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.”
Common Myths and Misconceptions about breakfast...
"I don’t have time to eat breakfast."
- It's a lame excuse. If you are serious about time, plan your day well in advance. Allocate time for food, including your breakfast. Can't you afford to find 5 minutes to eat an energizing breakfast ?
"I don’t need breakfast."
- Every machine requires some form of energy to run. In the same way, your body requires energy to work. If a healthy breakfast is consumed, your body and mind will be really productive.
"Skipping breakfast does not matter – I can cover that in the lunch."
- If you skip breakfast, two things happen for sure: You do not have enough stamina to last the day (as you miss out on the nutrients that a breakfast supplements) . And, you are allowing the stomach to produce acid, without putting it to work. This damages the walls of the stomach, giving rise to painful Ulcers and unease.
"I want to reduce weight, let me skip breakfast and have lunch directly."
- In fact having proper breakfast allows you to keep fit. Further, it is a natural phenomenon to fill an empty stomach, and, human tendency forces us to reach out to snacks and high caloried junk food, which is totally unhealthy for a morning hour.
Hence, a Healthy Breakfast is very important and makes sure you are well-nourished to keep you energized for the day .
Let us compare breakfast with warm up exercise.
A breakfast is the first meal after a long night's sleep, where, your body detoxes and repairs itself. It can be compared with a warming up exercise done by an athlete before going for a run or, players preparing themselves before a match,which will make them ready for a stable performance.
What happens during warm up? Muscles and tissues stretch and relax, so that it can be more flexible in play. Similarly, anything we eat in the morning should help the natural process of detox and repair/regain to a ready state for upcoming foods of the day.
Can we skip warm up?, Will it affect our performance? Yes, Absolutely. Tight muscles and tissues are not relaxed, so it may slow down our response during play. Sometimes you can even sprain a muscle. Skipping breakfast will make you feel hungry, tired and lethargic. This is because the energy required is not provided, so the body start taking the necessary glucose from the tissues. On the other side, your stomach will start producing real acid to enable digestion. Empty stomach with acid leads to heartburn, which is not a healthy sign. It may lead to an ulcer and build up of gas.
Does that mean a heavy warm up exercise will be beneficial? Absolutely NOT. Too much of warming up will make us feel exhausted and tired. Warm up exercise should be mild and fresh. Likewise, a heavy breakfast is not advisable in the morning. Foods which contain complex carbohydrates, rich in fibre will be best kind of breakfast.
Digestive action starts mildy in the morning and goes to peak in the noon and slows down by evening.
A breakfast with a variety of choices as mentioned below, is considered healthy:
- Fresh fruits like bananas, avoid sour fruits.
- Boiled potatoes and vegetables.
- Whole grain bread, oatmeal or a porridge.
- Fresh juice (not from a can or tetra pack.)
Do not confuse yourself between a full meal and heavy meal. A full meal is just loading your stomach full with eating more of prescribed foods, but a heavy meal contains fat rich foods like fries, cheese and paneer, which may be little difficult to get digested.
In simple, a breakfast is, Eat easy to digest food and don't over eat.
Why should I have Multi-Grain Porridge? How is it Helps? What are the Benefits?
Fullness or Satiety
Grain-based food has a high amount of dietary fiber. Fibre substance helps to fill you up, which prevents you from overeating. It helps to maintain or even lose weight. Fiber also helps to maintain blood-sugar levels and reduces the risk for high cholesterol. A cup of cooked porridge contains about 4 grams to 6 grams of fiber. Consuming porridge every day twice is good for men and once is ideal for women . Adding berries, seeds, and nuts to the porridge will increase its fiber content.
Muti grain Porridge contains a high amount of complex carbs, unlike simple carbs which get digested slowly and gives you sustained energy. One cup of porridge contains just over 15 grams of carbs. Adding fruit, honey, brown sugar or milk to your porridge will boost the carb content of your meal and increase the calories. Milk also contains a moderate amount of protein. Carbohydrates are required for the body because they are macronutrients needed for optimal brain function and energy.
Grains has a generous amount of Iron, which is used for the production of myoglobin and hemoglobin. They join with red blood cells to carry oxygen to the muscles and all other areas of the body. Iron is required very well for Men and women. Consuming the natural way in the form of porridge adds value.
Strengthen Bones and Muscles
Porridge has calcium and high content of phosphorus. Phosphorus, which is stored in the bones, helps with energy production, filtering of waste through the kidneys and muscle recovery after intense exercise. Making porridge with milk and adding seeds and nuts will create a high-phosphorus content in your meal. Calcium is similar to phosphorus in that it helps strengthen teeth and bones. It also plays a role in hormone secretion, nerve transmission and muscle function. By preparing your gruel with milk, you will boost the calcium content of the meal.
Acts as Immunity Builder
Porridge contains Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body needs for vision, cell and tissue growth, and reproduction. It is also an antioxidant, which helps destroy free radicals and reduce the risk for chronic disease.
Consuming porridge is the healthy practice which is more traditional and including it has a breakfast replacement makes a day more healthy and energetic. Intake of porridge will be an easy way to maintain our daily values.
Added, a brisk walk in the morning help to get the vitamin D with the help of sunlight.
Note: Minimum 15 grams or 3 spoons of powder makes a glass of porridge. Milk will be ideal for children and youngsters and buttermilk will suit for elders and diabetics.