super grains Super Amaranth


Amaranth

Basic information

Kiwicha reigned supreme among the Incan food staples because of its nutritional and medicinal properties. High in protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and other nutrients, it also boasts a fine and soft texture. After the conquistadors arrived, they banned growing and eating this superfood because of its nutritional value. Despite the ban, brave farmers saved it from extinction.

Seasonal availability

Harvest: from the fifth to seventh month.

Human health benefits

Super kiwicha, also known as amaranth, is a plant native to the Andes. It is packed with amino acids, especially lysine, which enhance brain development. It is also good nourishment for expectant mothers and infants because it provides calcium, phosphorus and iron, which help keep teeth, bones and blood healthy. An infusion made from the stems of this plant serves as effective laxative. It also sooths rheumatism and menstrual cramps.

This grain should be cooked before eating so the body can absorb its nutrients. For example, 100 grams of kiwicha contains 428 calories: 70% from carbohydrates, 14.5% from proteins and 7.8% from fats.

Amaranth

Property

The virtues of Kiwicha make it a valuable part of anyone’s diet. One of its attributes is lysine, which helps lower cholesterol levels, stimulating growth hormones. It is also an anti-inflammatory that acts on the body’s proteins. It goes to work quickly within the body after surgeries and/or sports injuries. Rich in calcium, 100 grams of this product has twice as much of this mineral as milk. People that do not eat enough of this protein can suffer from rickets, osteoporosis, irritated fibers and cramps. It also helps create enzymes, antibodies and hormones. The leaves can also be used as an ingredient in mouthwashes and to bring relief to sore throats. It can even be eaten by patients suffering from obesity, hypertension, constipation and high cholesterol.

This grain is harvested in our country, especially in the provinces of Cusco, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Huancayo and Huaraz. Because of its nutritional value, NASA included this crop in its Controlled Ecological Life-Support System (CELSS), and it is part of the space program because of its iron and vitamin A and C content.

Kiwicha is known by different names in the countries where it is harvested or eaten. For example, in Ecuador, it is called sangoracha; in Bolivia it is millmi; in Portugal amaranto del valle; in France amarante caudée; and in Quechua it has the names “Incan wheat,” achita, kiwillo, ataku and ccoyo.

Nutritional value

Geographical distribution

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