Amaranth is halfway between a seed and a cereal, which is why it is considered a pseudocereal. But that aspect aside, these tiny golden yellow balls are exceptionally healthy and are unknown until now that are becoming popular in modern vegan, vegetarian and healthy cooking.
The market is full of seeds, in fact, we usually recommend adding a good variety of seeds to our diet, and if we cannot or do not want to do it daily, at least weekly we should eat a handful of assorted seeds such as chia, sunflower, pumpkin, poppy and now also amaranth, among others such as flax.
What is amaranth?
It is very similar to quinoa, that is, they are small balls. What differentiates them is that Amaranths are smaller, crunchier and more nutritious. Amaranth is typical of the traditional cuisine of Mexico, since this pseudocereal is native to tropical areas such as Central America.
The seeds of this plant have excellent nutritional values and the leaves are rich in vitamin C. Something peculiar about this pseudocereal is that it does not contain gluten and is considered a superfood, being called by the FAO as the best food of plant origin for human consumption.
Try Mercadona amaranth
In the Mercadona supermarket chain it is common to find everything, and even “copies” of other successful products and foods, but Hacendado brand and for several euros less. So Amaranth wasn’t going to be the only one who didn’t try his luck.
Mercadona offers a type of amaranth that is mixed with buckwheat and quinoa and in the form of crunchy triangles, as a snack. The packaging is pink, but we can also buy amaranth in vegan supermarkets and herbalists, as well as in other supermarkets such as Alcampo and Carrefour, also on Amazon.
Returning to the snack that Mercadona sells, the main ingredient is buckwheat, apart from quinoa and amaranth, so it is a good mix of nutrients beneficial to health, but being a snack, you have to be careful with salt, sugars , colorants, refined oils, preservatives, calories, etc.
Before we have commented that this hybrid between cereal and seed has a high nutritional potential for human consumption and that has given it the prestige of being one of the almost 40 most nutritious vegetables in the world for humanity.
For every 100 grams of amaranth we get 371 kilocalories, 65.3 grams of carbohydrates, 1.69 grams of sugar, almost 7 grams of soluble fiber, it has no cholesterol, 7.02 grams of fat, almost 14 grams of protein and 11, 29 grams of water.
Apart from this, we also have several vitamins and minerals to highlight, which is why it is considered the best food of plant origin for human consumption.
Among the vitamins that we highlight are vitamin A, B5, B9, C, E and among the minerals that we want to point out in this food we find calcium with 150 mg, iron, potassium with 508 mg, magnesium with 248 mg which represents almost 70% of what an adult needs, phosphorus with 557 mg which is almost 60% of what an adult needs in a day , sodium, zinc, selenium and manganese with only 3.33 mg and that already represents 167% of what an average adult needs in his day to day.
How to prepare it and maximum dose
Amaranth is a peculiar and very versatile food, since it can be eaten in salads, it can be cooked and put in soups, it can also be used for breading, in creams, sauces, as decoration, etc.
Some of the recipes with amaranth that we know and recommend is precisely to use it as an outer layer in a vegetable breading (or not) or as a decoration, since it gives it a very special touch. For example, chicken nuggets, amaranth crusted tuna, breaded cheese cubes, breaded goat cheese, fish finger, crackers, asparagus with chicken or salmon and amaranth, hake with amaranth and pistachio , etc.
Regarding the maximum daily amount, there is no exact figure, since, as we will see in the last section, it depends more on its adverse effects than on the benefits it provides. Remember that it has high amounts of some minerals, a lot of fiber and a considerable amount of protein, so it is better not to go overboard.
Adding a small handful to salad, sauce, cream or as a decoration is enough. If we opt for the option of breading with amaranth and we feel distrust because it is our first time, it is best to bread only a part with this pseudo cereal and see how the food suits us.
Benefits of using amaranth in our meals
This food with a rounded shape and a yellowish ivory color is full of beneficial properties for humans, so we are going to repair some of them to convince ourselves of how important it is to add this pseudocereal to our daily or weekly diet.
When we say that a food is heart-healthy, it is because it has a series of properties that benefit our heart. In this case, amaranth prevents the reabsorption of cholesterol . That is, this pseudocereal does not contain cholesterol, but it helps that the cholesterol that bile produces is not absorbed. Apart from all this, it contains phenolic compounds with an antioxidant effect and beta-sitosterol that help lower cholesterol. The fats in this food are polyunsaturated, and they are healthier than those in oatmeal itself.
Increases physical and mental performance
If we want energy for an intense day of work, study or training, this food can become our best ally, being able to join others such as oats. Given how versatile it is, we can add it to almost any dish, what’s more, we encourage you to reinvent recipes and leave them in comments or on our social networks.
Amaranth has a low glycemic level and this makes it a brain-friendly food. Aside from those, the carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber in this pseudocereal work as a team to supply glucose to neurons.
Amaranth to prevent osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones begin to lose density in the bone tissue and this becomes an excess of fragility, that is, any blow can trigger bone breakage.
This pseudocereal also fights muscle aches and osteoporosis due to its high calcium content, which is even higher than that of milk and phosphorus that helps calcium to be absorbed by the bones. Another excuse to add it to cereals, fruits, salads, smoothies, etc.
Could prevent cancer
Amaranth has a number of components and properties that make it anticancer, but it is not a miracle food. That is, cancer can arise for many reasons, whether they are bad lifestyle habits, and even due to genetic inheritance, and although it is true that having healthy lifestyle habits and a varied diet prevents the appearance of certain diseases, it may in our genetic information whether we are suffering from cancer or not, so amaranth is not miraculous, it is only an important pillar that we must add to our diet.
Amaranth has adverse effects
The contraindications of this food are really scarce, if not null, but even so it could be the case that they arise. To talk about contraindications, we should go to the nutritional information and there we see that it has a large amount of fiber.
If we go overboard with fiber, we can suffer gastrointestinal imbalances that are not entirely pleasant. Likewise, those with irritable bowel should not consume this food.
Excessive consumption of amaranth can lead to intestinal irritation, gas, stomach pain, among other adverse effects. This is why we recommend, as we said before, eat it little by little and try to introduce it into dishes that we usually cook and that never make us feel bad, to know whether or not we can consume amaranth more frequently.