ALSO KNOWN AS
Chinese spinach, Yin Tsai (China), Callaloo (Caribbean)
Oldie but goodie
The Amaranth’s origin traces all the way back to ancient civilizaitons of Mesoamerica, the Mayan, Incan and Aztec civilizations, as a stable crop for its leaves and grains. They grew well in the uplands of present-day Peru and the Andes Mountains and were even part of Aztec religious ceremonies.
Amaranth comes in colors of red, orange, purple, green and gold. They have presently made it all the way to Asia and all over the world, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the coasts of the tropics.
Per 100 g, Amaranth leaves are only 23 calories and contains a power punch of proteins, vitamins and minerals. It has almost 3000 IU of Vitamin A for eye and lung health and cavity protection, and 1140 ug of Vitamin K for bone mass and blood and neural health (great for anemics) — one of the highest concentrations of K vitamins in leafy vegetables.
Compared to spinach, Amaranth has more calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc! This humble plant is truly a superfood good for all parts of the body. Amaranth may not have the same marketing as kale and spinach, but her might, history, and legacy are one for the books.
In India, they are mixed in curries and lentils in a popular dish called dal saag. In China, leaves are incorporated in stir-fries and soups. Don’t be afraid to add it to your favorite dishes for added texture and nutrients. Leaves and shoots can also be consumed raw in salads or juices.