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    Amaranth and Quinoa: Pseudo-cereal Super Foods


    Jennifer Nyce


    • Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Winter Issue - Originally published January 14, 2015


    Image Caption: Image: CC--naturalflow

    Celiac.com 06/28/2016 - My latest obsession is creating new quinoa recipes, since my eight year old daughter absolutely loves it! Her favorite is warm quinoa with crumbled turkey sausage, broccoli, and lots of cumin. She also loves it with oil and balsamic vinegar. I like it cold with chopped veggies, garlic, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Just a few weeks ago I tried amaranth for the first time. It seems to be the new craze these days. It cooked up very similarly to quinoa, and had a similar taste and texture. I would say the only noticeable difference is that amaranth does not get as fluffy when cooked. It seems like it would be great in soup! Now for a little history.


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    Amaranth is estimated to have been domesticated between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago, and was a staple food crop of the Aztec's. The common name, amaranth, represents over sixty different plant species called amaranthus.(1) The amaranth plant is a full, broad leafed plant that has vibrant colors. Amaranth's name comes from the Greek name, amarantos, meaning "one that does not fade." This is due to the plant retaining its vibrant colors even after harvesting and drying. The amaranth plant can contain up to 60,000 seeds.

    Amaranth is gluten-free and it contains about thirty percent more protein than rice, sorghum, and rye.(2) Amaranth flour can be made from the seeds and is a excellent replacement for those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

    Amaranth flour has a unique chemical composition with a predominance of albumins and globulins and a very small prolamins content with total absence of alpha-gliadin. This makes it very comparable to wheat protein(2). It also has a relatively high content of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and fiber and an almost perfect amino acid profile. It's particularly high in lysine, which is abundantly lacking in wheat and corn.(3)

    Another benefit of amaranth is that it is a natural source of folic acid, and in some countries, amaranth is used alleviate birth defects. Amaranth is not a true grain, as it does not come from the Poaceae family, but is considered a pseudo-cereal like it's relative quinoa. Both amaranth and quinoa belong to a large family that also includes beets, chard and spinach.(3)

    Quinoa is a broad-leafed plant that produces a small seed. It's a member of the Goosefoot family that is native to South America.(4) Quinoa is considered a complete protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids necessary to human physiology, and it is the only plant-based source for these nutrients.(5) Quinoa cooks up like a grain, but it is actually a seed, and is an excellent source of protein for vegans and people following a gluten-free diet. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, it is also safe for celiac patients.(6)

    Like amaranth, quinoa can be ground into a flour and used in cooking or baking. Quinoa is rich in manganese which is vital to activating enzymes crucial to metabolizing carbohydrates and cholesterol. It is also essential to bone development. Quinoa is rich in lysine, an essential amino acid, and helps with the absorption of calcium and the production of collagen and is low on the glycemic index.(5)

    Both amaranth and quinoa are great gluten-free options, both as a flour or grain substitute, and have a nutty taste and texture. They readily absorb the flavors they are cooked with, but are also tasty on their own. They can be made hot or cold, combined with other foods, added to soups or baked goods, and made into hot porridge or cereal. They are both versatile, easy to work with, and have a high nutritional content. If you're looking for an easy, healthy, gluten-free option, why not try amaranth or quinoa? It's a staple in our home!

    References:

    1. www.wholegrainscouncil.org
    2. Vopr Pitan. 2014;83(1):67-73., Amaranth flour: characteristics, comparative analysis, application possibilities.
    3. Howard, B. C. (August 12, 2013), Amaranth, Another Ancient Wonder Food, But Who Will Eat It?, Retrieved from www.nationalgeographic.com.
    4. Laux, M. (June 2012). Iowa State University. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Retrieved from www.agmrc.org.
    5. Norek, Danna. (June 15, 2010), Quinoa Gives the Perfect Protein Source to Vegetarians and Vegans. Retrieved from www.naturalnews.com.
    6. Victor F Zevallos PhD1, L Irene Herencia PhD2, Fuju Chang MD, PhD3, Suzanne Donnelly PhD1, H Julia Ellis PhD1 and Paul J Ciclitira MD, PhD1 (January 21, 2-14). Gastrointestinal Effects of Eating Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in Celiac Patients. Am J Gastroenterol 2014; 109:270–278.
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    Jen Cafferty
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    1 box cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
    ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
    ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
    ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
    3 T olive oil
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    Sources for info on quinoa:
    Quinoa Corporation
    Eden Organics
    Homegrown Harvest

    Heather Curtis
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    Jefferson Adams
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    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD
    Celiac.com 12/01/2015 - Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins which promote inflammatory responses like Crohn's disease, systemic lupus, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. They were discovered over 100 years ago and cause leaky gut and gastrointestinal dysbiosis yet the push for a plant-based diet focusing on legumes as meat alternatives has overlooked the damage lectins cause to the gut. Legumes offer inferior nutrition compared to animal proteins so toxicity needs to be considered when recommending food choices.
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    Tina Turbin
    Celiac.com 06/07/2016 - Where are all my Mexican food lovers? This one is especially for you. These Mexican stuffed zucchini boats are a perfect gluten-free party dish. You can cut them up into smaller pieces and serve them as a tray snack that is nutritious and protein packed. I don't know about you but I love when I go to a party and there are plates of healthy items to snack on. I never feel good filling up on just potato chips and veggie sticks. Junk food makes you feel pretty junky.
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    Tina Turbin
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    Jefferson Adams
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 11/15/2017 - Quinoa is regarded as safe for people with celiac disease. For many years, some celiac support groups listed quinoa as unsafe due to cross-contamination concerns. But any grain is unsafe for celiacs if it is contaminated with wheat, rye or barley. Some grains have a higher risk of such contamination, others have a low risk.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 12/07/2017 - Amaranth is naturally gluten-free and usually safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/18/2018 - Celiac disease has been mainly associated with Caucasian populations in Northern Europe, and their descendants in other countries, but new scientific evidence is beginning to challenge that view. Still, the exact global prevalence of celiac disease remains unknown.  To get better data on that issue, a team of researchers recently conducted a comprehensive review and meta-analysis to get a reasonably accurate estimate the global prevalence of celiac disease. 
    The research team included P Singh, A Arora, TA Strand, DA Leffler, C Catassi, PH Green, CP Kelly, V Ahuja, and GK Makharia. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India; Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway; Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Gastroenterology Research and Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc, Cambridge, MA; Department of Pediatrics, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy; Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; USA Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; and the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
    For their review, the team searched Medline, PubMed, and EMBASE for the keywords ‘celiac disease,’ ‘celiac,’ ‘tissue transglutaminase antibody,’ ‘anti-endomysium antibody,’ ‘endomysial antibody,’ and ‘prevalence’ for studies published from January 1991 through March 2016. 
    The team cross-referenced each article with the words ‘Asia,’ ‘Europe,’ ‘Africa,’ ‘South America,’ ‘North America,’ and ‘Australia.’ They defined celiac diagnosis based on European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition guidelines. The team used 96 articles of 3,843 articles in their final analysis.
    Overall global prevalence of celiac disease was 1.4% in 275,818 individuals, based on positive blood tests for anti-tissue transglutaminase and/or anti-endomysial antibodies. The pooled global prevalence of biopsy-confirmed celiac disease was 0.7% in 138,792 individuals. That means that numerous people with celiac disease potentially remain undiagnosed.
    Rates of celiac disease were 0.4% in South America, 0.5% in Africa and North America, 0.6% in Asia, and 0.8% in Europe and Oceania; the prevalence was 0.6% in female vs 0.4% males. Celiac disease was significantly more common in children than adults.
    This systematic review and meta-analysis showed celiac disease to be reported worldwide. Blood test data shows celiac disease rate of 1.4%, while biopsy data shows 0.7%. The prevalence of celiac disease varies with sex, age, and location. 
    This review demonstrates a need for more comprehensive population-based studies of celiac disease in numerous countries.  The 1.4% rate indicates that there are 91.2 million people worldwide with celiac disease, and 3.9 million are in the U.S.A.
    Source:
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;16(6):823-836.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.06.037.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/16/2018 - Summer is the time for chips and salsa. This fresh salsa recipe relies on cabbage, yes, cabbage, as a secret ingredient. The cabbage brings a delicious flavor and helps the salsa hold together nicely for scooping with your favorite chips. The result is a fresh, tasty salsa that goes great with guacamole.
    Ingredients:
    3 cups ripe fresh tomatoes, diced 1 cup shredded green cabbage ½ cup diced yellow onion ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 jalapeno, seeded 1 Serrano pepper, seeded 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 garlic cloves, minced salt to taste black pepper, to taste Directions:
    Purée all ingredients together in a blender.
    Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
    Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired. 
    Serve is a bowl with tortilla chips and guacamole.

