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Gluten-Free Amaranth: Why is it a Superfood?

 , Weight Management Expert  |  Updated: November 17, 2014 12:42 IST

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Gluten-Free Amaranth: Why is it a Superfood?
It's worth learning about this forgotten super grain that is highly nutritious and perfect for anyone looking to eat smart and healthy. Amaranth is an ancient plant that originated in South America and is now enjoyed all over the world. It's reasonably tall, about two to five feet, large-leafed, bushy and produces bright coloured flowers which have a large number of seeds. The Hindi term for amaranth is Ramdana, which means God's own grain.

Traditionally, amaranth was consumed by those who would be fasting or recovering from an illness. But now, it makes a regular appearance in many households.

How Amaranth is beneficial for your health?

1. Amaranth contains a good amount of protein, about 13 to 14 percent, and comes specially recommended for vegetarians.

2. It is gluten-free and can be a great option for those allergic to gluten or suffering from celiac disease. (More: Top 10 gluten-free recipes)

3. It's a good source of vitamins and minerals: It is rich in calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.

4. It has cholesterol lowering properties and is good for the heart.

5. It has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties and works on aching and inflamed muscles.

6. It is rich is antioxidants and improves immunity.

7. Prevents premature graying of hair.

8. It is easy to digest which is also why it's used during fasting or illness.

9. It is rich in fiber and helps lower blood glucose levels.

10. It's a complete protein source: Grains usually lack amino acid lysine but amaranth is an exception. It provides a high amount of amino acid lysine, making it a complete protein source.

Even though Amaranth is gaining popularity, many people are still confused about how to include it in their daily diet. The more obvious ways are - Using the grains to making breads and muffins or picking the leaves to make soup, salad or vegetables. Here are a few more interesting ways in which you can incorporate amaranth into your diet.

As a grain:

1. It can be used as a substitute for rice or chapatti in diets. You can make a savoury amaranth porridge and add lots of vegetables to it.
2. It can be eaten for breakfast; you can whip up a sweet amaranth porridge.
3. It can be used instead of couscous or risotto rice.
4. Amaranth flour can be used to make rolls.

As a dessert:

1. It can be used to make puddings.
2. Use it to bake muffins and cookies.

As a snack:

Roasted amaranth or puffs make a delicious and healthy snack.

Best recipes:

Ramdana ki chikki
Chaulai ka saag
Amaranth tikkis
Ramdana ladoo and haji ali sitaphal

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