Mar 28, 2011

Health benefits of Amaranth

It is not a true cereal grain at all, but is a relative of the pigweeds and the ornamental flowers we know as cockscomb. It's grown not only for its seeds, but for its leaves that can be cooked and eaten as greens (looks a little like spinach leaves).  The grains can be milled as-is, or the seeds can be toasted to provide more flavor. 

The flour lacks gluten, so it's not suited for raised breads, but can be made into any of a number of flat breads. Some varieties can be popped much like popcorn, or can be boiled and eaten as a cereal, used in soups, granolas, and the like. Toasted or untoasted, it blends well with other grain flours.  

It’s high in protein, particularly in the amino acid, Lysine, which is low in the cereal grains. In fact, Amaranth has the highest lysine content of all the grains in this study with Quinoa coming in a close second. To make your whole wheat bread a complete protein, substitute about 25% of your wheat flour with Amaranth flour. Amaranth, by itself, has a really nice amino acid blend. Just 150 grams of the grain is all that’s required to supply an adult with 100% of the daily requirement of protein! 

Amaranth is one of the highest grains in fiber content. This makes it an effective agent against cancer and heart disease. It also is the only grain in this study that contains significant amounts of phytosterols which scientists are just now learning play a major part in the prevention of all kinds of diseases. Amaranth is also rich in many vitamins and minerals.

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