Amaranth is a group of more than 60 different species of grains that have been cultivated for about 8,000 years.
These grains were once considered a staple food in the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations.
Amaranth is classified as a pseudocereal, meaning that it’s not technically a cereal grain like wheat or oats, but it shares a comparable set of nutrients and is used in similar ways. Its earthy, nutty flavor works well in a variety of dishes.
- Amaranth is a good source of fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron, along with several other important micronutrients.
- Amaranth is high in several antioxidants, such as gallic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid and vanillic acid, which may help protect against disease.
- Animal and test-tube studies show that amaranth may have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
- Amaranth is high in protein and fiber, both of which may help reduce appetite and increase weight loss.
- Amaranth is a nutritious, gluten-free grain that is a suitable dietary addition for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
To cook amaranth, combine water with amaranth in a 3:1 ratio. Heat it until it reaches a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed.
Here are a few easy ways to enjoy this nutritious grain:
- Add amaranth to smoothies to boost the fiber and protein content
- Use it in dishes in place of pasta, rice or couscous
- Mix it into soups or stews to add thickness
- Make it into a breakfast cereal by stirring in fruit, nuts or cinnamon