Gluten Free Amaranth
Amaranth known as ramdana in Hindi is a super food grain with high nutritional value. It is a very ancient plant known all over the world. Earlier it was consumed by only those who were fasting or those who were recuperating from illness. But now it is emerging into the fore front among other grains because of its nutritional value. Many people are opting for this grain to be included in their diet. It has ample number of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids. In fact, amaranth is rich in amino acids as compared to most other grains like wheat.
- Amaranth is gluten free and contains more nutrients than rice, wheat, rye etc. There are four significant nutrients in amaranth. First are amino acids and next come minerals, calcium, iron and magnesium.
- A study on Amaranth reported that they contain certain phyto-chemical compounds with the ability to lower hypertension and incidences of cancer.
- Apart from preventing cancer, they have the ability to lower the incidences of chronic diseases such as inflammation, diaaetes, heart disease and stroke.
- It is revealed in studies that Amaranth oil could be a functional food product for preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases.
- Amaranth contains protein highly recommended for vegetarians.
- Antioxidants in Amaranth help improve immunity and prevent premature greying of hair.
- It can be digested easily which is the reason it is used during fasting and for those recovering from illness.
- Amaranth contains fibre that helps lower blood glucose levels.
- In Ame-rica due to availability of fast food, urbanization and less physical activity led more and more people to obesity and has become a major problem. Heavy advertisements of junk foods are seen as one of the major reasons of this epidemic. Now they are finding a solution for this in Amaranth and are producing locally hoping to bring about a change.
- In this context even we Indians are not lagging behind. The number of obese adults and children are growing day by day. I wonder instead of cautioning the children the adults themselves are indulging in eating junk food.
- One can make delicious recipes using oats, chia seeds, Ragi and a host of other seeds that are appetising as well as nutritious.
Amaranth can be cooked as rice or porridge. You can add lot of vegetables and can eat as a substitute to rice or Chapattis or make a sweet Amaranth Porridge. Amaranth can be used as thickener for sauce, soups and jellies. It can be eaten as snack with its light, crunchy and nutty flavour. The seeds are popped and mixed with sugar to make a confection like the famous ramdana chikki or ramdana ke laddoo. In Peru, the grains are used to make beer and in certain other places they are used to treat toothache and fevers or to colour maize and quinoa.
I love amaranth greens (cholai ka saag). They are cooked the same way as we cook spinach. In South, amaranth greens are more popular than spinach.
Amaranth grains can be found in all most all the supermarkets.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna