(NaturalNews) The indigenous peoples of the Americas domesticated a variety of superfoods that took on important roles in their culture. Two of these are starting to gain worldwide recognition today as foods packed with protein and other essential nutrients: quinoa and amaranth. Both were banned by Spaniards who were scornful of their use in native religious ceremonies.
Both quinoa and amaranth are especially high-protein grains, containing 8 to 9 grams per 1-cup serving. Surprisingly, the protein they provide is actually complete — meaning that it has all the essential amino acids in the ratios needed by the human body — a trait that is very rare in plant foods.
Although quinoa and amaranth can be used like grains in cooking, they are not members of the grass family and are completely safe for people with gluten or corn allergies. To top it off, both also produce edible leaves.
Only now are Westerners really starting to appreciate the potential of these crops, particularly amaranth. While quinoa is hard to grow outside of its native mountain environment, amaranth grows so easily that it is actually regarded as a weed in some areas.