Amaranth( scab, cat's tail) is an annual plant of the Amaranth family native to South America and Mexico. Its height varies from 0.4 to 3 meters, and the circumference of the stem reaches 10 centimeters. The plant has large leaves and long, up to 1 meter, straight or drooping spicate inflorescences. Its use is the most diverse - useful properties allow using amaranth as a valuable grain and medicinal culture, and thanks to its bright appearance it is grown as an ornamental flower.
- Composition and useful properties
- For weight loss
- In cosmetology
- In cooking
- In pregnancy
- For children
- Side effects and contraindications
The plant blooms from the end of June, then you should harvest leaves, thin branches andcolors. For drying it is laid out under a canopy or suspended in bundles for several days. Also, the grass can be cut into pieces and dried in a refrigerator or placed in a freezer - so the useful substances are retained. Another way is to marinate an amaranth, for this they put it in a glass jar, pouring salt or sugar.
Seeds begin to ripen at the end of August, to collect them, the inflorescents cut off along with the stem are laid out in well-ventilated rooms and dried for 4-6 weeks, and then grinded. The removed grains are left to dry for another 2-3 weeks. Store the seeds quite easily - a dense shell protects them from pests.
Composition and useful properties of
The high nutritional and therapeutic value of amaranth is due to its rich composition:
- The highest quality protein, rich in amino acids and protein. It is digested better than a protein of soy, corn or wheat. Plant seeds contain about 20% protein, a lot of it in green mass - leaves and stems.
- Replaceable and virtually all essential amino acids .Especially valuable is lysine, which helps the food to digest and normalizes the metabolism - its content in seeds of amaranth far exceeds other plants. By the balance of the amino acid composition, the amaranth protein is equal to the protein of the female milk.
- Proteins. According to the content of these substances, the plant protein has the greatest agreement with the theoretically calculated ideal( fully digestible) protein - higher than that of cow's milk and soy.
- Fatty acids , including polyunsaturated. The predominant in the composition of linoleic acid( Omega-6), there are also oleic( Omega-9), linolenic( Omega-3), palmitic, stearic. Substances prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases, reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood.
- Squalene is a unique substance, hydrocarbon of the carotenoid group. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, prevents oxygen deficiency in the body, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, resists the development of tumors.
- Phospholipids are the building blocks of cell membranes that are essential for the complete metabolism.
- Carbohydrates , in particular, starch is a source of energy.
- Pectins - promote the removal of harmful substances, including heavy metals, from the body, stimulate the work of the organs of hematopoiesis.
- Cellulose - has a beneficial effect on the work of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Phytosterols - protect the liver, and also have adaptogenic properties, that is, accelerate the adaptation of the organism to various loads.
- Flavonoids - eliminate brittleness and reduce vascular permeability.
- Vitamins - amaranth is a source of vitamin C, and also contains vitamins D, E, P, almost the entire group B, carotene.
- Micro and macro elements - the plant contains a large amount of organic silicon and magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, sodium, selenium, phosphorus, zinc are also present.
Positive effect of amaranth on the body:
- rejuvenation of the body, restore vitality, improve health, increase life expectancy;
- improved memory, concentration of attention;
- stimulation of protective functions of the immune system;
- reinforcement of hemostatic, wound healing and anti-inflammatory activity;
- antiviral, antibacterial, fungicidal( antifungal);
- maintenance of eye health - preservation of visual acuity, prevention of cataract;
- saturation of blood with oxygen;
- reduced blood sugar and cholesterol;
- regulation of blood pressure;
- protection from the effects of radioactive exposure;
- inhibiting the growth of malignant tumors.
There are about 90 varieties of plants in the world, in Russia there are 17 of them. Sorts of a few hundred.
Depending on the characteristics, the amaranth is usually divided into the following groups:
- Vegetable - is an excellent source of protein. In food you can use all parts of the plant - leaves, stems, seeds. The most popular varieties are Valentine, Krepysh, Kovasa, Opoio, White Leaf( amaranth white).
- Grain - is grown to produce seeds. Such grain is used for the production of oil and flour, and is also left for livestock feed. Among the known varieties - Voronezh, Helios, Orange giant, Ultra, Kharkov-1.
