistances to dinitroanilines and acetolactate synthase inhibitors. This makes the proper identification of Amaranthus species at the seedling stage essential for agriculturalists. Proper weed control needs to be applied before the species successfully colonizes in the crop field and causes significant yield reductions.
AMARANTH AS A BENEFICIAL WEED
Pigweed can be a beneficial weed, as well as a companion plant, serving as a trap for leaf miners and some other pests, as well as sheltering ground beetles (which prey upon insect pests) and breaking up hard soil for more delicate neighboring plants.
AMARANTH SEED HARVESTING
There are a multitude of varieties which cross with one another very easily. Even some species have been found to cross with one another e.g. Amaranthus caudatus and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. For most types, flowering occurs as the days become shorter. Being wind-pollinated, they will cross with one another if less than 400 meters apart at flowering time. The seed heads mature gradually from bottom to top. Careful selection is needed every time a plant is chosen for seed. Inferior individuals should be rogued, or pulled out, before they can flower and pollinate better plants.
To maximize seed harvest, shake the near-mature seed heads into a paper bag or onto a canvas. If the growing area is large, it is faster to cut the heads all at once when most of the seeds are ripe. The fully ripened heads tend to drop their seeds. Dry the heads for a week and thresh the heads with gloved hands or feet on canvas as the chaff is somewhat prickly. The seeds may be lost when winnowing because the chaff and seeds are of similar size and the seeds are of a light weight. If you heap uncleaned seeds in a bowl and toss them, the light debris will concentrate on the top and can be blown away. Repeat this until only seeds remain.
AMARANTH USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
Several species are raised for Amaranth "grain" in Asia and the Americas. This should more correctly be termed "pseudograin". Ancient amaranth grains still used to this day include the three species, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. Although amaranth was cultivated on a large scale in ancient Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru, nowadays it is only cultivated on a small scale there, along with India, China, Nepal, and other tropical countries; thus, there is potential for further cultivation in those countries, as well as in the U.S. In a 1977 article in Science, amaranth was described as the crop of the future. It has been proposed as an inexpensive native crop that could be cultivated by indigenous people in rural areas for several reasons:
1. It is easily harvested.
2. Its seeds are a good source of protein. Compared to other grains, amaranth is unusually rich in the essential amino acid lysine. Common grains such as wheat and corn are comparatively rich in amino acids that amaranth lacks; thus, amaranth and other grains can complement each other.
3. The seeds of Amaranthus species contain about thirty percent more protein than cereals like rice, sorghum and rye. In cooked and edible forms, amaranth is competitive with wheat germ and oats - higher in some nutrients, lower in others.
4. It is easy to cook. As befits its weedy life history, amaranth grains grow very rapidly and their large seedheads can weigh up to 1 kilogram and contain a half-million seeds in three species of amaranth.
Kiwicha, as Amaranth is known today in the Andes, was one of the staple foodstuffs of the Incas. Known to the Aztecs as huautli, it is thought to have represented up to 80-percent of their caloric consumption before the conquest. Another important use of amaranth throughout Mesoamerica was to prepare ritual drinks and foods. To this day, Amaranth grains are toasted much like popcorn and mixed with honey, molasses or chocolate to make a treat called alegria, meaning "joy" in Spanish. Diego Duran described the festivities for Huitzilopochtli, a blue hummingbird god. (Real hummingbirds feed on amaranth flowers.) The Aztec month of Panquetzaliztli (7 December to 26 December) was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. People decorated their homes and trees with paper flags; there were ritual races, processions, dances, songs, prayers, and finally human sacrifices. This was one of the more important Aztec festivals, and the people prepared for the whole month. They fasted or ate very little; a statue of the god was made out of amaranth (huautli) seeds and honey, and at the end of the month, it was cut into small pieces so everybody could eat a little piece of the god. After the Spanish conquest, cultivation of amaranth was outlawed, while some of the festivities were subsumed into the Christmas celebration.
