Amaranth - Can it Change the World?

A United Nation’s report last week found that Mexico surpassed the U.S. as the world’s most obese country. And, even though Mexico faces the highest rate of adult obesity in the world, each year some 10,000 children die from malnutrition. These issues are linked -- childhood malnutrition makes children 7-8 times more likely to be overweight or obese as an adult.

The health issues related to obesity are numerous. There is a risk of high blood pressure, as well as diabetes, but there is also the risk for heart disease. Those who are overweight can experience sleep apnea alongside other respiratory problems, and joint pain can be an everyday struggle.

Obesity can also lead to cancer. Both men and women who are overweight are more likely to get colon cancer than someone of a healthy body weight.

Amaranth was a staple grain of the pre-Colombian Aztec diet before it was banned upon the arrival of Spanish conquistadors for its use in sometimes bloody rituals. The super nutritious psedocereal is now making a comeback in its native Mexico thanks to two American philanthropists -- long after Science magazine described amaranth as “the crop of the future” in 1977.

Is Amaranth the Answer?

Amaranth is gluten-free and super nutritious with extremely high values of the essential amino acid lysine (which sets it apart from other grains). Amaranth also contains significantly more calcium, iron, fiber, magnesium, and protein than cereals like oats, rice, sorghum, wheat, and rye.

Kate Seely and Katherine Lorenz founded Puente a la Salud Comunitaria in 2003 in Oaxaca, Mexico -- a social entrepreneurial model that addresses both the malnutrition and obesity problems of Mexico, and aims to provide significant economic benefits to indigenous people in one of the poorest areas of the country. Puente's participatory, community intervention model for food sovereignty and sustainability is poised for experiential growth, and, according to Forbes, “leading the movement” to make amaranth the crop of now.

Read a portion of the Forbes article by Devin Thorpe below:

Amaranth, How will it Change the World?

Amaranth, a little known grain cultivated in the Americas before the arrival of the Spanish, appears to have potential to enhance food supplies in some parts of the world threatened by climate change, according to a recent PRI story.

Puente à la Salud Comunitaria, a nonprofit organization helping local farmers in Oaxaca, Mexico to cultivate and process amaranth is leading the movement to bring the grain back into more general use.

Mr. Thorpe then interviewed Kate Seely and Katherine Lorenz, President and Board Treasurer/Secretary of the organization. Watch the video interview below:

To read EYES IN Magazine’s previous post about Amaranth, click HERE to be directed to the article “Amaranth – Gluten Free Crop of Now”.

Sources: Puente a la Salud Comunitaria / http://www.puentemexico.org

Forbes / http://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2013/06/26/amaranth-how-will-it-change-the-world/

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