- Fodder - is distinguished by high yield of green mass and grain. For the feed of livestock, even the roots of the plant are used: Aztec, Giant, Emperor, Kizlyarets, Royal, Lera.
- Decorative - is the original decoration of the garden and part of the winter bouquets. Seeds for food are not suitable, and the leaves can be added to salads. Depending on the variety, the plants may differ in the color of the leaves and flowers, as well as in the following sizes: Amaranth green, Amaranth dark, Amaranth tri-color, Amaranth tail, Illuminance( amaranth yellow), Venus( amaranth red), Roter Dam, Roshtwantz, Hot Biscuits.
Amaranth-based products are effective for the following diseases:
- beriberi, anemia;
- headache, loss of strength, insomnia, neurosis, depression;
- diabetes, obesity;
- atherosclerosis( clogging) of vessels;
- hypertension( high blood pressure);
- angina pectoris, ischemic heart disease;
- varicose veins, hemorrhoids;
- female diseases - colpitis, cystitis, inflammation of the appendages, candidiasis, erosion, ovarian cysts, profuse menstruation;
- diseases of the genitourinary system in men - urethritis, prostatitis, enuresis, impotence;
- lesions of the respiratory system - colds, tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia;
- skin diseases - allergic rash, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, fungal lesions, pressure sores, vitiligo;
- wounds, scars, burns, insect bites;
- alopecia( alopecia);
- diseases of the joints and spine - arthritis, arthrosis, osteochondrosis;
- Diseases of the oral cavity - stomatitis, gingivitis, periodontitis;
- lesions of the stomach, intestines, liver and other digestive organs - peptic ulcer, colitis, gastritis, chronic pancreatitis, intoxication, hepatitis, constipation;
- helminthiases - infection with worms;
- for rehabilitation after chemotherapy.
Many preparations for indoor and outdoor use are prepared from amaranth.
To do this, use different parts of the plant:
- Seeds of .They serve as a basis for cooking flour and oil, they are also germinated, boiled and fried. Use exclusively light grains - white, beige, yellow or pinkish color. Black seeds give decorative plants, they contain some substances that people do not want to use.
- Sprouts of .The greatest healing effect is possessed by germinated seeds of amaranth. For this, the grains are placed in a jar or special device for germination( sprite), pour a small amount of water for a day( the water should not cover the seeds completely), and then washed 2 times a day. After pecking the shoots, the container is removed to the refrigerator until the seedlings become sufficiently large. Eat 1 teaspoon in the morning.
- Grass .To prepare medicinal broths and infusions use fresh and dried flowers, leaves, roots and young( up to 20 centimeters in height) amaranth stalks.
Amaranth processing products:
- Oil( low temperature extract) .It is extracted by cold pressing from crushed amaranth seeds. Oil compresses benefit from skin and joint damage, it is advisable to heat the product up to 38-40 degrees before use, and cool it in the refrigerator if there is an acute phase of arthritis. Oil rinses are indicated for diseases of the mouth and throat. Strengthens the effect and helps with other diseases using amaranth oil inside - 1-2 tablespoons 3 times a day before or during meals.
- Oil extract .To prepare the product yourself, amaranth seeds should be ground in a mortar or coffee grinder, but because of the dense shell of grains it will not be easy. Collect the raw materials in a glass jar, add the same amount of olive oil and put in a dark cool place for 1-1,5 months, mixing daily. Then extract and store in the refrigerator. For a better grinding of the seeds, they can be pre-fried, but in this case, the volume of olive oil should be increased by 1.5 times.
- Schroth .A by-product, cake, remaining after pressing the oil from the seeds. The content of a large amount of protein, fiber and minerals with almost complete absence of fat makes it indispensable for intensive training, recovery from illness, diet. Take 1-2 tablespoons a day, with plenty of water. Can be added to products that do not require heat treatment.
- Flour .Like the meal, it is prepared from seeds of amaranth by degreasing and further grinding. Amaranth flour does not contain gluten, which makes it indispensable for celiac disease( allergies to protein gluten of cereals).The product can be used alone or mixed with wheat flour for bakery and pasta, gravy, sauces.
- Juice .It is obtained from the fresh green mass of the plant. For this, the grass must be scrolled through a meat grinder and wrung out. The resulting liquid is diluted with water and used for rinsing the mouth and compresses, and mixed with cream and taken internally as a restorative.
- Decoction of .To prepare the preparation 1 tablespoon chopped dry raw materials, pour 0.5 liters of boiling water, heat on low heat for 10 minutes, allow to cool and drain. Drink 0.5 cup 3 times a day for half an hour before meals. More concentrated product can be used for rinses, lotions, add to the bath.
- Infusion( tea) .For brewing, you need 1 teaspoon of dry or fresh herbs to pour 1 cup of boiling water, to insist 20 minutes. To improve the taste, you can add mint leaves or lemon balm, lemon juice, honey.
- Tincture of .Dry the grass of amaranth in a glass container, filling it with 1/3, and then pour over to the top with vodka or 40% alcohol. Infuse for 2 weeks in a dark place, stirring daily, then drain. Take 1 teaspoon of tincture 3 times a day for half an hour before meals.
- Ointment( cream) .Melt one part of the fat base on the water bath, add 2 parts of dried powdered grass to the powder - only amaranth or with the addition of other plants( marigold flowers, leaves or burdock roots, plantain).For a more liquid consistency, it is recommended to pour in a thinning agent - oil, juice or concentrated herbal decoction. When applied to the skin, this cream protects it from cold, dryness and damage. During the epidemics of ARVI means can be smeared with the nasal mucosa. With burns, abrasions and wounds, the ointment promotes the fastest healing.
Finished amaranth-based products can be purchased at a pharmacy or specialized stores. The most popular is oil, it is presented in the form of a solution and in capsules, pectofit with amaranth tablets are produced, seeds, cereals, meal, flour are also sold. Some cosmetic preparations also contain amaranth - soap, cream-oil for the body, creams from wrinkles.
For weight loss
The use of amaranth in food actively promotes weight loss:
- The plant protein helps to burn fat, strengthen and build up muscles, so they do not hang on losing weight. Also, the protein stimulates the production of the "satiety" hormone, which suppresses excessive appetite.
- If you follow a diet, you can eat bran, bread and other products from flour amaranth - the fat content in it is quite low.
- Caloric content is also low - in 100 grams of amaranth flour contains about 300 kilocalories.
- Complex fiber, which is present in the plant in large quantities, is digested for a long time and allows you to remain full for a long time and reduce the number of snacks. It also cleanses the intestines, eliminating constipation, improving the color and condition of the skin.
- Regular consumption of amaranth seeds stabilizes the level of glucose in the blood.
Amaranth oil is of great value for the skin:
- saturates the cells with oxygen;
- neutralizes free radicals;
- has a rejuvenating effect;
- smooths the color and tone of the facial skin, gives it radiance;
- nourishes, softens, increases the elasticity and firmness of the skin;
- strengthens local immunity, accelerates the regeneration of cells;
- has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Oil of a plant can be used as an independent agent, to prepare masks and creams on its basis, to add to the finished cosmetic products.
It is recommended to use such cosmetics under the following conditions:
- dermatological diseases;
- burns, including sunburn;
- problematic, sensitive skin;
- the presence of acne( black spots), pimples;
- peeling and irritation of the skin;
- age changes - skin tightening, wrinkles.
To enhance the effect of grass and grain amaranth can be consumed inside.to table of contents ^
In the cooking of
The nutritional value of amaranth has been known for a long time - among the ancient Aztecs and Incas, this grain culture has been the basis of nutrition for thousands of years. In our time, the UN calls the plant a product of the 21st century. Due to the high content of quality easily digestible protein, amaranth is in demand among vegetarians and fans of raw food, replacing them with meat.
Various dishes are prepared from the plant parts:
- Kashi. According to the recipe, amaranth seeds are mixed with water in equal parts and cooked, stirring occasionally. The readiness and density of the dish is corrected, gradually adding to it boiling water.
- Bread, biscuits, biscuits, muffins, vermicelli, pasta. For the production of bakery and pasta, amaranth flour is used either in pure form or in combination with wheat or rye flour. Also in the pastry are added fried amaranth seeds, having a pleasant nutty taste. Such products do not stale for a long time. Amaranth leaves are used as a filling for pies.
