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Amaranth grain: the Cereal of the future
 
Amaranth also known by the name Kiwicha, its use is customary in Peru, Mexico and Bolivia, Amaranth seeds provide a source of protein which other cereals can’t satisfy as well in regards of its protein.
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AMARANTH

Amaranth, like quinoa, was selected for the astronaut´s diet due to its high nutritional value, integrated use and brevity of their growing cycle and their ability to grow in unfavorable conditions in their development. Therefore, was described by NASA as CELLSS culture.

Amaranth happened to be grown in space travel since 1985, flowering in space during the orbital flight of the shuttle Atlantis 71 B.

HISTORY

The seed grain is known by us as Kiwicha or Amaranth, although scientists prefer to call it Amaranthus Caudatus. Its origin isn’t exactly known, but gets lost in time. Native to Peru, it has been cultivated here since time ancient times in our country, being found in Andean tombs over 4,000 years old.

Amaranth and its more than 1200 varieties had a fundamental role in the Inca Empire, as the food that was consumed for its excellence. However, the period after the Spanish arrived, its presence is almost nil, not nonexistent, but because it was consumed in secret and hidden behind the veil of fear and blame to those who enjoyed its magic. It is known that Incas used it in religious ceremonies, considering it a blessing of Mother Earth, because of its medicinal and nutritional properties. When the Spanish arrived and realized the importance of Amaranth in Incan devotion, they regarded it as sacrilege: A pagan act that had to be punished, and banned its cultivation and consumption. The same thing happened in Mexico, where, according to the chronicles, the ancient Mexicans made bread in the shape of small animals they worshiped the gods of earth, fire and rain. The Spanish used the same system, total repression at planting and consumption of Amaranth. Perhaps this is the reason why this food was so foreign to us in times where it has been present. But also highlights its importance to us modern times.

ORIGIN AND DESCRIPTION

Amaranth (Amaranthus Caudatus) is a rapidly growing Amarantácea plant with leaves, stems and purple flowers; this coloration is due to the presence of Betacaine’s. Its colorful flowers sprout from the main stem which sometimes measures up to 90 cm, creating colorful fields. There are about 1200 varieties still maintained in the Andes.

Amaranth easily adapts to different environments; it has an efficient type of photosynthesis which allows it to grow quickly not requiring much maintenance. Normally it grows at altitudes between 1,400 and 2,400 meters. But currently it is cultivated in different countries. It is sown in Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Guatemala, Mexico and even in South Africa. However, Peru is the leading producer where the ancestral species are harvested mainly in the valleys of Cusco, Ancash, Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Arequipa.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Amaranth is one of the most nutritious plants in the world. Botanists and nutritionists have studied this plant, found that has great nutritional value, especially high in protein, calcium, folic acid and vitamin C. Toasted amaranth seeds provide a superior source of protein, which can satisfy most of the recommended serving of protein for children, and can provide approximately 70% of dietary energy. A combination of rice and amaranth in a 1:1 ratio has been reported as excellent to meet the specifications of protein recommended by the World Health Organization.

Amaranth has twice as much lysine as wheat, three times that of corn, and as much lysine as found in milk.
The balance of amino acids in Amaranth is close to that required for human nutrition. Its most limiting amino acid is Leucine, which allows between 70% to 79% of protein to be absorbed. The protein of the Amaranthus Caudatus variety varies in absorption depending on the seed. The calculation is 86% amino acid in Amaranthus Hypochondriacus and Amaranthus Cruentus 77%. You can see the high biological value of protein compared with chemical scores of protein from wheat (73%) and soybean (74%), while animal proteins lack these amino acids.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF AMARANTH CEREAL COMPARED WITH COMMON CEREALS

 (100 g, crude, according to the USDA - United States Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture) 

 

AMARANTH

Rice    

 Wheat 

Yellow Corn 

Oats

Dietary Fiber

14.5 g

6.5 g

10.7 g 

9.4 g

16.9 g

Protein   

9.3 g

2.8 g

12.7 g 

7.3 g

10.6 g

Fat

6.5 g

0.5 g

2.0 g

4.7 g

6.9 g

Carbohidrates

66.2 g

79.2 g 

75.4 g

74.3 g

66.3 g

Calcium

153.0 mg

3.0 mg

34.0 mg

7.0 mg

54.0 mg

Iron

7.6 mg

4.23 mg

5.4 mg 

2.7 mg 

4.7 mg

Calories

374.0 kcal

358.0 kcal

340.0 kcal

365.0 kcal

389.0 kcal

Amaranth Flour

Protein

15.74 g

Dietary fiber which are insoluble


53.81 g - 79%

Calcium 

1533 mg

Phosphorus 

>  as recommended

PROPERTIES OF AMARANTH

NUTRITION

  • Among its main components is lysine, which is necessary for the construction of all proteins in the body.
  • It is also primarily responsible for calcium absorption, helps greatly in recovery from surgery, and sports injuries as well as encourages the production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies.
  • Helps lower cholesterol levels significantly in the blood.
  • Enhances mental development and stimulates the release of growth hormone, so it is advisable for child consumption.
  • Amaranth has dethroned milk as the queen of calcium. This is because 100 grams of Amaranth contain twice the amount of calcium than the same volume of milk. The absence of this protein results in weak bones and osteoporosis. In addition, very low levels of calcium in the blood increase the irritability of the fibers and the nerve centers, causing cramps.
  • Phosphorus is one of its components. Compound involved in vital functions of humans, regarded as an essential element for humans, the match is responsible for storing and transporting energy in our body. Its absence or low intake can produce tiredness and loss of concentration. Among other elements, we can find iron and vitamins A and C, which makes the “Kiwicha” a food with very high nutrients content.
  • With more proteins than corn, wheat and nearly triple the same proportion to that of milk.

