Amaranth “Ancient wonder food” making comeback?

 

Photograph courtesy Roque Reyes Source: National Geographic

Amaranth was grown by the Aztecs up until the Spanish conquest, according to  Brian Clark Howard, in an article published in National Geographic.

A relative of beets, Amaranth is called a ‘pseudocereol’ comparable to quinoa, which is easier to grow, requiring less water than corn and highly nutritious, the author explains.  He writes:

Amaranth is a broad-leafed, bushy plant that grows about six feet (1.8 meters) tall. It produces a brightly colored flower that can contain up to 60,000 seeds.

Advocates for amaranth in Oaxaca are touting the ancient wonder as a way to fight growing obesity in Mexico.  Pete Noll is the executive director of the community-based organization promoting the benefits of  amaranth seeds, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria.  So, what specifically is so great about amaranth?  Howard continues:

Amaranth is gluten free and its seeds contain about 30 percent more protein than rice, sorghum, and rye, according to a USDA Forest Service report. It is also relatively high in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, according to Puente.

“Amaranth’s amino acid profile is as close to perfect as you can get for a protein source,” Noll said. The plant contains eight essential amino acids and is particularly high in the amino acid lysine, which is largely lacking in corn and wheat, he explained.

Read more about the drought resistant, super food, click here.

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