What’s So Great About Amaranth?

What’s So Great About Amaranth?

Are you on the ancient grains train yet? Swapping spelt for wheat in your pancakes? Serving quinoa like its no big thang? We actually did a post on alternative grains back in May of 2012 and dished the deets on everything from teff to quinoa. Amaranth somehow escaped our notice until now but if you’ve mastered quinoa salad and teff porridge and actually convinced your kids to get on board, here’s your next challenge. We have faith in your powers of persuasion!

wsgaamaranth

Turns out amaranth was the “grain of the month” back in May of this year, so nominated by the Whole Grains Council (Yes, it’s a thing… I wonder if there’s a runner up grain just in case amaranth can’t fulfill its duties?).  But the accolades are well deserved.  First, the name is Greek for “never-fading flower”… that’s nice, right? Also? It’s gluten free. Okay so its slightly busted, in that it is not actually technically a grain. According to www.wholegrainscouncil.org,  amaranth is a “pseudo-cereal which is always,  “included in the whole grain roundup… because its overall nutrient profile is similar to that of cereals, and more importantly, pseudo-cereals like amaranth have been utilized in traditional diets spanning thousands of years in much the same way as the “true cereals” have been.”

Amaranth has more protein (about 14%) than most other grains, making it ideal for a vegetarian diet or a meatless meal for non-veggies. It contains lunasin, “widely thought to have cancer-preventing benefits as well as possibly blocking inflammation that accompanies several chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.” It also helps to lower cholesterol. Cook it up plain, much like rice, for a dinner side dish. Make it sweet in the morning a la oatmeal or, if you’re not feeling so adventurous, check out some of the cereals available at the grocery store, which include amaranth in flakes or muesli style.

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