In one of the previous articles, based on the work of A. V. Zheleznov, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, we told about the history of the spread of amaranth. In this material we will talk about the beneficial properties of the plant – again, based on the research of a reputable scientist.
His work is an excellent material, the content of which confirms the benefit of the plant. After reading the article, you will see that amaranth is indeed an incredibly valuable gift of nature that can provide humanity with balanced and wholesome food.
Recall! The work of Dr. Zheleznov was published in the journal Chemistry and Life XXI Century No. 6 for 2005. The original title of the article is “Amaranth: bread, spectacle, medicine”. We have prepared excerpts from the work, which will make it easier for our readers to get acquainted with amaranth.
Factory of useful substances
Doctor of Agricultural Sciences A. V. Zheleznov focuses on the fact that amaranth contains a large number of biologically active substances. That is why its use is justified in the food and pharmaceutical industry.
In particular, there is a high protein content. If in usual, usual for us bread cultures its quantity does not exceed 13%, then in amaranth – 16% of protein! Most of it is globulins and albumin, characterized by a balanced amino acid composition. They are perfectly assimilated by the body.
At the same time, alcohol-soluble prolamins, which are not balanced in composition, do not exceed 12.6% of the total amount of proteins. But in the cereals such prolamins – from 30 to 40%!
In addition, Zheleznov focuses on the fact that in the composition of amaranth there are glutelins – these are alkali-soluble proteins. According to their nutritional value, they are very close to albumin and globulins mentioned above.
Note! Most researchers who study and study amaranth are convinced that the plant is an excellent source of vegetable protein and essential amino acids. Provide them in the right amount for the body is not able to traditional cereal crops growing in our country.
Amaranth contains a large amount of lysine – 2 times more than in wheat and 3 times more than in corn.
The main value of amaranth is protein. He is almost perfect. For example, if an ideal protein equals to 100 units, then the amaranth protein equals 75 units. For comparison, in order to understand how much amaranth surpasses other cultures, we give the following figures:
- corn protein is 44 units;
- wheat protein – 57;
- barley protein – 62 units;
- soy protein – 68 units.
By the way! The value of the protein contained in cow’s milk is 72 units. That is, also less than that of amaranth protein.
Separately, it is worth noting the level of fat content – 5-6%. At the same time, they are based on unsaturated fatty acids:
This set of acids, as Dr. Zheleznov writes in his work, is also called vitamin F. Amaranth blossoms.
The next important feature of amaranth is that the lipid fraction of seeds contains up to 10% squalene. Further quotation from the work of the researcher: “Squalene hydrocarbon (C30H50) is the main precursor of triterpenes and steroids, including sterols and their derivatives. Other substances are also formed from it: some sapogenins that make up saponins, cardiac glycosides, glycoalkaloids and some hormones of animal origin. ”
Sterols are another important ingredient. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that it, together with proteins, forms complex complexes that are involved in the construction of intracellular membranes.
One of the most characteristic representatives of the sterol group is a substance called ergosterol (its chemical formula is C28H43OH). This type of serols is also found in the following natural formations:
- wheat grains;
- mold fungi;
- horns of ergot.
A unique feature of ergosterol is that when exposed to ultraviolet rays produced vitamins of group D.
As Dr. Zheleznov notes, there are 18 sterols in the green of amaranth. Some of them are necessary for the successful treatment of such diseases as atherosclerosis. What makes amaranth important herbal products for patients with this disease.
Notes the researcher and the role of squalene. Previously, this substance was available only in the liver of a deep-sea shark. Its cost reached $ 800 per liter. However, relatively recently, squalene was identified in amaranth, which will allow preserving deep-sea sharks.
Starch and pectins in amaranth
Depending on the variety, the type of amaranth, it contains from 55 to 62% starch. Amaranth starch granules – small. Their size ranges from 0.8 to 2.5 microns. For example, the size of starch granules in potatoes is from 15 to 100 microns.
Physicochemical and functional properties of starch directly depend on the size of the granules. Amaranth starch is characterized by the following features:
- increased swelling.
Amaranth starch is formed by two types of polysaccharides – amylopectin and amylose. They have certain differences in their chemical and physical properties. Amylose molecules are a linear polymer, and amylopectin molecules are a branched polymer.
During the gelatinization process, amylose gives a gel outside the starch granules, while amylopectin remains inside the swollen granules and slowly recrystallizes. As Dr. Zheleznov notes in his work: “to know the structure and functional features of amylose and amylopectin, their ratio in starch is necessary in order to develop technologies for producing different products from starch and to regulate their properties”.
