In different countries, there is an increasing interest in amaranth and its extraordinary features, the ability to positively influence health. The properties of the plant are studied by physicians, scientists of leading organizations in the field of health care, and a search is underway for new and more efficient ways to use amaranth. Based on research and practice, options are offered that are new to many of us.
From the American experience
In the field of healthcare abroad, the work of an American physician, a natural medicine advocate, doctor of osteopathy, Joseph Michael Mercola, has long been popular. Here it should be noted that osteopaths during examination of a person consider his body as a whole, and not individual symptoms of the disease. By focusing on preventive medical care, an osteopathic doctor helps patients move to a way of life that allows them not only to fight diseases, but also to prevent them. Joseph Mercola began his medical practice in 1985, and in the 1990s he turned to natural medicine. He decided to make adjustments in medical practice after he saw radical improvements in dietary changes and increased physical activity of patients. As the doctor himself said, he is “passionate about finding simple and inexpensive resources that can have a big impact on our health.”
So, Dr. Merkola proposes to pay close attention to amaranth, as the most ancient revered culture. The history of amaranth can be traced from Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. Today, this culture is grown in Africa, India, China, throughout South America, Ukraine, and reappears in North America. One of the most important aspects of this tiny grain is that it does not contain gluten. Amaranth gluten-free flour, as a rule, has a pale shade of ivory.
In the US, amaranth becomes the first among grains because of its ability to retain its beneficial properties in products. Its advantage in the presence of calcium, iron, phosphorus and carotenoids is recognized – these substances are more in amaranth than in many vegetables. Amaranth is an excellent source of lysine, an important digestible amino acid with a protein content comparable to that of protein. It also contains the primary proteins albumin and globulin, which are more soluble and easily digestible than the proliminam in wheat. The protein content of amaranth is 10 times, and the content of fiber is almost 1.5 times higher than white rice. Moreover, as evidenced by research results, amaranth competes in protein content with many animal products, and such, in particular, like cheese.
Dr. Mercola calls amaranth a real power unit that helps prevent a number of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, stroke. In addition, research has proven that amaranth oil can be a functional product for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, to achieve positive changes in health status, you can change the diet.
Healthy food with amaranth
Amaranth and products based on it are found in many recommendations on healthy eating. One of the recipes is offered by Dr. Mercola.
To make it you need the following ingredients:
• 1 ½ glasses of cold water;
• ½ cup raw vegetable amaranth (grains);
• 2 glasses of sliced unpeeled English cucumber (it is watery and is considered an excellent ingredient for salads);
• ½ cup finely chopped celery;
• ½ cup finely chopped red onion;
• ¼ cup chopped fresh mint;
• ¼ cup chopped parsley leaves;
• ¼ glasses of pine nuts, pre-lightly browned;
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil;
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest;
• 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice;
• ¼ tsp salt;
• ¼ teaspoon minced red pepper;
• ½ cup chickpea;
• 1 cup chopped feta cheese;
• lemon slices (optional).
First, bring the water and amaranth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Then turn down the heat, close the pan with a lid and boil for another 20 minutes. It may be necessary to spend more time for this, since it is necessary that almost all the water is absorbed by amaranth.
While the amaranth is cooked, mix all the ingredients (except cheese and lemon slices) in a large bowl. Then, we wash the amaranth through a sieve with running water at room temperature, pressing it back with a spoon, and send it to the rest of the ingredients. Add cheese and lemon slices.
Important! To wash amaranth you need to take a sieve with a very fine mesh. If there is none, then cooked amaranth can be laid out in a thin layer on a baking sheet or a similar surface so that the grains cool down without contacting each other.
What else you need to know when cooking dishes with amaranth?
There are many recipes for various dishes, sweets. For example, in Mexico, sweets such as bonbon are well known – small candies, usually resembling caramel or candy. There are no difficulties in their preparation: they simply mix the amaranth grains with sugar or honey. Such sweets are called DULCE DE ALEGRIA or “Sweet Delight”. They are especially popular on the day of the distinctive Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos, reminiscent of Halloween.
Indeed, you can cook any dish with amaranth, because many of us tend to experiment. The desire to change the composition of the ingredients may arise in relation to any recipe. To make the experiment a success, it is important to take into account some more tips from a famous American doctor.
You should know that the amaranth itself, being extremely dense, is very heavy to use separately. It is best used with other grains to get a lighter texture. It is also recommended to make a dish with a proven combination of ingredients. However, if there is a product with gluten among the ingredients, Dr. Mercola recommends adding guar gum (guar gum, guar). It is a food additive, and it belongs to the group of stabilizers, thickeners, emulsifiers and is used in the food industry not only to create viscosity, but to displace gluten.
Amaranth can really be used as an exceptional thickener for sauces, soups, for cooking steaks and even jelly. By itself, amaranth can have a nutty or pepper-crunchy texture and flavor.