Quinoa has grown into a very popular super food as it’s loaded with important nutrients including fiber, minerals and proteins. While South Americans have been consuming quinoa for thousands of years, it’s become trendy and a ‘super food’ a few years ago with the following health benefits.
1. Quinoa contains the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol in large amounts. These flavonoids have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects. Moreover, they are potent antioxidants with numerous health benefits.
2. Quinoa is a high source of fiber, much more than the fiber found in most grains. However boiled quinoa has much less fiber as it absorbs so much water. Quinoa has both soluble and insoluble fibers where the insoluble type does not have as much health benefits as soluble fiber. Its soluble fiber however helps reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases a feeling of fullness to help with weight loss.
3. As quinoa is gluten free, it’s perfect for people with gluten intolerance. It’s been proven through studies that using quinoa instead of other gluten-free ingredients like corn and rice flour can dramatically increase your diet’s antioxidant and nutrient value.
4. Quinoa is a rich source of protein with lots of essential amino acids. It can in fact be considered a complete protein as has all the essential amino acids we need. Moreover, as it is plant based, it forms an excellent protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
5. Though quinoa is relatively high in carbohydrates, it has a low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels and foods with a higher glycemic index stimulates hunger and contributes to obesity.
6. Quinoa is a rich source of minerals people tend to lack in like magnesium, zinc, iron and potassium. However as quinoa also contains a substance called phytic acid, it can bind these materials and reduce its absorption. This effect can be reduced by soaking or sprouting the quinoa before cooking so that the minerals are more bioavailable.
7. The many beneficial nutrients of quinoa makes it benefit your metabolic health too. Studies have proven that humans using quinoa instead of gluten-free breads and pastas experienced a significant reduction in blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels.
8. Quinoa is high in antioxidants which helps neutralize free radicals which prove helpful in fighting the aging process and many diseases. In fact, sprouting quinoa significantly increases its antioxidant content.
9. Last but not least, quinoa can be easily included into your diet as it tastes well and goes well with most foods. Depending on the type of quinoa being used, it’s important it is rinsed with water before use to remove its outer layer saponins, which have a bitter flavor.
There however are some brands which are already rinsed and may not require any additional rinsing.
Quinoa is ready to eat in 15-20 minutes. All you have to do is pour 2 cups of water in a pot and turn on the heat. Then add a cup of raw quinoa and a dash of salt. Let it boil for 15-20 minutes and it’s ready to eat!