An attractive feature of amaranth is the fact that pectins are present in the grains of this plant. But they are presented in the form of insoluble protopectin. In the production of products, this substance is intended to create jelly, but in the medical field, pharmacology, they are used to ensure the removal of radionuclides and heavy metals from the body.
It is established that the ground part of amaranth contains about 10% of pectins. Pectic substances obtained from amaranth are a special amorphous powder that dissolves perfectly in water, after which viscous solutions are formed. Color depends on how exactly these substances were obtained. Their structure is comparable to apple pectins, but in general, their composition is excellent, albeit slightly.
Vitamins in amaranth
In his work, the doctor of agricultural sciences Zheleznov separately stops on the content of vitamins in amaranth. In particular, those present in greenery – amaranth leaves contain:
- B vitamins;
- vitamin C;
- vitamin E;
Moreover, their number is much greater than in other vegetable plants. The data obtained from studies indicate that ascorbic acids in different forms of amaranth are different. For example, in some they make up 21 mg%, while in others they reach a level of 70 mg%.
At the same time, a high content of ascorbic acid in a dry amaranth substance is noted – it reaches a figure of 443 mg%.
Therefore, we can say with confidence that the amaranth on this indicator is very close to such vegetables and fruits as:
- white cabbage;
- new potatoes;
It is noted that vitamins such as C and E are excellent antioxidants. The importance of these vitamins is that they take the blow that free radicals cause, thereby protecting the body from damage. This is especially important for residents of large cities. Since it is important for them to find a new source of vitamins, nutrients. Therefore, amaranth will be the very plant that will help people!
Other substances contained in amaranth
As Dr. Zheleznov notes, amaranth contains a large amount of plant substances of secondary origin, which are produced in cells, and then take part in various processes of a synthetic type.
For example, substances such as flavonoids stimulate the synthesis of nucleic acids, as evidenced by an increase in the amount of DNA and RNA. In addition, flavonoids such as were found in amaranth leaves:
In particular, it was found that the level of routine is 3%. Approximately as much as in the green leaves of buckwheat. At the moment, it is she who represents the main source of routine. But in the future, amaranth can, if not completely replace it, then supplement it.
However, you need to understand that amaranth gives a mass of leaves twice. Therefore, in reality, amaranth can not only be a complete replacement for buckwheat. Ultimately, the output of the routine from the occupied area will be large.
New substance amarantine
Dr. Zheleznov writes that some varieties of a plant can produce a substance such as amarantine. Its chemical formula is C29H31N2O19. This substance belongs to the group of alkaloids – this is betalain.
Here is another quote from Zheleznov’s material: “The amarantin molecule consists of a violet-red aglycone (a dehydroindole ring connected by a two-carbon bond with a dehydropyridine ring) and a carbohydrate part (glucose molecule and glucuronic acid). In the leaves, amarantine is present in three forms – in free, which is extracted with water or diluted alcohol solutions, and also associated with protein or pectin. ”
According to the research, it was found that the content of amarantin in the leaves of the plant varies from 3.8 to 5.2% of dry weight. Amarantin is a friable powder of dark violet-red color with a slight metallic luster.
Amarantin is an important element. He is directly involved in various redox reactions of photosynthesis. One plant contains an average of up to 12 milligrams of amarantin. Although this figure is not a reference, it can vary depending on the variety, type, cultivation of amaranth.
Amaranth mineral composition
However, the mineral composition of amaranth, as Dr. Zheleznov notes, still requires more detailed study. In particular, at the time of writing (it was in 2005), 27 micro and macro elements were found in amaranth grains. In particular, there is a high content:
Naturally, the level of the content of a particular micro or macro element directly depends on the type of variety and the characteristics of its blooming amaranth growth (for example, the climatic zone). Examples of potassium content in amaranths of different varieties are given in the doctor’s work:
- Shuntuk – 58200 grams per ton;
- Atlant – 114200 grams per ton;
- Elbrus – 156300 grams per ton.
As Zheleznov notes, these varieties were bred in the USSR (respectively, in Maikop, Vinnitsa and Dagestan), and as early as the beginning of the 90s of the last century entered into the State Register.
Amaranth leaves are characterized by a large set of mineral substances. As a result of research, it was found that they contain: potassium, calcium and phosphorus, trace elements (B, Si, Mg, Mn, Ti, Zn and Fe). All this allows the production of various biological active additives.
As you can see, the work of Dr. Zheleznov once again confirms that amaranth is a unique plant, which contains a large number of important and beneficial substances for the body.
It is clear that since its writing – it was in 2005 – a lot of time has passed for modern science. Therefore, many new drugs, supplements. Both medical and cosmetology. But the essence of the work in another is to prove how valuable the plant is!