The name amaranth comes from the Greek word amarantos, meaning "unfading." The Greeks used this name for amaranth because the flowers stay alive and vibrant so much longer than other plants. It became the symbol for immortality.
Amaranth is known to have been cultivated for human consumption for approximately 8,000 years. It was a staple food of the Aztecs and was used in their religious ceremonies.
Amaranth is not technically a grain, but because it is usually cooked and consumed in a similar fashion as grains, it is usually referred to as a grain. Amaranth is actually a member of the Chenopodiaceae family of plants, making it a relative of spinach, beets, and chard. And of course, it is totally gluten free!
Amaranth is a very good protein source. If you compare it to grains, amaranth is unusually rich in the important essential amino acid lysine. Amaranth contains more protein than any gluten-free grain; just one cup of it contains approximately 28 grams of protein. And what is more important, amaranth protein has been shown to be easily absorbed by the human intestinal tract.
The mineral content of amaranth is excellent. One cup of this super food contains almost 300 milligrams of superior plant source calcium. Amaranth contains more magnesium than gluten-free grain. Just one cup of amaranth contains over 500 milligrams of magnesium. Amaranth also has more iron than any gluten-free grain. One cup contains approximately 15 milligrams of iron. Other important minerals found in amaranth include manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Vitamins occurring in amaranth include Folate, Thiamine, Niacin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, and Pantothenic acid,
Amaranth is a good source of fiber as well. In fact, it contains more fiber than any gluten-free grain. One cup of amaranth contains about 18 grams of fiber.
I have been eating amaranth for almost 20 years; it has always agreed with me and made me feel GREAT!
Craig B Sommers, ND, CN
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