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Amaranth: what you did not know about the basic grain in the diet of the Aztecs

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Aztecs “communed” with amaranth, rich in nutrients and that has flourished outside the Earth

The amaranth is a nutritious food that was a staple in the diet of the Aztecs and that has even flourished outside of Earth. The archaeological evidence found in Mexico indicates that man cultivated it from 5200 to 3400 BC He was known to Mayans, Aztecs, Incas, gatherer, and hunter peoples.

The most cultivated grains before the conquest

The Aztecs called Huauhtli to amaranth that was the most cultivated grains as food. Was important as well as corn, chili, beans, chia, and cocoa. With this pseudocereal they made various dishes and drinks, they used it to make atole, tamales, stews, and tortillas.

During the conquest, the cultivation was prohibited from amaranth in Mexico for the religious relevance that I had. In ceremonies dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztecs made a kind of bread with the form of deities to sacralize “their flesh” and consume it with great reverence in ritual acts. What similarly do Catholics with the host.

Nourishing power

Amaranth is rich in protein with essential amino acids that the body needs to obtain from food. It also provides calcium, iron, phosphorus And it is low in fat and gluten-free.

The Amaranth protein resembles that of milk and can also provide significant amounts of fiber, vitamin E, and B.

It is a “pseudocereal” because it tastes and looks similar to cereals. It is from the family of quintiles, (fresh green leaves of amaranth), a kind of qualities.

When consumed as a vegetable, it has almost as much protein, iron, and ascorbic calcium as spinach publishes the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

“It is good for cardiovascular diseases, stomach pain and anemia”, points out the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Less anxiety and more “joy”

What highlights of amaranth protein is its high content of lysine compared to other cereals, FAO shares.

Lysine can help reduce feelings of anxiety and levels of cortisol, the hormone stress, according to studies in Syria.

In turn, the pseudocereal provides niacin that contributes to the production of sex hormones, of the growth and metabolism.

Amaranth also contains a stimulant that supports mood. Has tryptophan, an essential amino acid that participates in the production of serotonin in the brain, and which is responsible for our ability to feel pleasure and well-being, say UNAM researchers.

In Mexico, the most common way to consume amaranth is in “joy”, a popular sweet made with cereal and brown sugar. The name is more than justified.

Blooming in space

In 1985 the amaranth germinated and flourished out of the earth during the flight of the ship Atlantis in which the Mexican astronaut Rodolfo Neri Vera participated. Since then, it has been cultivated in space travel.

Highly resistant

Amaranth is a food that can nourish populations that live in adverse climatic conditions. It is a plant resistant to drought, high temperatures, and saline soils.


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