Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Discovered! Amaranth

Thanks to Avani, I discovered Amaranth...Bioland has this cereal,
Amaranth con Carob that I started having for breakfast with oats
milk..(blended oats with honey and banana). It is really tasty and
super satisfying. We also put it on the menu today.

"Amaranth (Amaranthus) has a colorful history, is highly nutritious,
and the plant itself is extremely attractive and useful. Amaranth was
a staple in the diets of pre-Columbian Aztecs, who believed it had
supernatural powers and incorporated it into their religious
ceremonies. Before the Spanish conquest in 1519, amaranth was
associated with human sacrifice and the Aztec women made a mixture of
ground amaranth seed, honey or human blood then shaped this mixture
into idols that were eaten ceremoniously. This practice appalled the
conquistadors who reasoned that eliminating the amaranth would also
eliminate the sacrifices. The grain was forbidden by the Spanish, and
consequently fell into obscurity for hundreds of years. If not for the
fact that the cultivation of amaranth continued in a few remote areas
of the Andes and Mexico, it may have become extinct and completely
lost to us.

The name amaranth hails from the Greek for "never-fading flower." The
plant is an annual herb, not a "true" grain and is a relative of
pigweed, a common wild plant also known as lamb's-quarters, as well as
the garden plant we know as Cockscomb. There are approximately 60
species of amaranth and there is no definite distinction between
amaranth grown for the leaf (vegetable), and the seed (grain).

Amaranth can be cooked as a cereal, ground into flour, popped like
popcorn, sprouted, or toasted. The seeds can be cooked with other
whole grains, added to stir-fry or to soups and stews as a nutrient
dense thickening agent.

Amaranth seed is high in protein (15-18%) and contains respectable
amounts of lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are
not frequently found in grains. It is high in fiber and contains
calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C.

The fiber content of amaranth is three times that of wheat and its
iron content, five times more than wheat. It contains two times more
calcium than milk. Using amaranth in combination with wheat, corn or
brown rice results in a complete protein as high in food value as
fish, red meat or poultry.

Amaranth also contains tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) which have
cholesterol-lowering activity in humans. Cooked amaranth is 90%
digestible and because of this ease of digestion, it has traditionally
been given to those recovering from an illness or ending a fasting
period. Amaranth consists of 6-10% oil, which is found mostly within
the germ. The oil is predominantly unsaturated and is high in linoleic
acid, which is important in human nutrition.

The amaranth seeds have a unique quality in that the nutrients are
concentrated in a natural "nutrient ring" that surrounds the center,
which is the starch section. For this reason the nutrients are
protected during processing. The amaranth leaf is nutritious as well
containing higher calcium, iron, and phosphorus levels than spinach."

1 comment:

Nihan said...

Hayatta en sevdigim kitap olan Yuz Yillik Yanlizlik'ta kahramanlardan birinin adi Amaranta... Sayende ne demek oldugunu ogrenmis bulunuyorum.