Because of its importance as a symbol of indigenous culture, its gluten-free palatability, easy to cook, and its protein particularly well suited to human nutritional needs, interest in grain Amaranth (especially A. cruentus and A. hypochondriacus) revived in the 1970s. It was recovered in Mexico from wild varieties and is now commercially cultivated. It is a popular snack sold in Mexico, sometimes mixed with chocolate or puffed rice, and its use has spread to Europe and parts of North America. Amaranth and quinoa are called pseudograins because of their flavor and cooking similarities to grains.
AMARANTH SEED FLOUR
Amaranth seed flour has been evaluated as an additive to wheat flour by food specialists. To determine palatability, different levels of amaranth grain flour were mixed with the wheat flour and baking ingredients (1-percent salt, 2.5-percent fat, 1.5-percent yeast, 10-percent sugar and 52 to 74-percent water), fermented, molded, pan-proved and baked. The baked products were evaluated for loaf volume, moisture content, color, odor, taste and texture. The amaranth containing products were then compared with bread made from 100-percent wheat flour. The loaf volume decreased by 40-percent and the moisture content increased from 22 to 42-percent with increase in amaranth grain flour. The study found that the sensory scores of the taste, odor color and texture decreased with increasing amounts of amaranth. Generally, above 15-percent amaranth grain flour, there were significant differences in the evaluated sensory qualities and the high amaranth-containing product was found to be of unacceptable palatability to the population sample that evaluated the baked products.
Although several species on amaranth are considered weeds, people around the world value amaranths as leaf vegetables, cereals, and ornamentals. The greens are eaten when young and have a slightly bitter flavor.
AMARANTH LEAVES, ROOTS & STEMS
Amaranth species are cultivated and consumed as a leaf vegetable in many parts of the world. There are four species of Amaranthus documented as cultivated vegetables in eastern Asia: Amaranthus cruentus, Amaranthus blitum, Amaranthus dubius, and Amaranthus tricolor. In Indonesia and Malaysia, leaf amaranth is called bayam, while the Tagalogs in the Philippines call the plant kilitis or kulitis. The Ilocanos (Philippines) call it kalunay. In the state of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India, it is called Chaulai and is a popular green leafy vegetable (referred to in the class of vegetable preparations called saag). It is called Chua in Kumaun area of Uttarakhand, where it is a popular red-green vegetable. In Karnataka state in India, it is called Harive. It is used to prepare curries like Hulee, palya, Majjigay-hulee and so on. In the state of Kerala, it is called Cheera and is consumed by stir-frying the leaves with spices and red chillies to make 'Cheera Thoran'. In Tamil Nadu State, it is regularly consumed as a favorite dish, where the greens are steamed, and mashed, with light seasoning of salt, red chillis and cumin. It is called keerai masial. In Andhra Pradesh this leaf is added in preparation of a popular dal called thotakura pappu (Telugu). In Maharashtra, it is called Shravani Maath (literally grown in month of Shravan) and it is available in both red and white color. In Orissa, it is called Khada saga, it is used to prepare 'Saga Bhaja', in which the leaf is fried with chillies and onions. The root of mature amaranth is a popular vegetable. It is white and cooked with tomatoes or tamarind gravy. It has a milky taste and is alkaline.
In China, the leaves and stems are used as a stir-fry vegetable, or in soups. Amaranth greens are believed to help enhance eyesight. In Vietnam, it is used to make soup. There are two species popular as edible vegetable in Vietnam: Amaranthus tricolor and Amaranthus viridis.
