Food Product Highlight

Amaranth

May 23, 2016

Amaranth

We all know quinoa, but meet the less popular grain-like seed, but similarly nutritious and delicious cousin of quinoa; Amaranth. Cultivated by the Aztecs 8,000 years ago and still a native crop in Peru, amaranth is gaining increasing popularity. So read up on this interesting superfood in this week’s Product Highlight!

  • Amaranth is great to add to your diet if you’re looking to lose weight. 1 cup of cooked amaranth contains about 251 calories, which therefore can be referred to low-energy-dense-foods, so it helps fill you up faster on fewer calories
  • Unlike other grains, amaranth is a complete source of protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids, just as meats and poultry do. Protein in foods is necessary to help your body build and maintain the proteins found in your cells, muscles and organs
  • Amaranth is a good source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals that you need for good health, including B vitamins, calcium, iron and zinc. The B vitamins help your body turn the food you eat into energy, as well as make blood cells. The iron in the grain assists with the transportation of oxygen throughout your body
  • At 105% of the daily value per serving, the manganese in amaranth is off the charts, yet it contains fewer carbohydrates. Also, amaranth contains 6 to 10% oil, including linoleic acid, required for optimum nutrition
  • For all the people looking for gluten-free options, amaranth is a great, because it’s not a real grain. Amaranth flour is often used to thicken soups and sauced and you can also use it for gluten-free baking
  • Lysine is an essential amino acid, which often lacks in vegetables and grains. Amaranth has a good amount of lysine which helps the body absorb calcium, build muscle, and produce energy. Also, if you’re suffering from cold sores, increasing the intake of lysine might help blocking another sore popping up

Note: Amaranth, like most seeds, nuts, and grains, does contain some phytic acid, that can bind to many minerals and keep us from digesting and absorbing vital nutrients. It’s always better to soak, ferment, or sprout seeds and grains before cooking them to neutralize most of the phytic acid

Photo credit: Staple food grains of the world, Section A: Amaranth via photopin (license)

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