Amaranth interested foreign scientists as a source of healthy energy. The culinary specialists were also interested in the properties of this plant, since it turned out that the grain and greens of amaranth with their nutty and mild flavor combine well with a wide variety of ingredients and are suitable for creating new and unusual dishes. Research amaranth in Germany and other European countries, for example, gave evidence of its high energy and nutritional value. It also turned out that this culture is able to survive and not lose its properties even during frosts.
Gluten-free grains or one of the reasons for increased attention
We agree that the ancient tribes of the Indians and Aztec Indians with their own experience convinced many representatives of subsequent generations of the usefulness of amaranth, and for more than 5000 years this plant has been cultivated in Central and South America and is actively used in traditional medicine and healthy cooking. Despite the “great experience”, amaranth is a growing interest from researchers. When studying the properties and characteristics of amaranth in Germany, for example, it turned out that even after composting of sweepers with grain residues, the seedlings of amaranth can be seen next spring, and this suggests that the grain left in the soil withstands freezing. But if we talk about the initial number of seeds needed for sowing, then 100 grams of seeds may be enough to sow a whole hectare with them, and the seeds themselves are so strong that they retain the ability to germinate even after several years.
Since the 1980s, in Central Europe and Germany, in particular, amaranth has been systematically grown as a raw material for organic products. Especially increased its role in the nutrition of diabetics and people with a general gluten intolerance (gluten). At the same time, a high nutritional value of the plant is noted: 100 grams of amaranth 1/5 cover the daily need for energy, carbohydrates, proteins and fats for women and 1/6 for men.
A number of ingredients that are often considered “undesirable” for the body are completely absent in amaranth, and here not only gluten and “bad” cholesterol, but also histamine. This substance leads to a spasm of smooth muscles in the bronchi and intestines, and this is manifested by abdominal pain, diarrhea, respiratory failure. As a result of its activity, blood pressure rises and the heartbeat quickens, production of mucus secretion in the bronchi and nasal cavity increases, the permeability of the capillary network and the risk of edema of the respiratory tract rises. It was also established that with an excess of histamine, many intolerances develop and immunity deteriorates. Therefore, amaranth is particularly suitable for people suffering from intolerance to certain types of food or experiencing problems with metabolism.
Some nutrition institutions consider as dangerous ingredients not only gluten and histamine, but also tannins and phytic acid. The content of “hazardous ingredients” in amaranth depends on the type and color of the grain (from 2.7 to 0 g per 100 g), but in any case the concentration of tannins in this crop is much lower than that of coffee, tea and red wine. These substances prevent the absorption and release of certain nutrients, such as iron, but at the same time they are natural disinfectants and protective agents. It should also be noted that during the heat treatment of grain a very large proportion of tannins is lost.
Phytic acid is also referred to as “hazardous ingredients” because it slows down the absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium in the small intestine. Heat treatment does not affect the amount of this substance in amaranth, but if the grain is soaked in water before cooking, then about 20% of phytic acid is lost. However, compared with wheat and corn, the proportion of phytic acid in amaranth is lower. To reduce the effect of this substance, German doctors strongly recommend that before applying the grain of amaranth, rinse it thoroughly and then dry it. After washing, the bitter taste also disappears. Interestingly, during the germination of grain decreases the proportion of “hazardous ingredients”.
Food plus treatment
The absence of gluten in amaranth immediately brings this culture into the leaders in the medical nutrition of people experiencing various health problems. Such problems include not only celiac disease, but also bowel syndrome, the symptoms of which resemble the manifestations of other diseases. As a result of the action of gluten is observed:
• fast fatiguability;
• poor sleep;
• joint pain;
• digestive problems;
Regular consumption of products based on amaranth helps to get rid of these symptoms and prevent relapse. Studies that were conducted in different years, confirmed the positive effect of amaranth on health. Thus, during a study conducted in Brazil in 2012, the overall health effects of amaranth were studied when a plant was included in the daily diet. The results were summarized with previous ones, and conclusions were drawn.
