High-quality, healthy nutrition adds strength and optimism. Everyone has the opportunity to make sure of this. One has only to choose the right products, and among them there can be not only famous and traditional buckwheat and oatmeal, olive oil. Amaranth is gaining more and more popularity, and this can be considered natural. One can argue about its significance and place among other healthy and dietary products, but it is better to do this, taking into account the opinion of the scientist.
Healthy nutrition as a condition for the full functioning of the body
The body always requires energy, and its source is food. It depends on her:
- the usefulness of life processes;
- rapid renewal of cells and tissues;
- the opportunity to stay young longer.
According to experts, a healthy diet requires the mandatory presence in the diet of products containing a sufficient amount of essential substances (they do not form in the human body on their own). The daily menu should include protein foods, and here you can recall amaranth, especially cereals or flour products based on the grain of this plant. For proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals are also needed, especially in winter, early spring and in chronic diseases, when a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals is especially necessary. Here again it is worth recalling amaranth, in which there are only vitamins up to 10 items.
A significant place in a healthy diet belongs to amaranth. This happens due to the presence of an almost perfect protein in the plant, and according to the classical recommendations of the German physiologists K. Voith and M. Rubner, there should be about 18% of proteins in the diet. After all, proteins form the basis of the structural elements of cells i of body tissues, and they are part of the enzymes involved in increasing immunity.
In general, a healthy diet helps maintain good health and improve quality of life. In addition, the body’s ability to resist harmful environmental factors increases, as well as physical and mental performance, and active longevity increases.
The role of amaranth from the point of view of a scientist
Healthy eating is a topic for many studies, and their results sometimes contradict the usual notion of a particular product. Perhaps someone will make a discovery for themselves after an interview with the assistant professor of the technology of storage and processing of agricultural products, candidate of technical sciences, chairman of the Council of Young Scientists of the Dnipro State Agrarian and Economic University Svetlana Mikolenko.
First of all, a conversation about what place amaranths occupy among other, dietary, gluten-free foods.
– All amaranth processing products have a very good amino acid composition. That is, the amaranth protein has an amino acid composition that approaches an animal. There is a high content of lysine, an essential amino acid that is limiting for plant proteins. When replacing 50% of amaranth wheat flour, for example, in the manufacture of cookies, the amino acid composition of the protein for lysine significantly improves, which increases from 37 to 70%. And this is not even with the 100% use of amaranth flour in the product formulation. This is if we talk only about the protein component.
Amaranth is a source of not only complete protein, but also minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
Do not forget about the special starch. It is very small in amaranth. Granules of starch, for example, in wheat or sorghum flour are 10-15 times larger in size, and differ in a larger proportion of amylopectin. This means that a product made from such flour will not stale for a long time.
When we talk about amaranth, the first thing we think about is the possibility of obtaining biologically valuable amaranth oil. Such oil is a source of squalene, and the content of this compound in amaranth oil can even reach 9%, which is several times more than in olive, pumpkin and linseed oil.
Squalene carries oxygen in its composition, possessing antioxidant, antitumor, immunomodulating properties.
Moreover, this biologically active substance is quite stable during storage and processing.
According to the World Health Organization, squalene is a component of some adjuvants and is added to vaccines to enhance the immune response. On an industrial scale, squalene is extracted from the liver of fish, especially from shark liver, and is purified for use in pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
In addition, it is worth mentioning the content of vitamin E. It is found in amaranth in a special, tocotrienol form, and in a significant amount in comparison with other types of crops. The tocotrienol composition of amaranth oil is able to enhance the effect of squalene, which is contained therein.
Thanks to the action of vitamin E, squalene, and other substances that amaranth is rich in, one can talk about the tangible positive effect of amaranth on the body. For example, vitamin E in tocotrienol form has antioxidant properties 40-50 times higher than its “counterpart” in tocopherol form. But here, first of all, we are talking about oil from the seeds of the plant. It is really very useful, but, according to Svetlana, some manufacturers of this product sometimes exaggerate.
– If we are talking about oil, it’s worth saying this … Some manufacturers indicate, for example, that amaranth oil is enriched with magnesium, zinc … However, this is not true, since such oil consists of 99% fat, and the rest is water and volatile substances . Minerals – macro- and microelements – place in the by-products of the processing of amaranth into oil.
“Can we get back to squalene?” During heat treatment, its amount is significantly reduced if it does not disappear at all, right?
– Scientific research indicates significant stability of squalene during storage and processing. For example, squalene was stable during processing with a maximum loss of only 12% during frying for 20 minutes at 150 ° C.
– Svetlana Yuryevna, if we talk about the use of amaranth grain, cereals, and make porridge from them, then we can’t talk about the high content of squalene, right?
– As a source of squalene in your daily diet, it is better to use amaranth oil. Amaranth groats fry many, because then the taste improves. Why? Because amaranth has a lot of protein, and accordingly this protein contains amino acids, and sugars, which form substances that provide improved taste qualities of the product. For the consumer, this is very important. Food should have not only a healing effect, but also be tasty. Enjoying and benefiting from food is natural for 21st century food.
– They say that amaranth products are difficult to digest. Your opinion on this matter.
– I doubt it very much. Amaranth contains starch, which contains amylopectin with a high degree of digestibility. So where does the complexity of digestion come from? A lot of dietary fiber? I can’t say that either.
– An individual feature of the body?
