The vast majority of plant protein consumed by humans comes courtesy of only three crops: rice, wheat, and corn. In Mexico, the main dietary staple is corn, a crop that is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Enter amaranth, an ancient Mexican grain that offers a solution to the difficulties of growing corn in an unstable climate.
In a new episode of The World's "What's For Lunch" series, Sam Eaton explores the grassroots push to resurrect amaranth as a staple grain in Mexico.
The sacred Aztec grain, banned by the Spaniards upon conquest, is a hearty crop that packs a heavy nutritional punch. The high-protein, high-fiber grain--a crucial part of NASA astronauts' diets--responds well to the higher temperatures brought on by climate change.
From the program:
With rising temperatures... amaranth’s ability to withstand triple digit heat makes that prospect all the more appealing. And nutritionists say it would also be a boon for the country’s health, because along with climate change, Mexico is struggling with both malnutrition and obesity.
Listen to the program here.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons