Enjoying Quinoa can be even easier when you know just how happy it makes your body. Don't be fooled by the common misconception that the ancient food is just a FAD, see how healthy Quinoa really is for yourself.
Quinoa has quickly become popular for its versatility, its ability to take on the flavours it's cooked with, and its impressive health profile. Pronounced 'keen-wa', Quinoa has been a staple food in Central America for centuries, and its seeds have been eaten for over 6,000 years. The seeds of the plant are treated as a grain, but it is completely gluten free and suitable for celiacs. Its popularity is swiftly growing across western civilisation as us humans rediscover what benefits this glorious grain has, here are a few highlights of what Quinoa has to offer.
In just 100g of Quinoa you get a whopping 14g protein, 6g fat, 64g carbohydrate and 7g fibre* in comparison to this, brown rice has only half of the amount of protein as Quinoa. It is not just the quantity of protein that's impressive with this ancient grain, you can also expect a high quality. Quinoa contains an amino acid called lysine, many usual plant foods are deficient in this. This means it contains all the essential amino acids, it has more and better protein than most grains and a fantastic plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
It's common for modern diets to be deficient in minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. One cup of Quinoa hoards around 30% of the RDA of magnesium needed in a healthy diet. To ensure the absorption of these minerals is effective the seeds need to be soaked or sprouted to degrade the natural phytic acid which is present. This acid binds the minerals making uptake more difficult. The health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels, eating foods that are high on the glycemic index can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity. Quinoa is naturally high in dietary fibre, it contains twice as much fibre than most other grains. It is a slowly digested carbohydrate, making it a good low-GI option, and widely known to relieve constipation. Fibre lowers cholesterol and glucose levels and can help to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes.
The list of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in quinoa is ever expanding, researchers have recently taken a closer look at certain antioxidant phytonutrients. Because many flavonoids can be effective in reducing free radical damage to cells and other components in body tissue, they provide antioxidant benefits. There are two flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, which are now known to be provided by quinoa in especially concentrated amounts. In fact, the concentration of these two antioxidants in quinoa can sometimes be greater than their concentration in typical high-flavonoid berries like cranberries or lingonberries.
The health effects of this very real food go way beyond the vitamins and minerals we’re all familiar with in our western modern diets. Quinoa has thousands of trace nutrients in its little seed, some of which are extremely healthy and by including quinoa in your diet, you may significantly increase your total intake of these, as well as other important nutrients.