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An article published in Science Magazine in 1977 claimed that amaranth might be “the grain of the future.”
Amaranth is a very small seed that is often treated like a grain. But amaranth is not a grain. It is a grain-like seed.
And technically speaking, amaranth is a pseudo-cereal. In other words, it does not come from true cereal grass—like wheat, rye, and barley do. Other pseudo-cereals include quinoa and buckwheat.
Grain-like seeds such as amaranth are gluten-free. They are dense with protein. And amaranth still contains fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the colon.
Amaranth Is High in Protein
Let's hear it for amaranth! This simple grain-like seed is an impressive source of protein and can even reduce the risk of hypertension, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Amaranth may look tiny, but it packs a powerful punch.
In ancient Mexico, the Aztec people called amaranth huautli. Amaranth nourished infants. It gave energy to warriors on long journeys. (1) Historians tell us that it accounted for up to 80% of their diet! (2)
These days, you can find amaranth seed and amaranth flour in most health food stores.
Amaranth is a high-quality protein. It contains more protein than grains from cereal grasses. (3) As it turns out, amaranth is also unusually high in lysine—an essential protein that most grains and grain-like seeds are missing.
Mixing a small amount of amaranth with corn makes a complete protein. (4) And according to some sources, a 1:1 ratio of amaranth and rice can fulfill the body’s protein requirements. (5)
The Benefits of Amaranth
Amaranth, which is easy to harvest, also contains compounds that—according to the latest research—are proving more important than ever. (6)
Researchers now claim that amaranth contains a particular group of enzyme inhibitors that may have anti-carcinogenic activity. This is because amaranth seed contains an important enzyme inhibitor. This enzyme inhibitor has been found to block the growth of breast cancer. (7)
Other studies have discovered that the oils naturally found in amaranth seed may help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood cholesterol, and reduce hypertension. (8)
Amaranth also contains a protein that inhibits something in the body called Angiotensin Converting Enzyme, or ACE. (9) This means that some proteins in amaranth show similar properties to ACE-inhibitor drugs, which are often prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
Research shows that amaranth is an effective antioxidant. Amaranth oil is especially good at protecting cellular membranes from oxidative damage. (10)(11)
Amaranth in the Kitchen: 2 Ways to Enjoy This Grain-Like Seed
There are a few ways to prepare and enjoy amaranth. Before all preparations, always do a basic soak and rinse of amaranth seed—soak amaranth seeds in filtered water for at least 8 hours. Add one tablespoon of InnergyBiotic to help “soften” the seeds.
Give amaranth a try:
1. Creamy Amaranth:
- 1 cup amaranth seeds, soaked and rinsed
- 4 cups filtered water
Combine amaranth seeds and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once at a gentle boil, lower heat to simmer. Cook for 20–25 minutes and stir often, until creamy.
Make your Creamy Amaranth sweet by stirring in a pinch of cinnamon and a few drops of Stevia Liquid Concentrate as it cooks.
2. Amaranth Sprouts:
To prepare amaranth sprouts, soak for 30 minutes in filtered water. Rinse and drain. 8 hours later, rinse and drain amaranth again. After another 8 hours, rinse and drain. After another 8 hours, repeat the cycle one more time.
After three 8 hour-cycles of rinsing and draining, your amaranth seeds should have sprouted tiny roots. They are ready to eat!
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Amaranth is a gluten-free, grain-like seed with a dense protein content. Ancient Aztecs used to rely on amaranth to nourish infants and strengthen warriors before a long journey.
Today, amaranth still tops the charts as a super seed and high-quality protein source. Amaranth's benefits are many and may include:
- Enzyme inhibitor that can block the growth of breast cancer.
- Contains natural oils that lower cholesterol, reduce hypertension, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Contains proteins similar to ACE-inhibitors prescribed to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
- Powerful antioxidant to protect against oxidative damage.
Amaranth is easy to prepare and enjoy at home. Try creamy amaranth sweetened with Stevia Liquid Concentrate or soaked amaranth sprouts to add a heart healthy dose of protein to your diet!
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- Stallknecht, G. F., & Schulz-Schaeffer, J. R. (1993). Amaranth rediscovered. New crops. Wiley, New York, 211-218.
- National Academy of Sciences. (1975) Underexploited tropical plants with promising economic value. Nat. Acad. Sci., Washington, DC.
- Bressani R. (1989) The proteins of grain amaranth. Food Rev Int, 5:13-38.
- Morales, E., J. Lembcke, and G.G. Graham. (1988) Nutritional value for young children of grain amaranth and maize-amaranth mixtures: effect of processing. J. Nutr. 118:78-85.
- Singhal, R.S., and P.R. Kulkami. (1988) Review: amaranths-an underutilized resource. Int. J. Food Sci. Tech., 23:125-139.
- De La Rosa, A. P. B., Silva-Sánchez, C., & De Mejia, E. G. (2007). Amaranth: an ancient crop for modern technology. In ACS Symposium Series (pp. 103-116).
- Tamir, S., Bell, J., Finlay, T. H., Sakal, E., Smirnoff, P., Gaur, S., & Birk, Y. (1996). Isolation, characterization, and properties of a trypsin-chymotrypsin inhibitor from amaranth seeds. Journal of protein chemistry, 15(2), 219-229.
- Martirosyan, D. M., Miroshnichenko, L. A., Kulakova, S. N., Pogojeva, A. V., & Zoloedov, V. I. (2007). Amaranth oil application for coronary heart disease and hypertension. Lipids Health Dis, 6(1), 1.
- Angel Huerta-Ocampo, J., & Paulina Barba de la Rosa, A. (2011). Amaranth: a pseudo-cereal with nutraceutical properties. Current Nutrition & Food Science, 7(1), 1-9.
- Briedis V, Povilaitytë V, Kazlauskas S, Venskutonis PR. (2003). Polyphenols and anthocyanins in fruits, grapes wines, and evaluation of their antioxidant activity, Medicina, 39(2):104-111.
- Kim Hye Kyung, Kim Mi Jeong, Cho Hong Yon, Kim Eun-Ki, Shin Dong Hoon. (2006). Antioxidative and anti-diabetic effects of amaranth (Amaranthus esculantus) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Cell Biochem Funct, 24(3):1.
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