Are you gluten sensitive and looking for food that can fulfil your daily carbohydrate requirement without any side effects?
Are you a diabetic searching for foods low in glycemic index to include in your diet regimen?
Are you on a weight loss program still want to add variety to your diet without sacrificing essential nutrients?
Looking for a super food that is not just nutritious but also tasty?
End your search, read our article on quinoa benefits and add quinoa to your diet schedule.
What Is Quinoa
Quinoa seeds are gluten-free and contain all the nine amino acids in adequate amount. It is not a grain but is prepared and consumed in a similar manner as grains. Its texture and taste is something between oatmeal and brown rice. Cooked quinoa is slightly crunchy, fluffy, light and has a subtle nutty flavour. This is why you can even call it protein-packed super grains.
Quinoa has been around us for thousands of years. But with the increasing awareness towards health and diet recently our protein-packed super food has become popular. Also, it has become a better food choice for those who suffer from gluten intolerance or those who have grown bored with barley, wheat, rice or other conventional grains.
Nutritional Profile Of Quinoa
Not only quinoa is rich in nine essential amino acids and is gluten-free but is also packed with other nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese magnesium, phosphorous and copper. It contains B vitamins in a substantial amount and is a good source of folate. On the other hand, it is low in carbohydrates and glycemic index and high in soluble as well as insoluble fibre. It is rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients including flavonoids. In fact, quinoa is one of the high source of two flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin. Both have anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects. Also, it contains omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids. In comparison to other common cereal grasses, it is high in monosaturated fats.
100 gram cooked quinoa provides:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 4g
- Fat: 2g
- Fibre: 2g
- carbohydrates: 19g
There is no doubt, packed with so many nutrients quinoa is the world’s healthiest food and is considered to prevent lots of diseases. Let us acknowledge its benefits.
- Fights Inflammation – As mentioned above quinoa is a rich source of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Another anti-inflammatory compound present in our superfood is saponin. The fibre present in quinoa produces an important fatty acid known as butyrate that has the property to turn off the genes that are associated with inflammation. Besides this the substantial amount of B vitamins present in quinoa reduces the level of homocysteine which is an inflammatory hormone.
- Promotes Weight Loss – Quinoa is rich in fibre. On digestion, the fibres present in this pseudo-grain releases acetate that signals the brain to stop eating and thus make you eat less. Also, there is a compound 20-hydroxyecdysone that aids weight loss as it makes your body absorb fat in less amount and also helps in burning more calories.
- Good For Heart – Being rich in fibre quinoa is a wonder food and protects your heart. It reduces the level of bad cholesterol. The soluble fibres present in our ‘protein-packed seeds’ when combines with bile acids it forms a jelly-like substance that is excreted out of the body through bowels. As we know that to produce bile acid our liver utilizes some amount of body cholesterol. So when the stores deplete liver pulls more cholesterol from the blood to produce bile acids. Thus, quinoa somehow plays a role in provoking liver to extract blood cholesterol. Reduction in the level of bad cholesterol also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiac diseases. Also, 25 per cent of fatty acids present in quinoa is in the form of oleic acid which is mono-saturated fat and is heart friendly. 8% of fat is ALA that is alpha-linolenic acid and is omega-3 fatty acid.
- Prevents Cancer- Cancer is beatable and preventable. According to Harvard university consume a bowl of quinoa every day and reduce the risk of cancer. Report by Yale cancer centre state that our super food fights cancer if added to the daily diet as it is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals and cancer-causing harmful substances. In fact, a polish study says that the extract of leaves quinoa plant has anticancer and chemopreventive effects.
- Control Blood Sugar – The soluble fibres present in quinoa helps reduce the level of blood sugar level. If we eat food high in the glycemic index it stimulates the hunger, thus makes you eat more and contributes to satiety. This is why these foods are linked with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Quinoa, on the other hand, is low in glycemic index. It does not spike the blood glucose level and also prevents type 2 diabetes.
- Good For People With Glucose Intolerance – Many people today follow a gluten-free diet abide by glucose intolerance or because of the belief that a gluten-free diet is healthy. For these people, quinoa is a perfect food in comparison to other typical gluten-free foods such as corn, rice, potato or tapioca. Quinoa is gluten-free still full fills the daily requirement of carbs and is rich in protein and other essential nutrients and antioxidants.
- Good Food For Vegans – Vegans consume plant-based foods and even exclude dairy product. One of the drawbacks of plant-based food s is that they lack lysine and other certain essential amino acids. Quinoa is a plant-based protein rich food with all 9 essential amino acids. Thus if you follow a vegan diet do add quinoa to your diet regimen.
Selecting and storing
There are three types of quinoa white, black and red. The most popular is the white variety as it is creamier and fluffier. The red one has a little more bitter taste. Black one is nuttier and sweeter in taste.
Quinoa is non-GMO and is usually grown organically. When you buy a packet of quinoa makes sure the packed has a hole or tear because moisture can affect the freshness of this pseudo-grain. As far as storage is considered you can store it in an airtight container in a dry and cool place for many months.
The Best Way to cook quinoa
When quinoa is boiled foam is created due to saponins (a compound that coats the seeds). This renders quinoa a bitter taste. This is why you should always wash the seeds thoroughly before cooking. Also, quinoa contains phytic acid that reduces the absorption of minerals. This is why soaking or even sprouting it prior to cooking is advised. For this put the seeds into a sieve and run under the cold water. The next step is to cook it similarly to rice. Quinoa is very easy to cook and is ready in just 15-20 minutes. As red quinoa is little better in taste you may use it with cheese, avocado and chopped nuts.
*Always remember on cooking quinoa expands several times its original size.
Hope you find our article on quinoa benefits helpful. Add your queries in comment section and we will update with answers.
Image credit: Quinoa via Luis Echeverri Urrea/Shutterstock