Maybe you’ve heard this name, but you’ve never tried amaranth, a food widely used in vegetarian and gluten-free diets. Although its consumption is nothing new, it has become more popular in recent years in parallel with the growing interest in a more functional diet.
Amaranth is actually a pseudocereal, that is, it is not exactly a cereal grain (like wheat or oats), but has nutrients similar to those found in cereals, thus being used in a similar way and providing great benefits for the health.
Learn more about its nutritional composition, health benefits and get inspired by recipes to include amaranth in your daily diet.
9 excellent reasons to know and consume amaranth
Below you will see that there are many good reasons to include amaranth in your diet. In addition to being versatile, pseudoceral is gluten-free and rich in proteins, fibers, antioxidants, among other advantages!
1. Its nutritional value
The biggest benefit of amaranth is exactly in its nutritional composition, which is very valuable. Check out what you find in 45 grams of cooked amaranth:
- Calories: 46
- Proteins: 1.71 g
- Carbs: 8.41 g
- Total fat: 0.71 g
- Magnesium: 28 mg
- Phosphorus: 67 mg
- Iron: 0.95 mg
- Fiber: 0.9 g
- Potassium: 61 mg
Functional nutritionist Andrezza Botelho adds that amaranth has a protein content similar to that of milk, but with the advantage of being more easily digested.
2. It’s a gluten-free option
Andrezza points out that, as it is gluten-free, amaranth is a great food option for people suffering from celiac disease. Versatile, amaranth can be introduced in different types of recipes.
3. Ally of the brain
A source of manganese, amaranth is shown to be important for brain function and may protect against certain neurological conditions.
4. Good for bone health
Rich in phosphorus and calcium, amaranth contributes to good bone health and can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
5. Digestion ally
Andrezza highlights that amaranth contributes to the optimization of the digestive system. Source of fiber, it helps to fight constipation and also to increase the absorption of nutrients in the body.
6. It can help with weight loss
With high protein and fiber content, amaranth is a good ally in weight loss diets. It helps with satiety, digestion and the proper functioning of the intestine. Of course, for this, it must be associated with a balanced diet and, preferably, accompanied by a nutritionist.
7. Ally of the heart
The levels of potassium found in amaranth, according to nutritionist Andrezza, contribute to good heart health. In addition, amaranth helps regulate cholesterol levels and is rich in iron, helping the body to produce blood.
8. It is a source of antioxidants
Amaranth is also a source of antioxidants, which protect the body against free radicals, thus helping to prevent premature aging and the onset of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
9. Improves the immune system
As a source of vitamin C, amaranth contributes to the increase of the immune system, improving health as a whole.
Despite being a very healthy option, the most recommended thing is to include amaranth in your diet after consulting your nutritionist.
It is worth remembering that no food by itself has the “power” to make a person lose weight. However, it is true to say that amaranth can contribute to the weight loss process!
“Amaranth collaborates in this process due to its high fiber content, which causes a feeling of satiety. In addition, fibers help the intestine to function better, absorbing part of the fat and carrying it out of the body”, explains Andrezza.
However, to offer results, the consumption of amaranth must be associated with a healthy diet, preferably prescribed by a nutritionist.
How to include amaranth in your menu
Andrezza explains that amaranth is found in the form of grains, flakes or in the form of flour, and can be prepared and consumed in several ways:
- Cooked grains: the nutritionist points out that amaranth can be cooked like corn, rice or pasta. “To cook it is simple, just leave the amaranth seeds to cook in water (about six cups of water for a cup of amaranth) for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir slowly during cooking and then drain,” she guides.
- Added to Soups: Amaranth beans can also be used in soups or stews to add thickness.
- With fruits: amaranth in flakes or as flour, as highlighted by Andrezza, can be consumed with fruits. It combines well with banana, strawberry, papaya, among others.
- Added to drinks: amaranth in flakes or as flour can also be added to yogurts, milks, smoothies and juices, with the advantage of increasing the fiber and protein content of the preparation. Just add the amaranth and mix or beat it (if the preparation requires a blender) with the other ingredients.
- As an ingredient in healthy recipes: amaranth in flakes or flour can also be used in the preparation of breads, cakes and sweets, according to Andrezza.
- As an ingredient in healthy granola: Amaranth flakes can be mixed with other healthy ingredients to form a delicious homemade granola. Oats, quinoa, almonds, sunflower seeds and raisins are examples of foods that can be included in this preparation.
Versatile, amaranth can be used in both savory and sweet preparations.
8 recipes with amaranth for you to try
If you want to include amaranth in your daily life but don’t know where to start, get inspired by these delicious recipes!
1. Black Quinoa and Amaranth Salad: a very easy recipe, which makes for four people, and will add an extra touch of health and a lot of flavor to your meal! Carrots, cucumbers, fennel, onions, parsley, chives and lemon make up the salad.
2. Moroccan couscous with amaranth: light, easy and quick to prepare, in addition to yielding a lot. This is a healthy recipe, rich in fiber and low in calories, being an excellent alternative to replace rice in hot meals.
3. Rice with black quinoa and amaranth: a simple recipe that tastes great, a good option for those who want to introduce this type of grain into their daily lives. In addition to quinoa and amaranth, you will use rice, mustard seeds, bay leaf, boiling water and salt.
4. Filet à parmigiana breaded with amaranth: a classic dish that gains a light touch! Amaranth replaces breadcrumbs, leaving the dish lighter, healthier and crispier. Great order for lunch on the weekend!
5. Chickpea stew with amaranth: good option for cold days! In addition to being very easy to make, it is very nutritious and tasty. The ingredients used are chickpeas, tomato, olive oil, garlic, parsley, amaranth flakes, salt and black pepper.
6. Amaranth protein porridge: very simple to prepare, this healthy porridge is a great option for your breakfast or afternoon snack. You will only use amaranth, water, egg whites, sweetener, whey protein and cinnamon.
7. Gluten-free and lactose-free amaranth bread: a recipe that surprises for being so simple and, at the same time, so delicious. In addition to being healthy, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes, that’s counting oven and preparation time!
8. Functional juice of carrot, pineapple, chia, quinoa and amaranth: delicious and no secrets in preparation! Just put the chopped carrot, the pineapple slice, the chia, quinoa and amaranth mixture and the water in the blender… Blend well and drink right away without sweetening!
Want to add more health to your recipes?! Include amaranth in your preparations!
Andrezza explains that amaranth should not be consumed raw, as it has phytic acid and toxins that can cause some discomfort. Therefore, it should be soaked in water for 8 to 12 hours before preparation.
In general, amaranth is not recommended for those with diabetes, as it has a high glycemic index. In addition, its consumption should not be excessive, as the food is a source of carbohydrates that, if consumed in excess, can lead to weight gain.
Too much amaranth can also put a strain on the kidneys, due to protein, so it is not suitable for individuals with kidney disease.
However, in general, a balanced consumption of amaranth, guided by a nutritionist, will only bring health benefits!
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.
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