    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    Celiac.com 06/15/2018 - There seems to be widespread agreement in the published medical research reports that stuttering is driven by abnormalities in the brain. Sometimes these are the result of brain injuries resulting from a stroke. Other types of brain injuries can also result in stuttering. Patients with Parkinson’s disease who were treated with stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, an area of the brain that regulates some motor functions, experienced a return or worsening of stuttering that improved when the stimulation was turned off (1). Similarly, stroke has also been reported in association with acquired stuttering (2). While there are some reports of psychological mechanisms underlying stuttering, a majority of reports seem to favor altered brain morphology and/or function as the root of stuttering (3). Reports of structural differences between the brain hemispheres that are absent in those who do not stutter are also common (4). About 5% of children stutter, beginning sometime around age 3, during the phase of speech acquisition. However, about 75% of these cases resolve without intervention, before reaching their teens (5). Some cases of aphasia, a loss of speech production or understanding, have been reported in association with damage or changes to one or more of the language centers of the brain (6). Stuttering may sometimes arise from changes or damage to these same language centers (7). Thus, many stutterers have abnormalities in the same regions of the brain similar to those seen in aphasia.
    So how, you may ask, is all this related to gluten? As a starting point, one report from the medical literature identifies a patient who developed aphasia after admission for severe diarrhea. By the time celiac disease was diagnosed, he had completely lost his faculty of speech. However, his speech and normal bowel function gradually returned after beginning a gluten free diet (8). This finding was so controversial at the time of publication (1988) that the authors chose to remain anonymous. Nonetheless, it is a valuable clue that suggests gluten as a factor in compromised speech production. At about the same time (late 1980’s) reports of connections between untreated celiac disease and seizures/epilepsy were emerging in the medical literature (9).
    With the advent of the Internet a whole new field of anecdotal information was emerging, connecting a variety of neurological symptoms to celiac disease. While many medical practitioners and researchers were casting aspersions on these assertions, a select few chose to explore such claims using scientific research designs and methods. While connections between stuttering and gluten consumption seem to have been overlooked by the medical research community, there is a rich literature on the Internet that cries out for more structured investigation of this connection. Conversely, perhaps a publication bias of the peer review process excludes work that explores this connection.
    Whatever the reason that stuttering has not been reported in the medical literature in association with gluten ingestion, a number of personal disclosures and comments suggesting a connection between gluten and stuttering can be found on the Internet. Abid Hussain, in an article about food allergy and stuttering said: “The most common food allergy prevalent in stutterers is that of gluten which has been found to aggravate the stutter” (10). Similarly, Craig Forsythe posted an article that includes five cases of self-reporting individuals who believe that their stuttering is or was connected to gluten, one of whom also experiences stuttering from foods containing yeast (11). The same site contains one report of a stutterer who has had no relief despite following a gluten free diet for 20 years (11). Another stutterer, Jay88, reports the complete disappearance of her/his stammer on a gluten free diet (12). Doubtless there are many more such anecdotes to be found on the Internet* but we have to question them, exercising more skepticism than we might when reading similar claims in a peer reviewed scientific or medical journal.
    There are many reports in such journals connecting brain and neurological ailments with gluten, so it is not much of a stretch, on that basis alone, to suspect that stuttering may be a symptom of the gluten syndrome. Rodney Ford has even characterized celiac disease as an ailment that may begin through gluten-induced neurological damage (13) and Marios Hadjivassiliou and his group of neurologists and neurological investigators have devoted considerable time and effort to research that reveals gluten as an important factor in a majority of neurological diseases of unknown origin (14) which, as I have pointed out previously, includes most neurological ailments.