- Thickeners. To achieve a more dense consistency of dishes such as gravy, sauces, ketchup, homemade mayonnaise, during cooking, they pour in a little flour amaranth.
- Seasonings. Fresh and dried leaves of the plant enhance the taste of meat and fish dishes, omelets, casseroles. Fried seeds are added to vegetable and meat cutlets.
- First courses. From the amaranth cook green cabbage soup, mixing its leaves with sorrel. Also, fresh and dried herbs are used as a filling for soups - 1-2 teaspoons of ground raw material per serving.
- Salads. Fresh leaves of amaranth chop and dress with vegetable oil or favorite sauce. It goes well with other greens and vegetables.
- Popcorn. From the purified seeds of the plant in the oven, you can prepare a dish that tastes like corn popcorn.
- Drinks. Non-alcoholic cocktails are prepared with fresh amaranth leaves, for example, with tomatoes, kvass and pepper. Instead of kvass, you can use sour-milk products. Such drinks are especially recommended to men - they increase potency. Also, smoothies are popular with the addition of ground seeds of a plant.
- Beer. The product is prepared according to standard recipes, but it is based on amaranth malt, which must be taken 2-2.5 times more than barley or wheat.
- Conservation. Adding one sheet of amaranth in a three-liter jar while preserving cucumbers allows them to retain their elasticity for a long time, providing a pleasant crunch.
The use of amaranth during pregnancy and in the postpartum period is very beneficial for the mother's body:
- Rubbing the plant oil in the skin saturates it with oxygen, prevents wilting, eliminates redness and itching, prevents the appearance of stretch marks and fights with the already existing ones.
- Daily application of oil to the feet prevents varicose veins by strengthening the walls of the vessels.
- Regular use of amaranth preparations inside saturates the mother's body with essential vitamins and minerals, supporting immunity and protecting against negative environmental factors.
- The plant contains large reserves of calcium - one of the most important elements, due to which the skeleton of the child is correctly formed.
- Amaranth is rich in folic acid( vitamin B9).The importance of this substance in pregnancy can not be overemphasized - it is responsible for the normal formation of the placenta, cell division, participates in the processes of hematopoiesis, ensures normal development of the fetus.
- One of the most common problems in pregnant women are constipation. The use of amaranth helps to get rid of them and regulate digestion.
- In case of hair loss, it is recommended to rinse them with decoction of herbs or amaranth juice, make masks on its basis, rub amaranth oil on the scalp - these products strengthen the hair follicles.
- After delivery, when the mother's body is exhausted, amaranth is a prevention of fatigue, mood swings, depression.
- If a woman has gained extra pounds during pregnancy, eating a plant will help get rid of them.
- When breastfeeding, amaranth stimulates the production of milk, improves its taste.
Introduction of amaranth in a children's diet positively affects their health. There are several reasons for this:
- exceptional composition of the plant can prevent the development of diseases such as rickets, anemia, strengthen immunity, support forces in physical and psychoemotional loads, for example, in examinations;
- amaranth tea can be given to babies as one of the first products - from 7-8 months;
- almost never causes allergies;
- reduces the risk of helminthiosis - infection with worms;
- has analgesic properties, helps with colic, teething;
- baths with decoction of amaranth leaves soothe the skin for allergic rashes, prickly, heal abrasions and scratches;
- the diet with amaranth is effective in the treatment of children with a delay in physical development, which is proved by clinical trials;
- in order to meet the children's need for a healthy protein, WHO recommends that the ratio of rice and amaranth in a diet of 1: 1 be respected.
Side effects and contraindications
Like any other product, amaranth can have an undesirable effect on the body of some people:
- dizziness - due to the active intake of oxygen into the blood, eventually passes;
- feeling of nausea, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea - can be caused by an individual intolerance to the plant.
Amaranth preparations are not recommended in the presence of the following diseases:
- bile or urolithiasis;
- acute pancreatitis or exacerbation of chronic;
- addiction to diarrhea.
Before consuming amaranth for food, you should always consult your doctor.