A traditional food plant in Africa, amaranth has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care. In East Africa, amaranth leaf is known in chewa as bonongwe, and in Swahili as mchicha, as terere in Kikuyu, Meru and Embu; and as telele in Kamba. In Bantu regions of Uganda it is known as doodo. It is recommended by some doctors for people having low red blood cell count. It is also known among the Kalenjin as a drought crop (chepkerta). In Nigeria, it is a common vegetable and goes with all Nigerian starch dishes. It is known in Yoruba as efo tete or arowo jeja (meaning "we have money left over for fish"). In the Caribbean, the leaves are called bhaji in Trinidad and callaloo in Jamaica, and are stewed with onions, garlic and tomatoes, or sometimes used in a soup called pepperpot soup.
In Greece, green amaranth (Amaranthus viridis) is a popular dish and is called vlita or vleeta. It is boiled, then served with olive oil and vinegar like a salad, usually alongside fried fish. Greeks stop harvesting the plant (which usually grows wild) when it starts to bloom at the end of August.
In Sri Lanka, it is called koora thampala. Sri Lankans cook it and eat it with rice. Fiji Indians call it choraiya bhaji.
The flowers of the 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth were used by the Hopi (a tribe in the western United States) as the source of a deep red dye. There is also a synthetic dye that has been named "amaranth" for its similarity in color to the natural amaranth pigments known as betalains. This synthetic dye is also known as Red No. 2 in North America and E123 in the European Union.
The genus also contains several well-known ornamental plants, such as Amaranthus caudatus (love-lies-bleeding), a native of India and a vigorous, hardy annual with dark purplish flowers crowded in handsome drooping spikes. Another Indian annual, A. hypochondriacus (prince's feather), has deeply veined lance-shaped leaves, purple on the under face, and deep crimson flowers densely packed on erect spikes.
Amaranths are recorded as food plants for some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including the nutmeg moth and various case-bearer moths of the genus Coleophora: C. amaranthella, C. enchorda (feeds exclusively on Amaranthus), C. immortalis (feeds exclusively on Amaranthus), C. lineapulvella and C. versurella (recorded on A. spinosus).
MEDICINAL BENEFITS OF AMARANTH
Asthma & Respiratory Problems: Amaranth is very helpful in for asthma and other respiratory disorders . When taken in form of fresh juice with honey is a good remedy for acute bronchitis , tuberculosis and emphysema. Pregnancy & Lactation: During pregnancy and mothers lactation it highly beneficial natural supplement. Amaranth, honey and cardamom powder should be mixed and taken during this period to help in the normal growth of the baby, this fortifies the calcium and iron deficiencies in the body and reduces labor pains during delivery. Children's Growth: For growing children, fresh juice of Amaranth can be given as a natural tonic .This vegetable is a storehouse of protiens and Amino acids such as arginine, isoleucine, cystine, leucine, histidine, lysine, methionine, threonine and phenylalanine. Premature Aging: Amaranth is useful to prevent premature old age. Calcium and iron metabolism is regulated by it during the period of old age. As the age increases the calcium molecules start depositing in bone tissues rather than bones and this random deposition is caused due to irregular supply of iron in the food. The consistent supply of iron and calcium through amaranth prevents this disorder and thus is a powerful anti-aging food. Antibleeding: Amaranth is useful in all cases of bleeding ailments. A combination of Amaranth and Lime juice should be taken every night to prevent such conditions as bleeding nose, gums, anal piles and monthly periods. Heart Diseases: Regular use of Amaranth in diet has shown to be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels and lower the blood pressure levels.
AMARANTH NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Amaranth greens are a common leaf vegetable throughout the tropics and in many warm temperate regions. Cooked amaranth leaves are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate; they are also a complementing source of other vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, plus some dietary minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Cooked amaranth grains are a complementing source of thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and folate, and dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese - comparable to common grains such as wheat germ, oats and others.
Amaranth seeds contain lysine, an essential amino acid, limited in other grains or plant sources. Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids, and thus different sources of protein must be used. Amaranth too is limited in some essential amino acids, such as leucine and threonine. Amaranth seeds are therefore promising complement to common grains such as wheat germ, oats, corn because these common grains are abundant sources of essential amino acids found to be limited in amaranth.
