Today we will talk about the study of doctors Brenda Rhodes and Ricardo Bressani, published in the Journal of the Latin American Nutrition Society back in 2009. The research was conducted at the Center for Food Science and Technology, Research Institute, University of the Valley of Guatemala, Guatemala.
However, despite the relatively long-term studies, they remain relevant today. Because the information obtained allows us to understand the true value of amaranth seeds. Including, as an alternative source of squalene.
We will not publish the entire report, highlighting only the most significant points from it.
Introduction: How the research was conducted
Six varieties of amaranth were selected for research – ordinary seeds, heat-treated seeds, as well as amaranth flour and amaranth oil were used. A comparison of all products was carried out according to several indicators.
Six varieties of amaranth grains were processed into several different types of flour, which allowed determining the content of the main types of elements:
The final indicators differed depending on the amaranth variety, and therefore weighted average data will be carried out in the future.
About amaranth: what information do the researchers provide
Amaranth seed, according to some, was grown in America for another four thousand years before Christ. The first of his Amaranth in Guatemala began to use the Mayan and Aztec tribes, but not only for cooking, but also in their religious ceremonies, which were abolished by the Spanish conquerors-colonizers. This is what led to a significant reduction in the production of amaranth, as well as its availability to people, despite the significant nutritional value of this plant.
In total, the Amaranthacea family has more than 60 genera and 800 species. Hypochondriacus amaranth and Amaranth crimson were cultivated in Mesoamerica (Mexico and Guatemala), and Amaranthus caudatus was cultivated in Peru.
In addition to the types and varieties that are focused on high grain yield, there are other types – leaves and greens are of particular value in them, due to the high content of protein, vitamins and microelements. Such varieties of amaranth are considered to be vegetable.
Because of its resistance to adverse environmental conditions, amaranth is ideal for growing in several areas of Guatemala, giving high yields.
The chemical composition of varieties of amaranth grown in Guatemala has been widely studied. The protein contained in amaranth (at the level of 14-18%) is characterized by high quality, it should be noted the presence of essential amino acids, among which lysine is particularly notable.
Amaranth oil: features and benefits
Amaranth grain oil (5% -8%) is a high-quality, balanced product due to the optimal combination of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
At the same time, the level of the content of fatty acids is directly influenced by the features of growing the plant.
In addition, the fatty acid content in amaranth oil is influenced by the peculiarities of seed treatment during oil production.
Amaranth oil is considered an excellent source of squalene. The level of its content in amaranth depends on different varieties and types. Squalene molecule is highly stable. Collecting amaranth in Guatemala
Researchers focused on squalane:
- effectively protects against ultraviolet and ionizing radiation;
- is an excellent complement to oncology therapy.
Materials and research methods
The seed of six varieties of amaranth was grown in the subtropical zone of Guatemala at an altitude of 100 meters above sea level in areas 3 meters wide and 50 meters long. After 120 days, the grain was collected and transferred to the laboratory, where it was purified from plant residues. Samples of amaranth seeds of each variety were taken to produce different types of flour.
Heat treatment of grains of different varieties of amaranth
1.5 kilograms of whole grains of each grade were washed with 0.5% sodium bicarbonate solution and then with distilled water. After removing the surface water, they were placed in a convection oven at a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius to dry the grain.
Amaranth Cooked Grains
300 grams of pure amaranth grain were cooked for 35 minutes – they were boiled in water. After cooking, the water was decanted, the boiled grain was dried at a temperature of 65 degrees Celsius to constant weight and crushed.
Nixtamalización / Nixtamalization
300 grams of grain were prepared in water with a 0.6% lime solution for 10 minutes. Then it was washed and dried, then crushed.
Note! Such a process as Nixtamalización / Nixtamalization was used in ancient times in the countries of Mesoamerica. Its essence was the processing of corn, amaranth or other plants in cooking them in a solution of lime. Lime is a high alkaline compound. The grain treated in this way has several advantages over the raw grain.
Pure grain (300 grams) was placed on the surface of a frying pan heated to 180 – 200 degrees Celsius. Within 20-30 seconds, the grains begin to “explode.” The resulting popcorn was ground.
Getting a test
The prepared amaranth was ground, a dough was prepared from it, and then it was passed through a special machine to produce sheets with a thickness of about 0.1 millimeter.
Sprouting amaranth research in Guatemala
Pure grain was soaked for 12 hours, then the seeds were germinated for 24-48 hours at a temperature of 36 ° C, remaining wet.
When sprouts appeared, the grain was heat treated at 60, 75 and 95 degrees Celsius for one hour at each temperature. Then crushed.
Getting amaranth oil
Also, special attention was paid to obtaining high-quality amaranth oil. In particular, an extraction unit was used for this.
Evaluation of the content of various elements in amaranth
To accurately determine the content of certain elements in the products obtained by treating amaranth grains, various methods and methods were used.
In particular, it was found that the oil content in flour obtained from the treated amaranth varies depending on the oil content in the raw amaranth. Dry, thermally treated samples of amaranth grains contained more substances than raw seeds. In particular, we are talking about oil. The reason for such indicators may be the destruction of the cell under the influence of high temperature, which allows for better extraction of oil.
The main fatty acids contained in amaranth oil are:
- palmitic acid;
- oleic acid;
- linoleic acid.
On average, the level of oleic and linoleic acid is about 75% of the total fatty acids.
The process of nixamization allowed to obtain less saturated fatty acids than in the preparation of amaranth in water and in crude oil.
Amaranth extractive oil contains significantly more squalene. The values obtained are from 7 to 9.6 g per 100 g in raw amaranth and from 6 to 12.8 g per 100 g in treated amaranth.
Amaranth oil can be considered as an alternative source of plant origin for the production of squalene (8-12 g per 100 g). This volume varies depending on the amount of non-hazardous substances released during extraction.
The amount of squalene also depends on the amaranth variety. Higher values of squalene could be obtained in amaranth oil. In addition, such an oil should be considered as an important source in the production of essential fatty acids, such as linoleic and linolenic acids.