The popularity of amaranth and its products is growing. This trend is developing due to the improvement of the technology of growing, collecting and processing a unique culture, an approach to creating new products. But the healing properties of amaranth remain almost in the foreground. These features are discussed at thematic meetings and forums, as well as when looking for new markets and ways of cooperation.
Nutritional and medicinal properties in the foreground
The expressions “bread of the Aztecs” and “golden grain of God” characterize amaranth most vividly from the very beginning of its history. A few centuries ago, people appreciated the extraordinary nutritional properties of this plant, and bread from it added strength, and the grain was used to prepare the necessary dishes. The special properties of infusions, decoctions and just amaranth leaves were noticed. Only with the development of science were the nutritional and medicinal features of an unusual plant investigated.
The composition of amaranth seeds is especially valued for its protein content, which has a large amount of essential amino acids. It:
- lysine (4.3-6.5%);
- threonine (3.1-3.8%);
- tyrosine from phenylalanine (4.6-8.1%).
Amaranth seeds contain 2-3 times more lysine and methionine than cereals. So, for example, the lysine content in amaranth per 100 g of protein is 8.0, and in rice – 3.8, corn – 2.9, wheat – 2.2 and beans – 5.0.
Amaranth protein, in terms of the ratio of essential amino acids (75%), to a greater extent than other grain proteins, approaches the required balance of amino acids and surpasses soy protein (68%), wheat protein (57%) and milk protein (72%). It surpasses many cultivated cereals in these indicators. So, proteins of soybeans, lentils, peas, beans lack sulfur-containing amino acids: methionine, cysteine, lysine, threonine, phenylalanine. According to the results of scientific research, amaranth protein in terms of amino acid ratio is included in the list of the best proteins of plant origin. Its use in food makes human nutrition truly complete and balanced in amino acid composition.
In addition, amaranth protein is easy to digest. In terms of protein assimilation, amaranth seeds are significantly superior to wheat and corn. According to research by scientists, the protein content in the seeds of various amaranth species is 11.6 – 18.6%. The nutritional value of amaranth protein is very high, and in terms of the amount of essential amino acids, it is very close to the ideal FAO protein, 97%. According to nutritionists, the nutritional quality of amaranth is higher than that of buckwheat. In terms of its nutritional properties, it is equal to milk. Its seeds taste like a nut, and when heated, they turn into an appetizing crunchy product. Bread is baked with amaranth flour. In terms of the use of amaranth in food, it can be compared with spinach and cabbage. A wonderful salad is prepared from the tender leaves of young plants. It is not surprising that on the table, for example, of an American, every third dish includes amaranth products.
The high taste and nutritional properties of this plant provide it with free access to the palaces of nobles and shacks of the poor around the world. In African countries (Dahomey), the consumption of leaves in food for 1 day is up to 250 g per 1 inhabitant. Amaranth is especially valuable in humid tropics as food for children. Experts believe that eating 250 g of amaranth leaves per day does not threaten the body with the harmful effects of oxalic acid. In order not to lose nutritional properties and vitamin C, amaranth is boiled in a small amount of water for several minutes.
The healing properties of amaranth have been known since ancient times and were used, for example, by doctors from Ancient China and other countries. So, it was found that all parts of amaranth have medicinal properties. Flowers, leaves, seeds, stems are equally nutritious and tasty, and they are used to treat many diseases and for prevention.
Amaranth contains more squalene than anywhere else, a unique substance that promotes rejuvenation of the body, increased immunity, and quick recovery from illness. It can be used for cancer (tumor growth slows down and the rate of metastasis formation slows down).
Vitamins, micro- and macroelements contained in this plant also play a significant role. All of them contribute to the general strengthening of the body, help in complex treatment for various diseases. Even considering that the whole plant and its products have healing properties, amaranth seed oil is recognized as the most effective. As a result of its application, the following occurs:
- preventing the formation of blood clots and improving the general condition of blood vessels;
- fast healing of ulcers;
- reduction of manifestations of eczema;
- neutralization of inflammatory processes in the mouth and throat;
- solving problems in the gynecological field;
- normalization of metabolism and weight.
All these properties are responsible for the increased interest in amaranth throughout the world. Next, we will talk about foreign experience, and about individual examples. All this in an interview with an extremely interesting person.
From personal needs to large scale recycling
First, about the use of amaranth in Bulgaria, a country that may seem far from growing amaranth for food and medicinal purposes.
So, in Bulgaria, amaranth is mainly grown as an ornamental plant, and they are mainly interested in varieties with the brightest flowers. On thematic sites, various forums, you can see a lot of reviews about the indescribable beauty of blooming amaranth (and there are many such varieties!), That on the site where it is grown, the owners and guests feel very comfortable and seem to be gaining strength and energy. But it seems that the history of the plant is enriched with new pages. As an example, we can talk about the business started by the entrepreneur Petr Drachuk. This will be discussed in an interview with an extremely interesting person, a Ukrainian, who has long linked his fate with Bulgaria. Now he grows amaranth for processing into oil and other products, etc. according to the interlocutor, he enjoys it, because amaranth:
– useful in consumption and helps in improving the body. And the manufacturer has a good profit from selling such products.