Amaranth may be a promising source of protein to those who are gluten sensitive, because unlike the protein found in grains such as wheat and rye, its protein does not contain gluten. According to a 2007 report, amaranth compares well in nutrient content with gluten-free vegetarian options such as buckwheat, corn, millet, wild rice, oats and quinoa.
Several studies have shown that like oats, Amaranth seed or oil may be of benefit for those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease; regular consumption reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while improving antioxidant status and some immune parameters. While the active ingredient in oats appears to be water-soluble fiber, Amaranth appears to lower cholesterol via its content of plant stanols and squalene.
AMARANTH GRAIN CULTIVATION
Amaranth has been cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years. The yield of grain amaranth is comparable to rice or maize. It was a staple food of the Aztecs, and was used as an integral part of Aztec religious ceremonies. The cultivation of amaranth was banned by the conquistadores upon their conquest of the Aztec nation. Because the plant has continued to grow as a weed since that time, its genetic base has been largely maintained. Research on grain amaranth began in the US in the 1970s. By the end of the 1970s, a few thousand acres were being cultivated. Much of the grain currently grown is sold in health food shops. Grain Amaranth is also grown as a food crop in limited amounts in Mexico, where it is used to make a candy called alegria (Spanish for happiness) at festival times. Amaranth species that are still used as a grain are: Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. The grain is popped and mixed with honey. In Maharashtra state of India, it is called rajgira in the Marathi language. The popped grain is mixed with melted jaggery in proper proportion to make iron and energy rich laddus, a popular food provided at the Mid-day Meal Program in municipal schools. Amaranth grain can also be used to extract amaranth oil - a particularly valued pressed seed oil with many commercial uses.
AMARANTH GRAIN NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS
As the following table shows, in a raw form, grain Amaranth has many nutrients. Unfortunately, however, raw amaranth grain is inedible to humans, and it cannot be digested by them. For amaranth grain to be edible to and digestible by humans, it has to be prepared and cooked like other grains. Another table below suggests cooked amaranth is a competing and promising source of nutrition when compared to wheat bread, higher in some nutrients and lower in others. The protein is of an unusually high quality, according to Educational Concerns For Hunger Organization (ECHO). The actual nutritional value of Amaranth as human food is less than would be expected from raw amaranth grain data. According to ECHO, this is due to anti-nutritional factors in raw amaranth grain; examples of anti-nutritional factors present in amaranth include oxalates, nitrates, saponins and phenolic compounds. Cooking methods such as boiling amaranth in water and then discarding the water may reduce its toxic effects. Amaranth grain is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid that is low in other grains. Amaranth grain is deficient in essential amino acids such as leucine and threonine - both of which are present in wheat germ. Amaranth grain is free of gluten, which is important for people with gluten allergies.
Wheat Rice Sweetcorn Potato Nutrient
Per 100 grams (3.5 oz.)
Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Water (g) 11 75 11 12 76 82 Energy (kJ) 1554 429 1506 1527 360 288 Energy (kCal) 371 103 360 365 86 69 Protein (g) 14 4 23 7 3 1.7 Fat (g) 7 2 10 1 1 0.1 Carbohydrates (g) 65 19 52 79 19 16 Fiber (g) 7 2 13 1 3 2.4 Sugars (g) 1.7 - <0.1 >0.1 3 1.2 Iron (mg) 7.6 (58%) 2.1 (16%) 6.3 0.8 0.5 0.5 Manganese (mg) 3.4 (162%) 65 (43%) 13.3 1.1 0.2 0.1 Calcium (mg) 159 (16%) 47 (5%) 39 28 2 9 Magnesium (mg) 248 (70%) 65 (18%) 239 25 37 21 Phosphorus (mg) 557 (80%) 148 (21%) 842 115 89 62 Potassium (mg) 508 (11%) 135 (3%) 892 115 270 407 Zinc (mg) 2.9 (31%) 0.9 (9%) 12.3 1.1 0.5 0.3 Pantothenic Acid (mg) 1.5 (30%) - 2.3 1.0 0.7 0.3 Vitamin B-6 (mg) 0.6 (46%) 0.1 (8%) 1.3 0.2 0.1 0.2 Folate (µg) 82 (21%) 22 (6%) 281 8 42 18 Thiamin B-1 (mg) 0.1 (9%) 0.02 (2%) 1.9 0.1 0.2 0.1 Riboflavin B-2 (mg) 0.2 (17%) 0.02 (2%) 0.5 >0.1 0.1 >0.1 Niacin B-3 (mg) 0.9 (6%) 0.24 (2%) 6.8 1.6 1.8 1.1
The table above presents nutritional values of cooked, edible form of amaranth grain to cooked, edible form of wheat grain as reported by United States Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23 (2010).
Percentages are approximated from US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
AMARANTH DOSAGE INFORMATION
Amaranth is a broad-leaf grain plant which originated in South and Central America. It was a staple food of the Aztec royalty. Of all grains, Amaranth has the highest protein content, and is a good source of calcium, fiber and iron. It has a mild, nutty slightly sweet flavor, and tastes good when combined with other grains such as rice or buckwheat. To cook alone, use 1/4 cup Amaranth to 3/4 cup liquid (broth or tomato juice) and cook for 30 minutes. Serving Size: 1/4 cup (47 grams). Warnings: None.
Serving Size: 1/4 Cup (47 grams)
Nutrient Amount Per Serving % Daily Value Calories 195 Calories From Fat 25 Total Fat 3 grams 0.05 Saturated Fat 0 grams 0 Cholesterol 0 grams 0 Sodium 0 grams 0 Total Carbohydrates 36 grams 0.11 Dietary Fiber 6 grams 0.24 Sugars 0 grams Protein 7 grams Vitamin A 0 Vitamin C 0 Calcium 0.08 Iron 0.6 Magnesium 0.3 Zinc 0.1 * Percent Daily Values are based on 2,000 calorie diet.
† Daily Value not established.
TOP 10 REASONS TO USE AMARANTH IN GLUTEN-FREE RECIPES
1. Amaranth contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain- and more protein than wheat. One cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams of protein. Oats are a close second with 26.3 grams of protein. In comparison, 1 cup of raw white rice contains 13.1 grams of protein.
2. Amaranth is an excellent source of lysine, an important amino acid (protein). Grains are notorious for low lysine content, which decreases the quality of their proteins. The high lysine content in amaranth sets it apart from other grains. Food scientists consider the protein content of amaranth of high "biological value", similar in fact, to the proteins found in milk. This means that amaranth contains an excellent combination of essential amino acids and is well absorbed in the intestinal tract.
3. Another advantage of the protein content of Amaranth is that the primary proteins in amaranth are albumins and globulins. In comparison, the major proteins in wheat are called prolamins, which are considered less soluble and less digestible than are albumins and globulin proteins. The amount, types and digestibility of proteins in amaranth make it an excellent plant source of high quality proteins.
4. Amaranth is second only to teff in calcium content. 1 cup of raw teff contains 347 milligrams of calicum, amaranth 298 milligrams. In comparison, 1 cup of white rice contains 52 milligrams.
5. Amaranth contains more magnesium than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 519 milligrams of magnesium, followed by buckwheat with 393 milligrams and sorghum with 365 milligrams. In comparison, an equal amount of white rice contains 46 milligrams of magnesium.
6. Amaranth contains more iron than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 15 milligrams of iron. Teff is a close second with 14.7 milligrams of iron. In comparison, white rice contains 1.5 milligrams of iron.
7. Amaranth contains more fiber than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 18 grams of fiber- buckwheat and millet contain 17 grams. In comparison, white rice contains 2.4 grams of fiber.
