Amaranth: Another Ancient Wonder Food

(Important Media) -

What is amaranth? We’ve got details on this ancient grain including some delicious amaranth superfood recipes!

Superfoods are a hot topic right now, and one thing that bothers me about the whole superfood trend is that many of these foods are very expensive. I don’t like the idea that nourishing your body has to break the bank, so when I come across superfoods that are affordable, I love to share them!

Before we get into amaranth’s superfood powers, let’s talk about what superfood even means. Here’s the thing: ever since we started farming, we’ve been selectively breeding our plants. Over thousands of years, we have managed to breed most of the nutrients out of many common crops that we grow. Foods like iceberg lettuce are a good example. Iceberg lettuce has basically no nutrients. It’s not bad for you, but it’s nowhere near as healthy as other salad greens like arugula, spinach, or even dark green and red lettuces. Superfoods are ones that we haven’t monkeyed with as much or that have managed to retain those high nutrient contents over hundreds of decades of selective breeding.

When you think “superfood,” think foods like kale or chia seeds — foods that are very nutrient dense. Amaranth is one of those foods.

What is amaranth?

Amaranth is an “ancient grain.” Unlike wheat and rice, the amaranth we grow today is a whole lot like the amaranth that grew centuries ago. It’s nutrient-packed. If you’ve never cooked with amaranth, think of it as a slightly smaller quinoa or a wheatier-tasting couscous in terms of consistency. It’s great in soups, salads, baking, and even for breakfast!

One cup of cooked amaranth has a whopping 9 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. It has 12 percent of your daily calcium requirement, balanced with 40 percent of your daily magnesium. Since calcium and magnesium work together to build healthy bones, amaranth is just as good for bone health — if not better than! — a glass of cow’s milk. Combine that with 30 percent of your RDA for iron, and you have got a grain that packs quite the nutritional punch!