1. The share of unsaturated fatty acids with constant consumption of amaranth leads to a decrease in the content of lipids in the blood.
2. The immune system becomes stronger.
3. The exchange of sugar in the blood.
4. Develops antioxidant and anti-allergic activity.
5. Rarely manifested hypertension.
6. Decreases anemia.
As a result of studies that were conducted in 2015 at Purdue University in the United States, it was proved that the consumption of products with amaranth helps to quickly get rid of gastric diseases and food allergies. The effect is achieved under the influence of high fiber content in amaranth, because it removes all pollutants, and the intestines are cleaned.
In 2015, the Interdisciplinary Center for Medical Sciences (CICS) at the National Polytechnic University in Mexico City explored the role of amaranth extract in the diet of people prone to overweight and cardiovascular diseases. As a result, a link was established between the amount of lipids, cholesterol level and weight. Thus, an excessive amount of lipids in the blood leads to the formation of fat deposits on the walls of arteries (cholesterol plaques), increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The consumption of products on the basis of amaranth helps to reduce the level of lipids in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of disorders. Therefore, doctors often recommend a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
What to cook?
Amaranth benefits in any way. This plant with a rich set of useful substances is suitable for preparing a side dish for first and second courses, salads and desserts. Any product with it is easily digested and used up to 90 percent. If you need to protect yourself from the effects of tannins and phytic acid, amaranth is recommended to soak in water for 10 hours before eating.
According to German doctors, there are no restrictions on the daily consumption of amaranth. However, most recipes indicate 150 grams for two or even four servings. When using raw amaranth, which is taken in the form of dietary supplements, the recommended intake is 10-20 grams on an empty stomach.
So, recipes recognized as useful.
Fried Amaranth Soup
• chopped onion – 1 piece;
• soft coconut fat – 1 tablespoon;
• semolina – 2 cups;
• vegetable broth – 1 liter;
• fried amaranth – 1 cup;
• ground pepper;
• chopped parsley.
The original German recipe uses exactly coconut fat. It is denser than coconut oil, and has no pronounced smell and taste. In its absence, you can use the usual margarine.
Fry some chopped onion in coconut fat, then add the semolina and fry it. All this is poured into vegetable broth, fried amaranth is added, and the resulting mixture must be boiled and boiled for 10 minutes. Finally add ground pepper.
Chopped parsley is added to each portion separately.
Scrambled egg with amaranth for athletes
First about how scrambled eggs are made. First, they should be whipped and sent to the pan with oil, and almost immediately – mix. Stir every 5 seconds and remove from the pan in a state of soft cream.
• organic eggs – 4 pieces;
• swollen amaranth grain – 3 teaspoons;
• black cumin – 1 teaspoon;
• chicken broth – 1 tablespoon;
• olive oil for frying.
Black cumin a little fry in a pan under the lid. Then you need to beat the eggs with black cumin, amaranth and chicken broth. Heat the pot, pour the butter into it and add the whipped mass. All mixed with a wooden spatula until amaranth granules are no longer visible. The egg should remain creamy.
German chefs advise not to add salt to this dish.
Amaranth Grain Yogurt and Peanuts
Ingredients (based on 3 servings)
• Greek yogurt – 500 g;
• peanuts – 3 tablespoons;
• honey (preferably with sunflower) – 3 tablespoons;
• vanilla sugar – 1 tsp;
• amaranth grains (prepared to the state of popcorn) – 6 tablespoons;
• dark chocolate – 1 piece.
In a glass bowl, combine some yogurt and vanilla sugar, add five tablespoons of yogurt, 1.5 tablespoons of peanuts and 1 tablespoon of amaranth, mix everything and repeat the process with amaranth and peanuts. Then add the remaining yoghurt, and spread on it 4 tablespoons of amaranth, add honey and chocolate melted in a water bath, and the remaining yogurt.
Bowl with the mixture is sent to the refrigerator for 1 hour.