Health Benefits of Quinoa

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Health Benefits of Quinoa

Ranked as one of the world's top 100 healthiest foods, quinoa comes from the kingdom Plantae and is binomially known as Chenopodium quinoa. It grows as a crop that is utilized for its edible seeds rich in healthy dietary minerals. The origin of quinoa dates back to 5-7 thousand years in the South American region, where its cultivation and consumption took place for the first time. As for today, quinoa has not only made it to the list of the healthiest foods in the world; it is consumed abundantly in many parts of the world, especially in the United States, Europe, India, Kenya, and Australia.

Quinoa stands out as a healthy whole grain because it is gluten-free, has a low glycemic index, is rich in protein and other wholesome nutrients. The fiber content in quinoa is also quite abundant, and that makes it a complete meal for anyone who is a fitness enthusiast. In addition to that, quinoa helps to regulate certain functions in the body that are necessary for a healthy functioning system. Its antioxidant properties help the body fight against a number of diseases and prevent the risk of certain health conditions. Let us explore more about this gluten-free superfood and find out what health benefits quinoa can provide, an overview of the nutrients it contains, and certain types of quinoa that are available at your nearest grocery store.

Nutrition Info

The following table is based on the nutrition value of 100 grams cooked quinoa:

Energy (100 g, cooked)

120 kcal

Water

72%

Protein

4.4 g

Carbohydrates

21.3 g

Sugar

0.9 g

Fiber

2.8 g

Fat

1.9 g

Vitamins

Vitamin B

Minerals

Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc

Antioxidants

Quercetin, Kaempferol, Squalene, Phytic Acid, Oxalates

The carb content in quinoa is more or less equivalent to that of barley and rice. However, the GI (Glycemic Index) of this whole grain is relatively lower, which makes it a great food for obese people and those with diseases related to blood sugar levels.

Quinoa also provides the body with sufficient content of protein and fiber, bits of fat, and very less sugar, which is quite a healthy combination for a good meal. It is rich in minerals, vitamin B, and antioxidants.

The minerals found in many other whole grains, including quinoa, are manganese (good for development and growth), phosphorus (essential for tissue growth and bone health), copper (vital for good heart health), iron (maintains red blood cells and transports oxygen), magnesium (responsible for enzymatic reactions in the body), zinc (carries out chemical reactions in the body), and vitamin B or Folate (essential for the healthy growth of tissues and cell function). These minerals, in combination with one another, boost the functioning of different processes in the body, leading to overall sound health.

The antioxidants in quinoa, on the other hand, contribute to fighting against various diseases such as osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney diseases, and various chronic health conditions. All in all, the health benefits of quinoa are various, and that is exactly what makes this grain a superfood.

Health Benefits of Quinoa

  • Aids in Weight Loss

Quinoa is rich in dietary fiber, a component that is mandatory to the digestive system and helps the body feel fuller for a longer time period. It is regarded as one of the best weight-loss-friendly foods for the good content of protein, fiber, and other healthy components that it contains. For example, protein, which is the building block of our body, is an essential macronutrient responsible for boosting metabolism. Similarly, fiber promotes weight loss by satiating your hunger and slowing down the process of digestion. Another distinctive aspect is the glycemic index value of quinoa that makes it a star ingredient for weight loss.

  • Lowers Cholesterol & Blood Sugar Levels

The minerals present in quinoa make it an ideal food for people with diabetes or those who are the risk of diabetes. Quinoa helps reduce cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels of the body, both of which are linked directly to diabetes, a common condition found in people who usually have to make dietary changes to control the symptoms and manage the disease.

  • Prevents & Treats Celiac Disease

People who are allergic to gluten can find their savior in quinoa as it is a gluten-free whole grain that is a great replacement for bread, pasta, wheat, or other whole-grain products that contain gluten.

  • Helps with Depression

Various studies have come with the supposition that quinoa helps with depression. It is due to the presence of dietary folate or vitamin B that promotes good developmental health and, as a result, fights the risk of developing mental health issues such as diabetes.

  • Prevents Cancer

Known for its antioxidant properties, quinoa is a great source of nutrients that help the body fight against chronic diseases and certain types of cancer. We find out that the abundance of healthy minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants when working together, they form a kind of team that combats and prevents diseases.

Types of Quinoa

You would be surprised to find out that there are at least 120 types of quinoa that are cultivated all over the world. However, the ones that are commonly available in the market are as follows:

  • White Quinoa

Of all the various types of quinoa, white quinoa is the closest substitute to rice. It is extremely delicate and light in both texture and taste. When cooked, white quinoa turns a bit fluffier than other variations and gives a mild flavor. White quinoa is used mainly in salads, into baked goods, and loved, particularly for breakfast meals. A great way to add this whole grain into your diet is to mix it with sauteed or stir-fried vegetables and have a delicious bowl of quinoa and vegetable salad.

  • Black Quinoa

Also known as ''the gold of the Incas'', organic black quinoa is a rare variety of quinoa grain. It is crunchy in taste, nutty in texture, and with a slightly sweet flavor, unlike white quinoa. The grain maintains its black color when cooked and can be cooked in a versatile manner. Some great black quinoa recipes you could try are black quinoa and broccolini salad, black quinoa salad with grilled vegetables, black quinoa and black beans, black quinoa and grilled chicken, so on and so forth.

  • Red Quinoa

After the white quinoa, red quinoa is the most consumed variety of quinoa. It can be used for similar purposes as white quinoa and incorporated into salads, as a replacement to rice or in grain bowls. Red quinoa is super crunchy, has a nuttier flavor, yet a delicious and healthier alternative to other forms of grains.

  • Rainbow Quinoa

Rainbow quinoa, or as they call it tri-color quinoa, is a combination of all three colors (white, black, and red). It is not a separate or distinctive form of quinoa, but due to the texture and flavor or every color, rainbow quinoa is used for multi-purposes such as morning porridge, quinoa stuffing, and vegan pie.

 

  • Quinoa Crisps

Unlike the other types of quinoa that are available in the whole form, quinoa crisps are created by puffing the quinoa seeds into little crisps. They are great for granola bars, cereals, as topping for mac and cheese, and energy bars.

  • Quinoa Flakes

This form of quinoa is quite similar to oatmeal, made exactly the way oats are rolled into the form of flakes. Quinoa flakes are liberally used in baking or in breakfast cereals. They have a great cream-like texture when cooked and taste delicious.

  • Quinoa Flour

The most basic form of quinoa, once it is manipulated from its whole-grain form, is the quinoa flour. The quinoa seeds are finely milled into the form of flour and used for a variety of purposes, especially for baked goods, as it is a great gluten-free ingredient that you can use to satisfy your craving while eating healthy at the same time. Quinoa flour can be used to make pancakes, brownies, muffins, cookies, pizza crust, and even gluten-free naan.

Summary

Quinoa is a superfood for so many reasons. It comes in different varieties, textures, and colors, which can be used to enhance the flavor of foods that you eat and acts as a replacement for unhealthy or less nutritious food items. Although the use of quinoa dates back to thousands of years, the modern world has recently discovered its immense health benefits due to which it has become a staple in many regions of the world. Another property that makes it popular among the masses is its good taste and the less amount of time that is required in its cooking. So, if you are looking for a food that would satiate your hunger, provide you with substantial energy, help your body fight against diseases, now is the time for you to go grab your bag of quinoa!

References

https://dodgepark.com/nutrition/health-benefits-nutrition-facts-quinoa/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/quinoa

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4994/7-Benefits-of-Quinoa-The-Supergrain-of-the-Future.html

https://www.simplyquinoa.com/types-of-quinoa/

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