Quinoa is one of the most renowned health food rich in fiber, iron and various beneficial nutrients. It contains all nine essential amino acids, Vitamin E potassium, calcium and many antioxidants.
There are two types, red and white cream color and they release small white curls when cooked. It is originated from South America and has been the staple diet of Incas population for many years.
Although it has been considered recently as an alternative to wheat grain like rice and couscous it belongs to the same family as beet and spinach.
Quinoa is one of the less allergenic among the ‘grains’ free of gluten, with a high content of monosaturated fat, phytonutrients and a small part of omega 3 – fatty acids.
It contains a large quantity of antioxidant including flavonoids which have seen to be for the most as quercetin and Kaempferol. These molecules have been discovered to have anti-viral, ant inflammatory effects from lab studies.
A 100g cup of cooked quinoa contains:
- Calories: 120
- Water: 72%
- Protein: 4.5 grams
- Carbs: 21.1 grams
- Sugar: 0.8 grams
- Fiber: 2.7 grams
- Fat: 1.8grams
Cooked quinoa is a plenty good source of fiber which makes 10% of the dry weight that are insoluble fibers. They can reduce the risk of diabetes and sustain the friendly bacteria in the stomach increasing the production of short- chain fatty acids.
Carbs make 21% of cooked quinoa, which about 83% are starches, the rest consists of small of sugars, galactose and ribose.
It has a low glycemic index, which means the blood sugar lever that rises after a meal. High glycemic food can cause a rapid spike of sugar in the blood and cause in the the long term weight problems.
Proteins are made most from amino acids which are the main component of all tissues in your body. Essential amino acids are those that the body need to acquire from the diet. Quinoa contains 16% protein and is rich in plant based protein source like methionine and histidine.
Cooked quinoa produces about 2g of fat and it contains also palmitic, oleic and linoleic acid.
Minerals and vitamins
Quinoa provides vitamins and minerals and is a good source of magnesium, fiber, and zinc.
Here is a list of the main vitamins and minerals contained in it:
- Manganese. It is a mineral found in many whole grains, which helps the digestion and the metabolism process.
- Phosphorus. It works with the calcium to maintain the bones healthy and is involved in the body production of body tissues.
- Copper. It is an essential mineral that helps maintain a healthy metabolism, nervous system and bones.
- Folate. It is a vitamin B which helps to produce DNA and tissue growth.
- Iron. It carries oxygen in the red blood cells, helps the immune system and Hemoglobin, a protein found in the red cells.
- Magnesium. It is a nutrient your body needs for regulating muscle and nerve functions, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Zinc. It helps metabolic function and the immune system, helps to produce testosterone and improves male sexual activity.
5 Health benefits of Quinoa
1. Rich of Protein and essential amino- acids
Quinoa contains a sufficient amount of all 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce and needs to take them through the diet. It can provide better protein and in larger quantities than most grains and is an excellent substitute source of protein for vegans.
2. Lower Blood sugar levels
Quinoa glycemic index is about 53% and that can be a good point in terms of keeping blood sugar levels low.
Eating foods that are high on the glycemic index can cause many healthy problems and stimulate more hunger. Consider however that quinoa is also rich in carbs so eat with moderation if you are doing a low-carb diet.
3. Improves skin health
Quinoa contains different vitamins like B12 and B3 which help to maintain a healthy skin producing enzymes that decrease pigmentation and niacinamide to treat acne. It reduces the aging process thanks to the properties of vitamin A, improving skin elasticity and making your skin look younger.
4. Strength the hair
A protein called Hydrolyzed present in this food protects and nourish the hair. The amino acids contained in quinoa help to repair and promote hair growth and they produce an invisible layer which can protect the hair from pollution and dust.
5. Reduce inflammation
Quinoa produces butyrate an acid that suppress genes related to inflammation and the vitamin B reduces also homocysteine levels ( vitamin deficiency) reducing inflammation.
More to that the fiber releases acetate – which send to the brain signals to stop eating less likely to intake in pro-inflammatory foods. Saponins is also another compound found in Quinoa which studies have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Can quinoa help me to loose weight?
Rich in protein and fiber, quinoa can provide a feelings of fullness after consuming it, which may help you eat less food however it is not considered a low calorie food so you better watch on your portion consumption relating that also on the lifestyle you conduct.
Are there any side effects eating quinoa?
It is usually safe to eat it consistently even if, the effect of the saponin, the natural external coat, can cause some stomach irritation which can be prevented rinsing well the quinoa in water before cooking it.
What are the best way to use it?
The natural grain itself takes about 15 minutes to cook while Quinoa flakes might take no more than a minute and a half to cook.
It can be a good substitute for rice and mixed with other ingredients as the whole grain can be spiced up with different flavors or it can be also served as savory or sweet.
Let’s have a look to a nice salad Quinoa recipe.
Quinoa Tuna Salad Recipe (Two serves)
- 1 big or 2 mediums size Tuna cans
- 2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups of water
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium pepper, chopped
- Half or 1 chopped medium red onion (from 1 small red onion)
- 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (from 1 large bunch)
- A spoon of olive oil
- half glass of red wine or balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- About the quinoa: combined the rinsed quinoa with the water in a sauce pan. Boil the mixture at a medium heat until the quinoa absorbs all the water for about 15 minutes reducing the heat and maintaining a gentle simmer. Let the quinoa cool for few minutes.
- In a large serving bowl, mix the tuna, cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes onion and parsley and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Whisk until blended, then set aside.
- Once the quinoa is mostly cool, put it to the serving bowl, and sprinkle the dressing on top. Toss until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Season with black pepper salt and parsley. Let the salad rest in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Quinoa is a healthy and tasty food that can be easily prepared and consumed mixed with lots of other food and spices. The benefits of using in your diet are numerous as mentioned before and it can easily replace other grains in your kitchen.
The important aspect of this food is that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs to keep the body in good conditions. It is rich of vitamins, minerals and protein useful to repair tissues. Hope you enjoy this post please share and live some comments if you like!!