Amaranth

Amaranth ~ Super Grains

For the uninitiated, this is another ancient seed that resembles cornmeal.

This super grain first showed up as part of the pre-Columbian Aztecs’ diet and culture.

It has more iron, protein and fiber than wheat and it’s gluten-free.

It’s also a great source of magnesium.

Which, along with a whole-foods-based diet that also includes potassium and fiber.

Can help promote healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as bone health.

Though banned by the Spanish conquistadors for its role in Aztec religious practices.

The grain’s use as a food has endured.

The plant is actually an annual herb rather than a true grain.

It has been traditionally grown as an ornamental plant.

(some of the tricolor varieties are quite striking), vegetable (for its leaf), and a grain (for its seed).

The seed can be used as a cereal.

Sprouts can be added to salads, toasted, popped, cooked as a side dish.

Or ground into flour for use in breads, pasta, and other baked goods.

Amaranth is very high in fiber and protein.

And it contains amino acids that are not found in traditional grains. (i.e. lysine, methionine), as well as calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C.

One 2009 study.

Found that the grain could have a significant role in treating hyperglycaemia.

(high blood sugar).

And staving off diabetic complications.

Selection and Storage

Amaranth is a tiny, yellow grain.

It can be bought as a whole grain ("pearled"), as a flour, or as rolled flakes.

It's also found as an ingredient in cereals and crackers.

Amaranth is not widely grown and is a bit difficult to harvest, so it's more expensive than other grains.

But, remember, you get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck.

Keep amaranth in a tightly closed container to prevent insect infestation.

And store in a cool, dry location to prevent healthy fats in it from turning rancid.

Besides being super healthy, it’s convenient too.

Unlike other whole grains that can take 45 minutes to cook, amaranth is ready in 20.

Substitute it in recipes for polenta or grits, or pop it like popcorn.

This ancient grain can also be combined with wheat flour in recipes for breads, muffins and pasta.

For something new, different, and nutritious in your diet.

Try it and have some fun experimenting and discovering your favorite ways to use it.

To Cook

Cook one cup of grains in three cups of water (yield: three cups).

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.

The final consistency will be thick, like porridge.

If you want to cook it with another grain.

Such as oatmeal or rice, substitute this one for about a quarter of the other grain.

Then cook as you would for that grain.

To Pop

Stir a tablespoon at a time over high heat, in an un-greased covered skillet, until the grain pops, like corn.

This can be used as a breading for fish or chicken or to top salads and soups.

You and your family can enjoy many different foods made from this ancient grain.

In some countries, amaranth is even made into sweets.

This plant is easy to grow, is appealing to look at, and you can use it to make many delicious and nutritious foods.

Health Benefits

Even when a little is in a recipe, the benefit is worth it.

For anyone cutting down on meat.

This super grain offers a bonanza of near-complete protein.

It's not as low in the amino acid lysine, as many other grains are.

It's also much richer in iron, magnesium, and calcium than most grains.

So it can help keep anemia and osteoporosis at bay.

It excels as a source of fiber, mostly insoluble.

Which is of help in reducing the risk of a variety of diseases. Including heart disease, certain cancers and digestive-tract conditions.

One of the most important features of this grain is the fact that it doesn’t contain gluten.

If you or someone you know has Celiac disease, then you know how important this characteristic is.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder.

Affecting the small bowel.

Which consists of an adverse reaction to a gluten protein found in wheat.

The symptoms can be quite debilitating.

And someone suffering from this disease has an extremely limited diet.

Considering the vast number of products out there that contain wheat.

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