A family reunion attended by the 60 species comprising this prolific genus would be remarkable for the variety in color, form and utility that one would encounter. Only three amaranth cousins are grown as a grain source, with other species valued for their highly nutritious, edible leaves or for the beauty that they impart as ornamentals. Usually green, the Incas grew a purple variant for their rituals.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Although amaranth enjoys an increasingly popular role as a health store resident, it remains somewhat of a stranger to regular supermarket shelves. That may soon change owing to the many wellness benefits that amaranth promises to a world in need of potent protein packages -- amaranth seed boasts a protein punch rated at 12 to 17 percent. While cereal crops are typically low in lysine, amaranth is rich in this essential amino acid. Its seeds can be sprouted and added to salads, popped like popcorn or flaked like oatmeal. A rich flour ground from the seed enhances breads, pancakes, noodles and granola. Unlike wheat, amaranth provokes no allergic reactions among sensitive eaters.
ABOUT THE HERB
Having origins traceable to the tropical regions of Central and South America, amaranth sustained native peoples prior to the arrival of Columbus. A fast-growing annual reaching 6 feet in height, amaranth begins to flower in July and its seeds begin to ripen during the following two months. The flowers are used as coloring in ceremonial maize bread.
Enjoy the nearly fifty amaranth food products now available in America, confident that your choice can enhance your well-being. Note: since chemical fertilizers can lead to a concentration of unwanted nitrites in amaranth leaves, only organically grown amaranth foodstuffs should be consumed.
The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. NOTE: Visit herbalastrology.com to read Ted PanDeva Zagar's other articles and columns that discuss the benefits of herbs and natural foods. DISCLAIMER: The author's comments are not intended to serve as medical advice, and he urges his readers to seek qualified wellness professionals to resolve matters of health.