Amaranth is a plant native to Peru whose seeds, edible, were considered a sacred foods by Aztecs and Incas thanks to their nutritional properties. Amaranth is also considered a cereal, however, like quinoa and buckwheat, doesn’t belong to Graminaceae family, in fact it is a pseudo cereal. Amaranth brings proteins and essential fatty acids, such as lysine, that is in poor quantity in the cereal grains such as common wheat. Lysine plays a pivotal role in important processes that occur in our body, an example is given by the formation of antibodies and by calcium fixation in bones. In addition to this, amaranth is also a source of vitamins, such as E, a powerful antioxidants, B3, useful for circulation and the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and B9, or folic acid, for the formation of white and red blood cells. Amaranth contains also mineral salts such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, useful for the brain, potassium, phosphorus and iron. The fibers of amaranth are a good help for digestion and to counteract constipation. Moreover, amaranth contains also phytosterols, powerful substances that help keep under control cholesterol and the blood sugar levels, that support the immune system and act against cancers (Caselato-Sousa, J Food Sci, 2012). Finally, this pseudo cereal is also anti inflammatory, according to scientific studies. Indeed, on the basis of a research published in 2014 by a team of the United States (Montoya-Rodriguez et al, Mol Nutr Food Res, 2014) amaranth is able to reduce several markers of inflammations and, according to another study (Hibi et al, Cytotechnology, 2003), amaranth inhibits the production of immunoglobulin E, a type of antibody that causes allergic reactions. Amaranth is a gluten free food and can be eaten also by people who are intolerant to gluten, on the contrary it contains oxalic acids and for this reason pay attention if you suffer from kidney stones or other problems related to kidneys. Amaranth can be used to prepare soups or biscuits, nuggets, to fill vegetables but also yummy muesli or energetic bars.
Essential amino acids, proteins, vitamins and mineral salts, antioxidant action, able to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar and to support the immune system, fibers, gluten free food.