We continue to acquaint you with foreign publications about amaranth. Today we present the entry found in the Spanish-language blog. The author describes in detail all the features of this unique plant, and also tells interesting facts that make it possible to understand how wide the scope of amaranth is.
We offer you an adapted translation of the Spanish text from the site http://rualonso.blogspot.com. However, we want to note that we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided. In addition, this text is not a direct recommendation for action, and presented to your attention for informational purposes.
Amaranth: the beginning
Many people are looking for natural products that will not only provide the body with energy that is important and necessary for fulfilling life, and will help in the fight against various diseases and withstand ailments.
Amaranth is an ancient plant that is found today in many parts of the world. Also, its remains were discovered during excavations at the sites of the Aztec, Mayan, and Incas settlements. For example, amaranth was discovered in the Andes, in tombs that are more than 4000 years old.
The nutritional properties of amaranth are so high that they began to use it in the preparation of food supplies for astronauts. In particular, amaranth is significantly higher than all other cereals in the level of protein content. Its overall nutritional value is higher than that of cow’s milk.
Note! Numerous studies show that amaranth was widely used in the culture of ancient Indian civilizations. And is truly an extraordinary culture. But, unfortunately, still too little used food plant.
Amaranth was chosen by NASA for the astronauts ration because of its high nutritional value, and also because it can grow in adverse conditions.
In particular, one NASA study indicates that amaranth is ideally suited for the CELSS system — the control of an ecological life support system. Planted plants will remove carbon dioxide, filling the surrounding atmosphere with oxygen, and the crop is suitable for food use.
Use amaranth in space flights in 1985. Then he grew on board the ship during the orbital flight of the shuttle Atlantis, and controlled its growth, tracked all the processes of the first Mexican astronaut, Dr. Rodolfo Neri Vela.
Amaranth: the general characteristics of the plant
Amaranth grains contain about 16% protein, which is slightly higher than the content in traditional cereals:
- 9.33% corn;
- 8.77% – rice;
- 14.84% is wheat.
However, its use is not only in quantity, but in quality. Which is confirmed by an excellent balance of amino acids.
We are talking about such a substance as lysine – an essential amino acid in the human diet. In addition, it is worth noting that the nutritional value of amaranth is comparable to the nutritional value of cow’s milk.
Note that according to the scale of the ideal protein (the maximum possible number of points – 100), amaranth protein, according to the World Health Organization, is estimated at 75 points. But to compare the assessment of protein from other products:
- 72 – cow’s milk;
- 68 – soybean;
- 60 – wheat;
- 44 – corn.
It is worth noting the high digestibility of amaranth grains – it reaches 93%. In addition, amaranth seeds do not contain gluten, and therefore are ideal for people suffering from celiac disease.
Previously, amaranth in unlimited quantities was included in the diet of the pre-Columbian peoples of Central America, especially the Mayans and Aztecs, who used it as a very important base for their diet.
Amaranth gives joy! Among the properties that are attributed to the plant, the following deserves special attention – it stimulates the production of hormones of joy and happiness. That is due to the content in the plant serotonin, a substance that is designed to fight bad mood and depression.
Amaranth for medical purposes
Regular use of amaranth will help:
- regulate blood sugar levels;
- reduce the risk of heart problems and increased cholesterol levels;
- perform the prevention of breast cancer, hypertension and osteoporosis;
- and in stimulating the development of muscles (especially it is recommended for athletes, young men, people who are constantly exposed to increased physical exertion);
- slow down the aging process;
- strengthen the immune system;
- intensify recovery processes after injuries or surgery.
Nutritional properties of amaranth
Despite significant medical properties, the main value of the plant lies precisely in its nutritional characteristics. Due to which amaranth is considered the best product for a balanced diet. Amaranth seeds in a hand. Because there is an optimal combination of proteins, vitamins and minerals, rich in the presence of dietary fiber, healthy fats and amino acids.
In addition, given the various forms of amaranth, it is easy to add it even to the daily diet. For example, it can be used as follows:
- grains for cooking porridge;
- flour – for baking;
- leaves – for salads;
- oil – as an additive in any other dishes.
The main component in the seed amaranth starch – ranges from 50 to 60% of its dry mass. The diameter of starch granules is from 1 to 3 microns, while in corn up to 10 times more, and in potatoes it can be up to 100 times more. Such small sizes of amaranth starch granules facilitate digestion!
Amaranth leaves are characterized by a high content of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin A and C.
The exceptional nutritional and physicochemical properties of amaranth proteins are well studied:
- contains a large amount of lysine;
- tryptophan and enough sulfur-containing amino acids.
While in most cereals, lysine and tryptophan are found in low proportions, like sulfur-containing amino acids in legumes.
Amaranth is a unique product of plant origin, in which large quantities contain not only protein, but also various minerals, vitamins:
- A, B, C, B1, B2, B3;
- folic acid;
- and phosphorus.
Interesting fact. Dehydrated foliage is used in the production of noodles (as a natural dye), and is used as a filler for confectionery, cakes and other sweets.
Other interesting facts and features of amaranth
Amaranth is very resistant to cold and dry climates, grows even on poor soils and in very humid tropics with very frequent rains (approx. 980 mm). Its high level of nutrients makes the plant an excellent alternative for regions in which other grains cannot grow due to the climate.
China is one of the largest manufacturers of amaranth. The leaves of this plant are very similar to spinach. Traditionally they are used in recipes of Asian, American and African cuisine.
Aztec and Amaranth A rather popular theory says that the origin of the word Caracas comes from the name of this plant, amaranth. Since the pre-Hispanic inhabitants of Venezuela called the plant the word “caraca”. And, apparently, that is why they began to call so the valley of Caracas.
In Mexico, amaranth is used to make porridge and sweets, lightly roasted seeds are mixed with honey or brown sugar to form a kind of candy.
The problem of possible food shortages for the inhabitants of the Earth prompted the National Academy of Sciences of the United States to conduct a comprehensive study to identify plants that can produce a rich harvest and that have great potential for development and distribution and, therefore, more nutritious effects.
As a result of the study among the 36 most promising crops on the planet, amaranth was chosen as the “best food of plant origin for human consumption.”
Amaranth sowed many peoples of Mexico and America. But it was almost completely eliminated in Mexico for religious reasons after the Spanish conquest. In the pre-Columbian period, the Aztecs grew amaranth as staple food, producing up to 20,000 tons per year.
Amaranth seeds Amaranth was used by the Aztecs in various religious, religious ceremonies. In particular, from the toasted seeds of amaranth, mixed with corn and syrup of agave, they built full-fledged human statues, which after the rituals were broken and distributed to the people.
During the last almost 50 years, amaranth production has been growing all over the world. Growing and consuming is a unique opportunity to solve the problems of poverty, food shortages and even complete hunger in rural regions of individual countries. That is due to the excellent characteristics and unsurpassed properties of this amazing plant.