TRADITIONAL USES

  • Contains proteins capable of eradicating colon cancer.
  • The diet, the extracts are used to produce light mayonnaise and dressings.
  • Has the amino acids your body needs.
  • It has been discovered that the extract of its seeds oil, this could help treat diabetes.
  • It has twice the protein of rice.
  • Useful in altered psychological states and situations of fear.
  • Serves as dietary and laxative.
  • Does not contain cholesterol.
  • 100% digestible.
  • Good for memory, since this super cereal helps by balancing calcium, phosphorus and magnesium levels, it can keep your brain in a good condition.
  • By containing lysine (amino acid of high biological value) it helps memory, high intelligence and learning, so it is recommended that children bring a stick of amaranth to school as a snack.
  • Amaranth (natural) can combat osteoporosis and anemia.

BENEFICIAL EFFECTS IN OUR BODIES

HEALTH

In the last three or four years, further investigation on the chemical composition of the oil from Amaranth grains to that of its leaves. However, it is seen that they contain a significantly higher amount of minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus and carotenoids, compared with most vegetables. There has also been determined that several species of Amaranth, Amaranthus Cruentus as paniculus and are good sources of flavonoid antioxidants.

For more than a decade there has been work done on the production of new products made from Amaranth grains and leaves for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. There are several investigations, including the one carried out in coordination between the Functional Foods Center at Dallas (USA), Voronezh State University, Russia, and the State Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, indicating the preventive and therapeutic value of Amaranth oil for the cardiovascular system. In this study, placebo-controlled clinical trial involved 125 patients who had undergone a coronary disorder or suffering from hypertension accompanied by obesity. The patients, men and women between 32 and 68 years were randomized to consume between 3 and 18 ml of amaranth oil daily. All participants followed the same dietary recommendations of a controlled-salt diet.

The main results were that the consumption of amaranth oil decreased the total amount of cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol significantly. Its beneficial effect was greater when used in a dose of 18 ml per day. Thus, although further investigations are needed, results indicate that Amaranth oil could be considered as an effective supplement for cardiovascular protection.

COSMETIC APPLICATIONS

The cosmetics industry which is increasingly turning to tools newly discovered natural advantages as an active ingredient, according to researcher Manuel Soriano, Institute of Chemistry, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), based in its capital. Confirmed in recent research: "7% of amaranth seed oil is made high in essential fatty acids (linoleic and linoleic), which are used to develop ancillary products to keep skin soft."

For its part, Amaranth seeds have emollient ingredients which balance the amount of fat) and reduce water loss through the epidermis, i.e., which helps the skin retain its natural moisture, even in dry climates. Its content of squalene (a natural constituent of the skin, dry texture absent) helps to improve flexibility and softness hairy (facial hair).It is available in day creams with oil of this seed which will soon be joined by evening presentations and massage lubricant solution.

AMARANTH RECIPES

Desserts: "Alegrías", crowbars or pepitorias (a type of seed bar made from pumpkin seeds and peanuts) enriched with honey, walnuts, raisins and coconut.

Flour: As a dough for making cakes or cookies made with whole grain flour, Amaranth, brown sugar, milk, corn oil, vanilla and cinnamon, it is rich in protein, fiber and energy. Their products are ideal for children´s lunchboxes and to prepare gruel tastes.

Natural inflated seed: Very versatile because you can add it to soups just before serving, to the dough of hot cakes, as well as to potato mixture pressed to prepare plain tortillas or with cheese.

Sweetened inflated seed: They are delicious add fruit or yogurt.

SPICY AMARANTH

Ingredients

  • 1 French bread
  • 2 cups evaporated skim milk, 300 grams of Amaranth
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 quarter cup of ground yellow pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground red pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 100 grams of ground peanuts / salt to taste

Preparation

Soak crumbled bread in milk, set aside. Pour one liter of water into a pot, add the Amaranth at a high heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 35 minutes and set aside. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and brown the onion, garlic, peppers and oregano and add the drained soaked bread and cook, stirring for four minutes. Then add the amaranth, milk from the soaked bread, peanuts and salt. Cook stirring for seven more minutes removes from heat and set aside.

AMARANTH TUNA CAKES WITH GREEN SAUCE

Cake ingredients

  • 250 grams of roasted amaranth
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • Salt to taste

Sauce ingredients

  • 500 grams of tomato
  • 100 grams of green chili (Serrano)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 slice onion
  • Potatoes, in quantities to taste (cooked and peeled)

Preparation

In a bowl place the Amaranth, tuna, eggs and salt, mix well and with wet hands, form patties, and finally fry on both sides. To prepare the sauce, boil the tomatoes with chills, garlic and onion, then blend and pour into a saucepan along with potatoes to let boil 5 minutes. Finally, pour the sauce over the patties.

AMARANTH CAKES WITH CHEESE

Ingredients
• 2 cups amaranth
• 1 cup shredded cheese
• 1 sprig parsley
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 eggs
• Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Mix thoroughly, cool in pan with small portions and serve accompanied by a low-fat salad.

 

BATHED AMARANTO BALLS WITH CHEESE

Ingredients

  • 150 grams of roasted amaranth
  • 4 minced fish fillets
  • ½ cup of boiled and chopped broccoli
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150 grams of yellow cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

In a bowl, mix Amaranth, fish, broccoli, eggs and salt to form the balls, place the batter in a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees. Heat milk and add cheese, stirring constantly until it melts. Remove the balls from the oven (with due care to not fall apart) and serve topped with cheese sauce.

 
INKANATURA - 24/04/2014

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Comments(1)
     
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1 I need seeds. If possible contact me at 207-415-8381. I must buy Kilos or Pounds…...
  M´VITA D M´BAMBI - 04/03/2014    Reply
 
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