8. Amaranth is slightly lower in carbohydrate content compared to other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 129 grams of carbohyrates, white rice 148 grams, brown rice and sorghum 143 grams and teff 141 grams of carbohyrdates. Oats contain 103 grams of carbohyrates, making them the lowest carb gluten free grain.
9. Amaranth is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (as are most whole grains) and it contains vitamin E in similar amounts to olive oil.
10. When you add Amaranth in amounts up to 25 percent of total flour used in gluten-free recipes you improve the nutritional value, the taste and texture of gluten free baked goods. Additionally, Amaranth is an exceptional thickener for roux, white sauces, soups and stews.
Amaranth, by nature, absorbs water very easily. That is what gives it great emulsifying properties. But if Amaranth is used solely in gluten-free baking recipes, baked goods become too dense. Breads will not rise properly and pancakes and cookies become too heavy. The challenge and rewards of gluten-free cooking come from combining a variety of gluten free flours, starches and gums that work in unison to mimic the properties of gluten. By adding Amaranth to gluten-free flour blends, sauces, soups and stews you can significantly improve the nutritional quality of your gluten-free diet.
Sources: USDA, Nutritional Database, Standard Ref. 20, version 20088
In many South American countries, you can find Amaranth sold on the streets, most often having been popped like corn. In India, Mexico, Nepal, and Peru, itís a traditional ingredient for breakfast porridge. In Mexico, a sweet candy-like confection made from popped Amaranth mixed with sugar or honey. Amaranth can be eaten straight up. Its flavor runs from light and nutty to lively and peppery, making it a popular ingredient in cereals, breads, muffins, crackers, and pancakes.
Cooking Amaranth is very easy. Measure grains and water, boil water, add grains, gently boil with the occasional stir for 15 to 20 minutes, then drain, rinse, and enjoy! It is really that simple. Cooked Amaranth behaves a little differently than other whole grains. It never loses its crunch completely, but rather softens on the inside while maintaining enough outer integrity so that the grains seem to pop between your teeth. In fact, the sensation of chewing a spoonful of cooked Amaranth grains has been compared to eating a spoonful of caviar (without the salty fishiness, of course). Amaranth may not be prepared in a pilaf with any success, but the cooked grains can be spread on a plate or other flat surface to dry a bit, then sprinkled on salads, added to cookie batters, or stirred into soups.
There is only one real rule to follow when cooking up a batch of plain Amaranth - Do not skim on water! It is suggested to use at least 6 cups of water for every one cup of amaranth, not because the little grains will absorb that much liquid, but because of what happens to the water that is left. To say "your cooking liquid will thicken slightly" is putting it delicately. Experiments done with the average amount of liquid (about 2 cups) left us with about two inches of excess water that was goopy and viscous, in part due to starch being released by amaranth as it cooks. A brief rinse using a fine-mesh strainer is advised after cooking the grain.
Amaranth recipes are available from:
AMARANTH SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTIONS
No Warnings. Gluten-Free.
Amaranth remains an active area of scientific research for both human nutritional needs and foraging applications. Over 100 scientific studies suggest a somewhat conflicting picture on possible anti-nutritional and toxic factors in amaranth, more so in some particular strains of amaranth. Lehmann, in a review article, identifies some of these reported anti-nutritional factors in amaranth to be phenolics, saponins, tannins, phytic acid, oxalates, protease inhibitors, nitrates, polyphenols and phytohemagglutinins. Of these, oxalates and nitrates are of more concern when amaranth grain is used in foraging applications. Some studies suggest thermal processing of amaranth, particularly in moist environment, prior to its preparation in food and human consumption may be a promising way to reduce the adverse effects of amaranth's anti-nutritional and toxic factors.