Consumers are satisfied with the fact that they consume gluten-free organic products, which are rich in vitamins and trace elements that provide health and long life.
Amaranth contains squalene, which fills cells with oxygen, restoring them. This makes the skin younger and the like.
– Is there a demand for amaranth and products from it in Bulgaria?
– In Bulgaria, they don’t know about amaranth yet. Here we heard only about the amaranth, and did not know about amaranth until we began to distribute and advertise it. So I talked to the doctors, and then … As they read, then “yes, yes, yes.” There are salons where we distribute amaranth, we distribute books about it and various literature about it, we talk about amaranth. This is provided that they have not yet seen the products that are produced in Ukraine.
There is demand only in stores – we have German stores, a whole network, but they only contain amaranth grain from India. But the quality of those products is much inferior to Ukrainian amaranth.
Bulgaria is clean – there are no metallurgical plants, no machine-building or chemical plants. And we are practically on the same parallel with Nikolaev, Dnepropetrovsk, and our land is similar. So we grow amaranth, and there are people who already agree to buy it from us.
At the time of our conversation, 20 tons had already been collected and stored in the storage, and the collection of amaranth continued. Such indicators are not worse than in the best farms that are members of the Association of Amaranth and Amaranth Producers in Ukraine, and it became simply interesting to learn more about Mr. Drachuk’s acquaintance with Ukrainian farmers.
– I somehow had a health problem (I was gasping for breath, my heart stopped), and at night it was as if the Holy Spirit woke me up and said: “Look at your phone”. At 3:00 am I started reading and called my brother in Kiev, and he said: “Yes, amaranth oil is produced here.” He gave it to me, and I began to drink it, and after three or four days I felt good, the suffocation was gone, and now I am happy, I sing.
Now Petr Drachuk is an entrepreneur, founder of the amaranth growing and processing company “Amaranth in Bulgaria”. The appearance of a plant for the manufacture of dietary supplements is also associated with his name. There are agreements with the brothers Andrey and Sergey Shvedovs (NPK Amarant) on equipping the enterprise with equipment.
– Have you talked about cooperation with Ukrainian amaranth producers?
– I have such a broad and good relationship in the plans. I plan to sow 500 hectares next year. It will be somewhere over 1,000 tons, and I will build a plant. I have already agreed with Shvedov and your / our chairman of the Association, they will build a plant for me from scratch and on a turnkey basis.
– And you will process grain there for oil?
– We will produce not only oil using technology. We will process the grain according to the Shvedov brothers’ technology. There will be butter, flour, noodles and so on.
Here, a person from Austria brought me popcorns, and they are very expensive there: 100 g – 3 euros with something, almost 4.
– Will it be cheaper for you?
– Yes, of course, yes. Because we won’t have big expenses.
And I plan, together with your Association, to continue to “cut the window to Europe”, to pave the way for the sale of both Ukrainian and Bulgarian amaranth to Europe, to the east and west. We have Muslims here – Turks, Arabs, we already communicate with them, and they know about amaranth, but they sell Indian to the Emirates. Especially the Arabs are looking forward to our amaranth.
How we build and equip the plant, we will process amaranth stalks into granules.
Here I am 75 years old, and I feel young (and my wife is young), full of strength and energy to complete everything that I have in mind.
– So, you, your family are consuming amaranth products.
– Porridge, butter (they sent me a parcel from Kharkov). They brought from Nikolaev … – I asked to bring them, so that I would open exhibitions here in different cities. This is so that people know about amaranth, get used to it.
– Does your wife also take amaranth?
– Yes, and I got the whole family here.
It is interesting that Petr Drachuk (he is an economist by education) has never been directly associated with crop production (unless in childhood, because he grew up in a village and had to do any work). Now he succeeds thanks to natural tenacity and perseverance.
– I have read so much … If you are “burning” with something, then you will learn everything, read everything, and God helps such, as they say. Plus, I feel much younger and energized to make healthy foods.
Petr Markovich Burchuk’s plans include not only the production of healthy products, but also documentary confirmation of their high quality, obtaining the relevant certificates at the European and international levels. And he is convinced that he will cope with all the tasks set by himself, because he will work together with others, like-minded people and partners.
– Our strength lies in the commonwealth. We must unite and go together towards the goal that is in the heart and mind.
About Petro Drachuk’s cooperation with Ukrainian producers of amaranth and amaranth products, we can say that many issues are planned to be resolved during the “Taste of Ukraine” festival, which will be held on September 23-26 in Kiev.