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Amaranth, puffed (amaranth, foxtail)

Due to the manufacturing process, puffed amaranth (amaranth, foxtail) loses a lot of nutrients. Prefer untreated amaranth.
The information we compiled for this ingredient complies with the standards ofthe USDA database.

Many people believe that this product is a raw food because it appears to be in its natural state. However, in the majority of cases it isn’t raw! This is usually because the production process requires heat, and other alternative processes would involve much more time and money, as is the case here - or it has to be pasteurized. At least one of these reasons applies here.

If a product is labeled as raw, before it is sold it still may be mixed with other products that have undergone cheaper processes. Depending on the product, you may not be able to distinguish any differences when it comes to appearance or taste.

By the way, raw foodists should also understand that there are foods that are raw but that as such contain toxins — or that can only be eaten raw in small quantities. These are indicated with a different symbol.

Macronutrient carbohydrates 74.02%
Macronutrient proteins 16.38%
Macronutrient fats 9.61%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 3.4g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, 0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = !:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Here, essential linolenic acid (LA) 3.4 g and almost no alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Puffed amaranth is gluten-free, just like raw amaranth ( Amaranthus caudatus ). When puffed, it is about the size of a mustard seed. The popular amaranth pops can be bought or easily made at home.

Use in the kitchen:

Can you eat puffed amaranth? Amaranth pops, which are made in a similar way to popcorn, are popular in muesli and yoghurt. Puffed amaranth can be eaten on its own or mixed with other cereals.

Puffed amaranth is an excellent ingredient in homemade granola bars, pastries, desserts, cookies, cakes, breadings or patties. Amaranth pops can be sprinkled decoratively over prepared dishes and desserts or used to coat vegan chocolates and breads. The non-puffed amaranth grains are best used for cooking.

Puffed amaranth is not suitable for raw food cooking because high temperatures are generated during production.

Recipe for energy bars with amaranth pops:

First mix 60 g dried cranberries , 60 g dried sour cherries , 120 g dried dates , 90 g cashew nuts and 1 tbsp linseed . Finely grind half of the mixture in a blender and chop the other half. Now mix all the ingredients together with 0.5 tsp ground ginger , 1 tsp lemon peel , 0.25 tspvanilla powder , 2 tbsp rice syrup and 10 g puffed amaranth. Press the energy bar mixture evenly into a baking pan lined with baking paper (15 x 15 cm). After 3-4 hours you can cut the solidified mass into 10 energy bars. You can find the full description of the recipe HERE .

Vegan recipes with puffed amaranth can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Shopping - where to buy?

Amaranth pops can be bought in organic shops, health food stores, organic supermarkets such as Alnatura or Denns , and drugstores (e.g. DM ). You can also find puffed amaranth on supermarket shelves or in the online shops of Coop , Migros , Edeka , Rewe and Interspar , usually in controlled organic quality. Puffed amaranth is also available in stores as amaranth popcorn, amaranth poppies, amaranth poffies or amaranth popcorn.

Aldi , Lidl , Hofer , Denner and Volg do not currently have any amaranth pops in their product range, but often have muesli mixes, yoghurt preparations, crispbread, chocolate bars and muesli bars with a proportion of puffed amaranth.

When shopping, we recommend looking for puffed amaranth from controlled organic cultivation in order to keep the pollution caused by chemical pesticides to a minimum. Occasionally, you can buy puffed amaranth from the Alpine region (Austria), which scores highly in ecological terms.

The amaranth harvest takes place during the season from September to October, but amaranth pops are available all year round.

Making your own amaranth pops:

Puffed amaranth can be made at home with little effort. Put a tablespoon of amaranth grains into a very hot, tall pot, and they will immediately start to puff. Now hold the pot close to the stove and move it back and forth. The amaranth pops are ready in a few seconds and you can put them in a cold container to cool down. Before you start the second run, it is important to wipe the pot with a clean kitchen towel.

Storage - Shelf life:

Amaranth pops can generally be stored in a dry, light-protected container. The low water content resulting from the manufacturing process and the enzymes and microorganisms inactivated by heat increase the shelf life of amaranth pops. Activated fat enzymes would lead to premature spoilage of the highly unsaturated fatty acids in amaranth. 1

The easiest way to tell whether the pops are still edible after a long storage period is by their smell. Oxidized amaranth pops smell unmistakably rancid.

Ingredients - nutritional value - calories:

Puffing leads to vitamin losses, especially the B vitamins. Heat and pressure destroy vitamin B 1 almost completely and vitamin B 6 by up to 75%. The values of the less heat-sensitive vitamins such as vitamin B 2 or niacin , on the other hand, remain quite stable. In the case of proteins, there is a total loss of the essential amino acid lysine . 1

Compared to other breakfast cereal manufacturing processes, puffing results in the greatest loss of nutrients. 1

For a detailed description of the ingredients of untreated, gluten-free amaranth, see our article Amaranth, raw (amaranth seeds, kiwicha) .

You can find all the ingredients, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health aspects - effects:

How healthy is puffed amaranth? Due to the high pressure and high temperatures involved in the puffing of amaranth, proteins are denatured, Maillard products (acrylamide) are produced, enzymes are inactivated and unsaturated fatty acids are converted into trans fatty acids. For this reason, amaranth pops should not be consumed regularly or in large quantities. 1

Prefer untreated amaranth, which you can freshly squeeze or grind. Even commercially available flakes are hot-rolled to inactivate the fatty enzymes that ensure rapid oxidation of the fatty acids. 1

Amaranth may be considered a superfood, but amaranth pops certainly do not fall into this category due to the loss of quality during production.

Amaranth is one of the gluten-free pseudocereals (amaranth family). It is a complete grain substitute for people with gluten intolerance 2 and is suitable as a dietary food for people with celiac disease (sprue, gluten-sensitive enteropathy).

When buying, look for the gluten-free symbol (crossed-out ear of corn), which only licensed products are allowed to carry. This way you can avoid contamination with foods containing gluten.

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects:

Is amaranth poisonous? Amaranth has been known as a valuable food for thousands of years. Although the pseudocereal is not poisonous, it does contain relatively high concentrations of tannins, oxalates and phytates. These plant substances can bind food proteins, enzymes, minerals and trace elements and thereby reduce the absorption of nutrients in the intestine. 3

For this reason, the official recommendation of the Federal Center for Nutrition ( BZfE ) is not to use amaranth in infant nutrition. 4

At this LINK you will learn how to reduce the anti-nutritional food ingredient phytic acid.

General information:

Puffed amaranth is a popular ingredient for muesli mixes or as a main ingredient in breakfast cereals and confectionery. Wikipedia describes the characteristic features of puffed grains, such as the inner, foamy structure, the very low specific weight and the easy chewability. 5

How do you make puffed amaranth? There are two different procedures for making amaranth pops. Popping allows the grain to expand without the pressure normally used in the industry. The amaranth grain pops on its own when exposed to heat. Puffing, on the other hand, involves a temperature of up to 300 °C and high pressure (up to 35 bar). A sudden drop in pressure causes the grain to expand explosively. The water contained in the grain evaporates and the starch gelatinizes. 1

Amaranth ( Amaranthus caudatus ), also known as garden foxtail, is a plant species native to South America in the genus amaranth ( Amaranthus ) within the family Amaranthaceae. 6

Literature - Sources: