Amaranth is the generic name of the species that belong to the family group of amarantáceas. The etymology of the concept comes from a Greek word that refers to that which never withers.
This genus refers to plants that have a stem of considerable thickness, with oblong-type leaves and flowers that, according to the variety, can have different colors. The height of amaranths, native to India, can exceed one and a half meters.
Amaranth is characterized by its resistance. It can grow in humid regions where numerous precipitations are registered, but also in dry zones. Due to its nutritional uses, it is a plant cultivated throughout the world.
Thousands of years ago, the pre-Columbian cultures of the American continent already used amaranth in various gastronomic preparations, as one of the most important products of their diet, at the same level of beans and corn, largely thanks to its rich protein content.. With the amaranth grains, flour was made to make tortillas and breads. They were also used as a cereal.
Due to its properties, amaranth was used as an energizer and healing food. Certain peoples also included it in rituals and even considered it sacred: that is why it was among the products they placed in the graves of their dead. Faced with this situation, the Europeans who came to America prohibited its cultivation and consumption, in an attempt to alienate the inhabitants from paganism and convert them to Catholicism.
The cultivation of the amaranth seed, therefore, dates back to remote times; in some cases, from several millennia ago. The medicinal properties of this plant are very important, since for centuries they have been used to treat various health disorders.
Something worth noting is that in recent times science has confirmed the validity of the healing properties that for centuries and millennia have been attributed to amaranth, and for that reason many people continue to take advantage of them. In addition to being a good source of protein, it also contains calcium, iron, natural vitamins (A, B, B1, B2, B3 and C), folic acid, niacin, phosphorous and amino acids (among which is lysine).
Some of its medicinal applications include treatment against diarrhea, for which an infusion can be prepared, or the prevention of overweight, thanks to its rich fiber content. On the other hand, it can also be beneficial in patients with diseases such as high blood pressure, colon cancer, osteoporosis, hepatic encephalopathy, liver failure, constipation and chronic kidney failure.
If we compare it with rice, one of the most important food products on the planet, we can say that it doubles it in protein content. It also beats wheat in this same field, with 80% more protein. Regarding the amount of amino acids, it has three times that of corn.
One of the preparations with amaranth that is still popular is joy, a typical sweet from the Mexican state of Morelos. This sweet is made with amaranth seeds and sugar or honey, roasting the seeds to inflate them. Once mixed with sugar or honey, they are shaped with molds.
The so-called amaranth cereal or popped amaranth can be used in many ways within the food industry. The demand for this product grows day by day in different areas, ranging from general consumption to the health food market. There are even social support movements that use derivatives of this food. Regarding the sales format, the trapped amaranth can be offered in bags to be distributed in bulk or in previously weighed and sealed packages.