AMARANTH GRAIN & HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS & RELATED PRODUCTS
QUALITY SUPPLIES & PRODUCTS
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AMARANTH GRAIN, FLOUR & HERBAL PRODUCTS
Amaranth Food Products
HerbsPro: Amaranth Grain, Organic, Now Foods, 1 lb.
HerbsPro: Clusters With Toasted Coconut. Healthy Grains, 11 oz. (Case of 6)
Oats and Honey Clusters with Toasted Coconut combine full flakes of toasted coconut, a touch of honey and whole grains amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet, and buckwheat for a naturally sweet snack. These hand-crafted clusters are a good source of fiber and provide 17grams of whole grains per serving.
HerbsPro: Vanilla Blueberry Clusters With Flaxseeds. Healthy Grains, 11 oz. (Case of 6)
Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flaxseeds are a nutritionally rich blend of blueberries, flaxseeds and whole grains amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet and buckwheat with a hint of vanilla. These naturally sweet clusters are high in fiber and contain 750 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 16 grams of whole grains per serving.
HerbsPro: Cinnamon Oat Clusters With Flaxseeds. Healthy Grains, 11 oz. (Case of 6)
Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flaxseeds combine antioxidant rich cinnamon, flaxseeds and whole grains amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet and buckwheat for a delicious snack. These hand crafted clusters are high in fiber and contain 720 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 16 grams of whole grains per serving.
HerbsPro: Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters. Healthy Grains, 11 oz. (Case of 6)
Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters are a protein packed blend of peanuts and whole grains amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet and buckwheat. These delicious clusters provide 5 grams protein per serving and are a tasty way to get 16 grams of whole grains per serving.
HerbsPro: Oat & Honey Bars. Healthy Grains, 5 x 1.2 oz.
Gluten free, 100% whole grains, all natural GMO containing 5 super grains Oats, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth, and Buckwheat.
HerbsPro: Vanilla Blueberry Bars. Healthy Grains, 5 x 1.2 oz.
Gluten free, 100% whole grains, all natural GMO containing 5 super grains Oats, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth, and Buckwheat.
HerbsPro: Chocolate Chunk Bars. Healthy Grains, 5 x 1.2 oz.
Gluten free, 100% whole grains, all natural GMO containing 5 super grains Oats, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth, and Buckwheat.
Amaranth Skin Care Products
HerbsPro: Argan Oil & Amaranth Anti-Wrinkle Eye Care, Dr. Scheller, 0.5 oz.
Natural and effective, wrinkle depth is reduced by up to 25% within 4 weeks. Perfect for mature and demanding skin. Free of silicones, minerals oils, parabens, synthetic colorants and is dermatologist tested for skin tolerance and efficiency. Vegan formula.
HerbsPro: Argan Oil & Amaranth Anti Wrinkle Intensive Serum, Dr. Scheller, 1 oz.
HerbsPro: Argan Oil & Amaranth Anti-Wrinkle Night Care, Dr. Scheller, 1.7 oz.
Natural and effective, anti-wrinkle night care for firming and demanding skin.
HerbsPro: Argan Oil & Amaranth Anti-Wrinkle Day Care, Dr. Scheller, 1.8 oz.
Natural and effective, wrinkle depth is reduced by up to 33% within 4 weeks. Skin elasticity is improved by an average of 24% within 4 weeks. Perfect for mature and demanding skin. Free of silicones, minerals oils, parabens, synthetic colorants and is dermatologist tested for skin tolerance and efficiency. Vegan formula.
HerbsPro: Argan Oil & Amaranth Beauty Mask Sachets, Dr. Scheller, 15 Count
Kalyx: Amaranth Flour, Gluten Free, Bob's Red Mill, 25 lbs: GR
Kalyx: Amaranth Sprout Powder, Kalyx Bulk Products, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
Amazon: Amaranth Herbal Health Products
Amazon: Amaranth Skin Care Health Products
Amazon: Amaranth Grocery & Gourmet Food Products
Nutrition Basics: Amaranth Herbal Information
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction
NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
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