This Indian Supergrain – Makes you Fit on a Budget!
Ready to get summer sexy for swimwear? You won’t need a fat wallet to get fit this summer. Move aside all those expensive Protein SUPPLEMENTS, shakes and bars that BURN A HOLE IN YOUR POCKET, Amaranth is here to stay. Much has been said about the miracle grain quinoa, but we don’t need to look so far for the ideal super grain when our humble Amaranth is double the power at one fourth the price! Let’s face it healthy foods are becoming increasingly expensive, so before we delve into the awesomeness of eating Amaranth let me tell you, this is something that you and I can buy without worrying about next months rent.
This is the price of Amaranth compared to several other comparable supergrains.
|Rs 210/ kg||Rs 990/kg||Rs 820/kg||Rs 500/kg|
HIGH PROTEIN & LOW PRICE – SUPERGRAIN AMARANTH
PROTEIN POWER HOUSE
Amaranth truly has remarkable protein content: cup for cup, 28.1 grams of protein compared to the 26.3 grams in oats and 13.1 grams in rice.
Rich Vegan source of easily digestible Proteins
Albumin is the protein found abundantly in eggs, poultry, other meats needed for building muscle mass. Globulin proteins are responsible for a strong immune system. Albumin makes up more than half of the total protein within the blood, and globulins make up the remainder. The relatively high content of essential amino acids in amaranth grain is favorable for its use as a substitution for meat-and-bone food/feed for vegans and vegetarians.
In comparison with the prolamins in wheat of which glutenin and gliadin are the major ones. These proteins are quite useless to the body. Not only are they not soluble in water they actually dissolve well only in alcohol!! Hence difficult to digest and assimilate. They contribute to Celiac diseases or gluten intolerance. To think we have been glorifying wheat for so many centuries.
The Building Blocks for your Body
It is a great source of lysine, an important amino acid with protein content comparable to that of milk, more easily digested; neither can be said of other grains. A simple explanation, amino acids are the building blocks which when put together in conjunction with other amino acids make proteins.
Lysine is scarcely available in cereals like maize, wheat and rice hence these need to be paired with pulses which are rich in this particular type of amino acid. The “protein complement” of the grain is very near to the levels recommended by FAO/WHO.
THE DEATHLESS GRAIN
Firstly I’d like to clarify that Rajgira and Amaranth are the same. So if you see this fancy grain in health food stores don’t be surprised to see it in a kirana (local grocery) store. After much digging I’m still undecided on the origin of the name itself. Like most things ancient it has conflicting origins. Some claim origin of the word amaranth is Sanskrit and believe it or not, it means, ‘deathless’. Others claim ‘Amaranth’ is derived from the greek term ‘amarantos’ meaning ‘unwithering’. It’s also called Rajgira or Royal seed. This grain has some serious street cred that will put off the most earnest efforts by the grim reaper, or so we’d like to believe!
It’s estimated that amaranth was first domesticated 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, which means we’ve been eating it almost as long as we learned to cook. Considering how easily and quickly it grows. It also keeps for upto 7 years in storage, making it a vital survival crop.
5 Ways to Cook with Amaranth
The grains are about as small as poppy seeds and golden yellow in colour.
It’s really easy to cook Amaranth. All you have to do is just add 3 cups of water (essentially any liquid, milk, vegetable stock) to 1 cup of amaranth grain bring it to a boil and simmer for 30min. The resulting mixture is going to be quite mushy, much like a sheera, or an upma, however you will be able to see some of the grains swelled up and the resulting grit does have a little bite to it. It has an earth slightly nutty flavour. A handy tip will be to roast the amaranth in ghee, oil till it gives off its nutty aroma and then add it to the boiling water.
For your next horror flick ditch popcorn because amaranth much like corn can be popped!!! Though it won’t expand to the size that popcorn does it’s nonetheless an awesome snacking option. Get a deep saute pan and heat it on a high flame till almost smoking. Add 1 TBSP of the amaranth and close the lid immediately. The moment you shut the lid, the amaranth kernels will start popping. Swirl the pan around to make sure all the grains pop. Empty into a bowl, sprinkle with chaat masala, chilli powder, salt and if you have, some garlic powder and you have Amaranth farsan ready!
Laddus, Granola bars, Cereals
It can also be used to make laddoos, by adding jaggery, mixed dryfruits, and honey. You can also add it to milk, add some cut fruits and have it exactly like a cereal.
Much like oats are sold in flaked form as well. These take about half the time to cook if you want to make a porridge or can be had like corn flakes, and added to soups and gravies as thickeners.
It has been traditionally used in Upvas/Vrat/ religious fasting food. Parathas and chapatis can be made using rajgira flour. The trick to getting a pliable dough is to add boiled mashed potatoes and rolling the rotis like bhaturas by greasing the surface with oil.
Sprouted Amaranth goes well in salads or prepared cereals.
How do you store Amaranth?
As Amaranth contains fairly high levels of poly-unsaturated fats, it’s a good idea to store them in your refrigerator after opening the container. It stores better than Quinoa or buckwheat which have similar nutritional qualities but have a softer, more permeable shell.
11 Amazing BENEFITS of Eating AMARANTH
AMARANTH makes YOU FIT & FAB…!!
- It is completely GLUTEN FREE.
- Cholesterol – The oils and phytosterols in amaranth help lower cholesterol levels, including LDL and triglycerides.
- Inflammation – The anti-inflammatory properties of peptides and oils in amaranth can ease pain and reduce inflammation. This is especially important for chronic conditions where inflammation erodes your health, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- Cancer – The same peptides in amaranth that protect against inflammation may also help prevent cancer. The antioxidants in this grain may even help protect cells from other damage that can lead to cancer.
- Blood Pressure – The fiber and phytonutrients in amaranth lower blood pressure according to some recent studies. This seed tackles cholesterol, inflammation, and blood pressure, making it an all-around good food for heart health.
- IRON – It has twice the iron as wheat does.
- Manganese – At 105% of the daily value per serving (1/4 cup), the manganese in amaranth is off the charts, yet it contains fewer carbohydrates.
- Squalene for your Skin! – Shark liver oil is considered as the richest squalene source; however, reasonable amounts are also found in olive, wheat-germ, palm, amaranth, and rice bran oils. Squalene shows some advantages for the skin as an emollient, antioxidant, hydrating, and antitumor agent.
- Test results also concluded that amaranth oil currently used as a cosmetic could be a functional food product for preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases.
- Vitamins – It is also a good source of many essential vitamins too, including A, C, E, K, B5, B6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin. These act as antioxidants, raise energy levels, control hormones, and do much more.
- Minerals– It is a very rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and copper. It is also a good source of zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. These build strong bones and muscles, aid hydration, boost energy, and are vital in thousands of processes throughout the body. Pound for pound Amaranth has more calcium than a glass of milk. 100ml of milk clocks in at 125mg.
The Nutrient Power House
|Component (per 100g portion)||Amaranth||Wheat||Rice||Sweetcorn||Potato|
FUN FACT – This grain is so cool it actually has its own music video that has nothing to do with the grain but what the heck! Join the conversation and tell us how you use this wonder grain in your kitchen.
A special thank you to Naaznin Husein for providing us with some invaluable inputs on the nutritional aspects of Amaranth. Ms Husein is the President of The Indian Dietectics Association, Mumbai Chapter. She is also an associate professor at Mumbai University, a regular newspaper columnist and Nutrional Counsellor for several sports celebrities and bollywood actors.
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