Amaranth: One Of The Most Abundant and Healthy Plants In Mexico
A recent discovery came to light today in a National Geographic article that may have health nuts and foodies around the world intrigued. Oaxaca health group, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (Bridge to Community Health) advocates for the distribution of the plant Amaranth, in communities where obesity is most prevalent. A healthy alternative to corn, the plant contains up to 60,000 seeds similar to quinoa that can be used in flour as well.
The plant is said to contain eight essential amino acids, some of those lacking in corn and wheat, making it a super healthy alternative to two of major staples in Mexican cuisine. Amaranth is also gluten free, contains 30 percent more protein than rice, and is high in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
Historically, amaranth was grown by the Aztech’s consumed for its nutritional properties before conquistadores arrived. Amaranth is fast and easy to harvest, and requires less water than corn. An amaranth plant can last up to forty days without water, making it a crucial staple for the dry season.
Other than being used in flour, health official encourage experimenting with other popular dishes in order to make the nutritional plant a bigger part of the culture.
There is great potential for amaranth to improve the health of many developing communities in Mexico if the crop is grown and sold in local markets. As of now, the price of the crop is much higher than corn running at around $1.40 per kilogram as opposed to $.40 per kilo for corn. Local’s are hesitant to jump into the U.S exports market with amaranth, because of what happened with quinoa when prices soared and locals could no longer afford it. The focus at the moment with the healthy crop will be to raise awareness and spread it throughout Mexico before it hits international markets.
Full article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130812-amaranth-oaxaca-mexico-obesity-puente-food/
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