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Benefits and side effects of amaranth

Benefits and side effects of amaranth

What exactly is this new-old super cereal? Is it super healthy for sure?

Origin

Coming from the tropical valleys of the Andes mezzanine, it was already known before the time of Columbus, and it was equivalent with corn to making bread.

Nowadays it’s not grown only for food, but as an ornamental plant. The parts of the plant – leaves and grains – are used in many manufactured products. Amaranth has approximately 3000 varieties. Its advantage is that it can be grown successfully almost anywhere because it’s very hardy and resistant.

The bread made from amaranth is a bit sweeter and denser than wheat bread. Scientists say that with all its harvesting advantages and health benefits, it could easily be the 21st century’s main grain bread. Let’s see why.

Benefits

Amaranth seeds and flour also contains:

  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • B1 and B2 vitamins
  • Vitamin C

And it is totally gluten-free. This composition makes amaranth outperform any other traditional cereals. It contains Lysine, an essential amino acid, which is missing from other cereals like wheat and corn, and it has a main role in the human body.

The food that is made from this kind of mixture of amaranth gives us highly recommended selection of amino acid, physiologically and nutritionally.

How does it look like?

The seed is spherical or flattened lenticular in shape. It could be white, yellow, brown, pink, red, or black in color. The meal is similar to the wheat flour but the color is more like grey and the texture is oilier.

How to use?

The seed can be cooked, roasted like germ vegetables; the amaranth flour mixed with wheat flour or use it alone. It’s perfect for making bread or any kind of food.

The seed pops like corn, so we can eat it as popcorn, useable for morning cereals, for cookies, and any kind of sweets.

Possible side effects

Some people- especially children – can be intolerant to lysinuric protein that may cause diarrhea and stomach pain.

A serious side effect is that lysine increases the body’s calcium absorption, and bring free, damage-causing amount of calcium in the body. Avoid taking large amounts of calcium and lysine at the same time.

Can we only get lysine from amaranth?

Definitely NO.

Although Lysine deficiency can cause several symptoms, whether you eat meat or you are strictly vegetarian, there are many other good sources of lysine such as spinach, soybeans, lentils, eggs, cheese, red meat, fish, pork, and poultry. So if you lead a balanced diet, your body will get the proper amount of lysine.

In my opinion, I don’t like the fuzz around amaranth, even if I can’t explain my qualm.

The world is changing so fast that miracle foods come and go in a matter of days or months. The secret of eternity yesterday – of course with scientific experiments to prove its benefits - becomes one from the Devil today, also with proven side effects.

I think we have much more grain types than we need.

But despite all my opinion, everyone is free to try everything, so I don’t recommend to avoid or to try it in all circumstances. It’s only a bit weird for me as population is growing bigger and bigger and humans always find something new/old that can be eaten.

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Copyright: Zsófia Michelin-Corporatum Oy, Content pictures copyrigh: Shutterstock, Development: e-Com