    My own experience with stuttering is limited. I stuttered as a child when I became nervous, upset, or self-conscious. Although I have been gluten free for many years, I haven’t noticed any impact on my inclination to stutter when upset. I don’t know if they are related, but I have also had challenges with speaking when distressed and I have noticed a substantial improvement in this area since removing gluten from my diet. Nonetheless, I have long wondered if there is a connection between gluten consumption and stuttering. Having done the research for this article, I would now encourage stutterers to try a gluten free diet for six months to see if it will reduce or eliminate their stutter. Meanwhile, I hope that some investigator out there will research this matter, publish her findings, and start the ball rolling toward getting some definitive answers to this question.
    Sources:
    1. Toft M, Dietrichs E. Aggravated stuttering following subthalamic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease--two cases. BMC Neurol. 2011 Apr 8;11:44.
    2. Tani T, Sakai Y. Stuttering after right cerebellar infarction: a case study. J Fluency Disord. 2010 Jun;35(2):141-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
    3. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    4. Jäncke L, Hänggi J, Steinmetz H. Morphological brain differences between adult stutterers and non-stutterers. BMC Neurol. 2004 Dec 10;4(1):23.
    5. Kell CA, Neumann K, von Kriegstein K, Posenenske C, von Gudenberg AW, Euler H, Giraud AL. How the brain repairs stuttering. Brain. 2009 Oct;132(Pt 10):2747-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
    6. Galantucci S, Tartaglia MC, Wilson SM, Henry ML, Filippi M, Agosta F, Dronkers NF, Henry RG, Ogar JM, Miller BL, Gorno-Tempini ML. White matter damage in primary progressive aphasias: a diffusion tensor tractography study. Brain. 2011 Jun 11.
    7. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    8. [No authors listed] Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 43-1988. A 52-year-old man with persistent watery diarrhea and aphasia. N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 27;319(17):1139-48
    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
    10. http://ezinearticles.com/?Food-Allergy-and-Stuttering-Link&id=1235725 
    11. http://www.craig.copperleife.com/health/stuttering_allergies.htm 
    12. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/73362-any-help-is-appreciated/
    13. Ford RP. The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
    14. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet. 1996 Feb 10;347(8998):369-71.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/14/2018 - Refractory celiac disease type II (RCDII) is a rare complication of celiac disease that has high death rates. To diagnose RCDII, doctors identify a clonal population of phenotypically aberrant intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). 
    However, researchers really don’t have much data regarding the frequency and significance of clonal T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements (TCR-GRs) in small bowel (SB) biopsies of patients without RCDII. Such data could provide useful comparison information for patients with RCDII, among other things.
    To that end, a research team recently set out to try to get some information about the frequency and importance of clonal T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements (TCR-GRs) in small bowel (SB) biopsies of patients without RCDII. The research team included Shafinaz Hussein, Tatyana Gindin, Stephen M Lagana, Carolina Arguelles-Grande, Suneeta Krishnareddy, Bachir Alobeid, Suzanne K Lewis, Mahesh M Mansukhani, Peter H R Green, and Govind Bhagat.
    They are variously affiliated with the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, and the Department of Medicine at the Celiac Disease Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA. Their team analyzed results of TCR-GR analyses performed on SB biopsies at our institution over a 3-year period, which were obtained from eight active celiac disease, 172 celiac disease on gluten-free diet, 33 RCDI, and three RCDII patients and 14 patients without celiac disease. 
    Clonal TCR-GRs are not infrequent in cases lacking features of RCDII, while PCPs are frequent in all disease phases. TCR-GR results should be assessed in conjunction with immunophenotypic, histological and clinical findings for appropriate diagnosis and classification of RCD.
    The team divided the TCR-GR patterns into clonal, polyclonal and prominent clonal peaks (PCPs), and correlated these patterns with clinical and pathological features. In all, they detected clonal TCR-GR products in biopsies from 67% of patients with RCDII, 17% of patients with RCDI and 6% of patients with gluten-free diet. They found PCPs in all disease phases, but saw no significant difference in the TCR-GR patterns between the non-RCDII disease categories (p=0.39). 
    They also noted a higher frequency of surface CD3(−) IELs in cases with clonal TCR-GR, but the PCP pattern showed no associations with any clinical or pathological feature. 
    Repeat biopsy showed that the clonal or PCP pattern persisted for up to 2 years with no evidence of RCDII. The study indicates that better understanding of clonal T cell receptor gene rearrangements may help researchers improve refractory celiac diagnosis. 
    Source:
    Journal of Clinical Pathologyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205023