– May be. Any product may be intolerant, and even an allergic reaction. But I would note that the allergenicity of amaranth proteins is at the level of buckwheat proteins, which is considered a hypoallergenic product.
Important! Hypoallergenic is considered to be a product that contains few substances known as allergens, and as those that can cause an inadequate immune response.
But we should not forget that all people have different degrees of sensitivity to the ingredients of certain foods that cause allergies.
So, the main food allergens include cereal products containing gluten. There are also crustaceans and mollusks, eggs, fish, peanuts, soy, milk and dairy products, hazelnuts and sulfides.
– Can we say that gluten-free cereal products can compete with meat products regarding protein content?
– In gluten-free cereal products, carbohydrates are the main component, unlike meat. This should not be forgotten. It is generally accepted that the ideal protein is chicken egg protein, and all other products are compared with such a protein. The amino acid composition of a protein, that is, its composition by percentage of amino acids relative to the ideal protein, by essential amino acids is higher for meat than for any plant product. It is more expedient to compare amaranth products with wheat, rye, sorghum. The benefits of high protein will already be substantial.
With regard to vegetarianism, I have a neutral position. However, plant products are more appropriate from an environmental point of view. It gives a smaller burden on the environment by reducing the cost of water, labor, energy resources. Increasing its consumption is beneficial for the planet.
– What about the fact that athletes take amaranth products, because there is a high protein that is needed for muscle building?
– I believe that amaranth carbohydrate-containing products are a good choice of plant-based high-grade protein. But it all depends on the sport and, for example, for powerlifting, you need slightly different diet. Perhaps athletes consume amaranth against the background of meat consumption, perhaps they consume amaranth and sports supplements.
– Do you directly use amaranth products?
– Yes. I use amaranth oil. I believe that this will not interfere with immunity during the coronavirus pandemic. Especially in combination with probiotics and prebiotics. You need to understand that there is no panacea for all diseases in the world, but integrated approaches are always effective.
My opinion as a consumer: food should be fun, and I really like amaranth oil. In some aspects, it even surpasses the olive. Consumer qualities are high, the content of squalene is unrivaled. So why refuse?
Amaranth products have high biological activity, the ability to neutralize radicals. Components such as polyphenols, flavonoids, are stored in finished products for the consumer. This is very important, because heat treatment does not cause the destruction of these biologically active substances. But it must be understood that if food raw materials are not thermally processed, the digestibility of nutrients is reduced. For example, heat treatment converts starch into a digestible form, kills harmful microorganisms.
However, for the complex processing of amaranth, various technological approaches can be applied. Therefore, the resulting products will have different quality and technological properties in particular. That is, the question arises for what purposes it is better to use flour of different quality – for cookies, bread, pasta or food concentrates. Today this is the subject of my scientific research, which we carry out at the request of the state by a design team of young scientists of the Dnieper State Agrarian and Economic University.
In fact, I can’t say that today the state cares a lot about the biological value of food products. The first thing that is forced to pay attention to is safety: so that the product meets the requirements for the content of toxic elements, pathogenic and conditionally pathogenic organisms and other substances that can make the product harmful to human health. For example, this includes pesticides, other toxic substances that occur during processing. By the content of biologically active substances – in most cases, the state is not interested in quality. This is left to the conscience of the manufacturer, which adapts to the consumer, who, frankly, is not particularly educated. The state does not deal with the concept of “nutrition policy” or “nutrition science”. Most people do not read reliable sources on this topic at all.
– Do you advise processors?
– Of course, if you apply, I advise and try to help. We all do a good job – we provide the population with food, which I would like to make people more healthy and happy.
– Do you check the products in the laboratory?
– Yes, in our university and in the department of technology for storage and processing of agricultural products there are specialized laboratories where you can analyze the technological qualities of amaranth and its processed products. Also, the leading structural unit of the university is the Research Center for Biosafety and Environmental Control of Agricultural Resources. There you can determine the amino acid composition of the product, the content of vitamins, minerals, the presence of GMOs, determine the microbiological parameters of the product.
I recently returned from an internship in Slovakia, which was devoted to the development and comprehensive assessment of composite flour mixtures enriched with processed products of amaranth grain of Ukrainian and Slovak varieties in the framework of the European project CA18101 SOURDOMICs. This made it possible to deepen knowledge about the biological activity of amaranth grain and its potential with respect to increasing the biological value of bakery products.
Svetlana teaches students, and she learns the best, and is open to cooperation with talented and inquisitive youth.
– For more than 7 years I have been teaching students the specialty “Food Technologies”, but I do not leave scientific work either. I am always glad to see talented students and young scientists in a team of like-minded and enthusiastic people who are aimed at creating innovative food products. Today I have the honor to lead a team of young scientists performing scientific work commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine on the topic “Technological and technological support for the comprehensive waste-free processing of plant materials into biologically valuable food products and feed additives.” I also represent Ukraine in the international project COST Action CA18101 “Sourdough biotechnology network towards novel, healthier and sustainable food and bioprocesses (SOURDOmICS).” And these projects are interested in amaranth and its processed products in particular.
Indeed, amaranth has become a 21st century culture. Demand for its processed products is growing all over the world, especially for amaranth oil, rich in squalene, in unique vitamin E form. This makes it unique among other crops for the prevention of many diseases, including those of a viral and bacterial nature, and to support health. in conditions of environmental pollution.