Amaranth: Healthy Pseudocereal
Amaranth was used in Inca medicine thousands of years ago. The pseudo-grain has become more popular in Germany in recent years. And not without reason. It is not only gluten-free and therefore suitable for people with gluten intolerance (celiac disease), but it is also an excellent source of high-quality protein, unsaturated fatty acids and various minerals.
Amaranth has a thousand-year history in South and Central America, writes the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE). The tiny seeds come cooked in vegetable pans, stews, pies, or puffed in muesli. The consumer advice center for South Tyrol explains the benefits of the pseudocereal in a current report.
Amaranth grains look like cereal grains and can be used in a similar way to cereals. However, botanically, amaranth belongs to the foxtail family and not to sweet grasses like the real grain, which is why it is known as a “pseudo grain.”
Amaranth is interesting for our diet in two ways. The grains are extremely nutritious and a very good source of high-quality protein, unsaturated fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
“In addition, amaranth does not contain gluten and therefore is also compatible with celiac people”explains Silke Raffeiner, nutrition expert at the South Tyrolean Consumer Center. “However, amaranth flour is not suitable for baking due to its lack of gluten. Instead, it scores with its nutty flavor.”
According to the consumption center, amaranth is prepared in a similar way to millet. To do this, the grains are rinsed with warm water in a fine strainer and cooked with three times the volume of water for about 30 minutes.
Cooked amaranth can be served as an accompaniment to steamed vegetables, in empanadas, or for savory and sweet stews, among other things. The raw grains are suitable for sprouting, and puffed amaranth tastes great as an ingredient in granola mixes, granola bars, and whole-grain crackers.
The leaves of the plant, which taste similar to spinach or Swiss chard, can be prepared as a vegetable.
About 100 different types
According to experts, almost 100 different species are known worldwide. The species Amaranthus caudatus and Amaranthus cruentus are cultivated mainly for food purposes.
Amaranth is generally imported from Central and South America. In Europe, the plant is not yet cultivated on a large scale due to low yields.
Due to the brightly colored inflorescences, amaranth is popular with gardeners as an ornamental plant. (ad)
Author and source of information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by medical professionals.
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.