Months ago, in a post titled Top 5 Trendy Healthy Foods we talked about quinoa. This nutritious superfood made our top 5 then and is still at our top 5 today, in our grocery list, if nothing else. Quinoa tastes great, and is so nutritious and easy to make and combine with almost any meal that its no wonder why it has become a staple in health conscious people’s diet.
Quinoa is an alkaline seed, but for all practical purposes, it is used and recognized as a whole grain. Quinoa has a great, slightly nutty, taste and a nice texture, and with its amazing nutritional content, quinoa is a great substitute for pasta, rice, and other carbohydrates. It has all 9 essential amino acids, and this makes it one of the most protein-rich grains available. It has and impressive 16.2 to 20% protein content.
Although fairly new to the modern diet, quinoa is not a new food at all. In fact, its consumption dates back three or four thousand years when the Incas first started consuming it.
Let’s look at the nutritional value of quinoa. We did mention before its protein content, but that is far from being its only healthy quality. Quinoa is an excellent source of fiber, providing almost twice the fiber that other grains contain.
Quinoa is such a great alkaline food thanks to its mineral content. It is rich in iron, magnesium, and manganese. And also contains cooper, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Iron is an important mineral for hemoglobin formation. This alkaline mineral carries oxygen around our system and improves muscular and brain functions. Magnesium is another alkaline mineral very important for cardiovascular health and disease prevention. Manganese is a great antioxidant, very important for cellular health.
Quinoa is also a good source of vitamin B2 (or riboflavin), and lysine. It is very rich in phytonutrients, enzymes and antioxidants. This impressive list of nutrients makes quinoa one of the most complete foods we can consume.
On top of the previously mentioned benefits, quinoa also acts as a prebiotic, feeding the microflora, or good bacteria in our intestines. It is a gluten free food. And it may be a good ally if you are watching your weight. This low cholesterol food only has 172 calories per 1/4 cup of the dry grain-like seed. Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate and has a low glycemic index.
It is recommended to rinse quinoa before cooking it to remove the saponin on it. Rinsing it will make digestion and nutrient absorption easier and more effective.