Amaranth is not a grain like quinoa or millet. It is a seed, but due to this seed's nutritional profile and its usage in casual cuisines, it is referred as a grain.
Amaranth is the common name for more than 60 different species of Amaranthus, which are usually very tall plants with broad green leaves and impressively bright purple, red, or gold flowers. They are commonly grown for their edible seeds. One plant can produce up to 60,000 seeds.
Amaranth has a long history and has been in use for many centuries by many different cultures. Amaranth was once a staple food in the diets of pre-Columbian Aztecs. It is grown and consumed as a leafy vegetable in many countries around the world. Amaranth is, easy to cook, highly palatable, and, can easily be included in snacks and dishes. Cooked amaranth is 90% digestible.
Amaranth contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s also the only grain documented to contain Vitamin C.
Amaranth is relatively rich in lysine. Most grains like wheat are short on lysine, an amino acid. This makes amaranth a complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids. Amaranth is gluten free and good for your heart. Amaranth has shown potential as a cholesterol-lowering whole grain in several studies conducted over the past 14 years.
Amaranth can be cooked and consumed as porridge, which is a great option for breakfast. In fact, amaranth porridge is a traditional breakfast in India, Peru, Mexico, and Nepal. Its is a famous leafy vegetable in South India.
Names in other languages - Rajgeera (Hindi), Rajgiri (Kannada, Konkani, Sanskrit), Mulaikeerai (Tamil), thotakoora (Telugu). The Hindi name for amaranth, rajgeera, means “the king’s grain.” Its other name, ramdana, means “God’s own grain.”