Did you know that quinoa is in extremely high demand? There is such a massive surge in interest that South American companies had to push their production rates to over 70 different countries, stated the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.
People often use quinoa as a substitute for rice, particularly those with gluten intolerance. But, there is more to this food than it meets the eye. From its rich nutrient consistency to having the capacity to improve bone health, we’ve collected all the quinoa benefits you will be interested in.
But, first, let’s take a step back and start with the basics. We will review some of the fundamental concepts of quinoa and then focus on its practical benefits.
What is Quinoa?
This food comes from the Chenopodium quinoa plant. It’s a seed, not a grain. Its form, however, closely resembles a whole grain, which is why people use it in grain salads, filling recipes, and quick breakfasts. As a result, the majority consider it a whole grain.
In technical terms, it is referred to as “pseudo-cereal.” This practical term describes all consumables that are cooked or eaten as whole grains but have the botanical outlines of typical grasses.
Quinoa comes in different forms. You have the regular cereal grain form that people use when cooking quinoa. There are also quinoa flakes. People have the option to get quinoa flour as well, which closely resembles buckwheat.
Based on reports from the Whole Grains Council, it doesn’t contain any gluten, making it ideal for gluten sensitivities. Quinoa is rich in all the necessary amino acids the body requires. Due to its rich nutrient buildup, it can be a valuable asset to your health. Here is why.
12 Quinoa Health Benefits
This seed is an excellent source of fibers and protein. People call it the superfood because of its health-boosting, glucose control, and cardiovascular benefits. There has been extensive research for both plain and cooked quinoa.
We’ve compiled all the practical information that can come in handy. Here are the benefits you can expect from this gluten-free food.
It’s Packed With Kaempferol and Quercetin – Potent Herbal Compounds
A typical superfood needs to have more than just minerals and vitamins. It requires a rich nutrient buildup that can benefit the body in more ways than one. Quinoa has exactly that.
Based on clinical studies from NIH, quinoa is rich in kaempferol and quercetin. These are extremely potent flavonoids with anti-viral, anti-depressant, and anti-cancer properties.
As a matter of fact, it is so packed with these flavonoids that it becomes more powerful than cranberries. And these are the fruits that are known for their high concentration of quercetin, studies show.
If you were to add it to your daily diet, you will massively boost the flavonoids intake and supply the body with some excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Has More Fiber Than White or Brown Rice
Just a cup of quinoa provides you with 5g of dietary fiber.
Most of it is insoluble fiber, but it also has soluble fiber. This nutrient has many uses. With a sufficient source of dietary fiber, the body can start to function properly.
The fiber gives the quinoa grain a “scrub-brush” effect. It flushes out the bacteria or other buildup in the colon and decreases the possibility of colon cancer. It can overcome constipation, establish blood sugar control, stimulate the intestines to work quicker, etc.
Free of Gluten – Ideal for Individuals With Gluten Intolerance
Over 6% to 7% of the American population is sensitive to gluten. That’s 20 million people, statistics show. But, for the individuals who don’t eat gluten, it has become difficult to skip the tasty foods like pasta or bread.
Quinoa is the perfect replacement. It has that similar flavor, rich nutrient value, and it’s filling for the stomach. Since it doesn’t contain a single trace of gluten, people can include it in all kinds of recipes.
Rich in Protein and Every Single Essential Amino Acid
The amino acids are responsible for making protein. We call them essential since the body can’t create them on its own. We would have to get them from our diet, instead.
A meal with such a high amino acid constituent is perfect for supplying the body with all the protein and nutrients it needs.
The thing is, not every plant edibles have the same nutrient buildup like quinoa does. Most lack lysine, which is vital for the system. With quinoa, you get lysine and enough protein that can be useful for a plant-based diet.
Beneficial for Anemia
In 185g of cooked quinoa, you get around 3mg of iron. This is well over 15% of the suggested daily intake. With enough iron, people have higher odds of avoiding anemia.
For patients with blood diseases or other underlying health conditions, the iron can be extremely helpful.
Features a Low Glycemic Index, Which Makes It Beneficial for Blood Glucose Control
Based on reports, our body needs the fiber to slow down the sugar absorption rate.
When people consume sustenance packed with fiber, they give the body enough time to absorb the dish. This, essentially, maintains the blood sugar level within a normal range and prevents it from increasing too fast.
That’s exactly what happens with low GI (glycemic index) foods. They don’t put too much pressure on the metabolism and are a practical addition to a low-carb diet. Anyone who experiences frequent blood sugar fluctuations can benefit from quinoa.
Packed With Vital Minerals, Like Magnesium and Iron
Another thing it is known for is the high levels of manganese, magnesium, and iron. Based on clinical trials, quinoa has just the right amount of these minerals that it can stimulate healthy bone formation.
When paired with protein, magnesium, and manganese, it becomes a valuable asset to the bones. It makes them stronger and healthier, particularly when the quinoa is taken in the form of a supplement. In the long haul, it can reduce the chance of experiencing osteoporosis.
But, there is one issue. This seed is known for containing phytic acid, a substance that can bind all the healthy minerals and decrease their absorption rate.
Soaking the seed before preparing it, drastically decrease the phytic acid levels. Therefore, you increase the bioavailability of the iron, magnesium, and manganese, advises the Institute of Food Science & Technology.
Practical Source of Folate
In a single cup of quinoa, you get 19% of the recommended folate allowance in a day. That’s more than enough when trying to provide the body with a healthy dose of folate.
Folate is essential for the healthy production of red blood cells and cell growth. The body needs a sufficient folate source to reduce the possibility of birth defects, spinal, or poor brain formation.
Since it elevates the homocysteine levels, it could also be effective for strengthening the blood vessels and preventing heart disease. A deficiency of this nutrient increases the risk of malabsorption syndromes and celiac illness, which is why it is critical to include it in any diet.
Enhances the Metabolism
Given the nutritional elements, this seed can provide, it could be efficient for speeding up the metabolism. Based on animal studies, when the seed is paired with a diet packed with fructose, it will inhibit the bad effects of fructose by almost 100%.
It can balance out the triglycerides, insulin, and blood sugar to give the body enough time to process the nutriment. All of these effects are highly beneficial for metabolic health.
Aids the Skin
Another interesting attribute to this seed is its vitamin B2 quantity, which published the National Institutes of Health. The seeds are packed with this essential vitamin, which makes it an excellent addition to any skincare routine.
Vitamin B interacts with other vitamins to keep the skin complexions under control. This vitamin can manage pigmentation-related conditions by decreasing the dark melanin deposits inside the skin.
Quinoa is also rich in enzymes that reduce pigmentation problems and soothe acne. Its potent anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce skin inflammation and return the natural color of the skin.
The riboflavin in the quinoa seed is another practical contributor. It makes the skin more elastic and calms the production of sebum. While it can’t replace typical skincare products, it could prove efficient for those interested in a natural boost for healthy-looking skin.
Excellent Source of Antioxidants
One of the seeds’ key features is the antioxidants. Quinoa is rich in these valuable nutrients and can help counteract free radicals. Most people eat it for its anti-aging properties. But, if it weren’t for the high antioxidant amount, the seeds wouldn’t have those therapeutic and antioxidant properties they do now.
Could Aid With Fat Reduction
To shed the excess pounds successfully, you would need to consume fewer calories than you can burn. In the meantime, you have to eat foods that will curb your appetite. Unlike refined grains, quinoa fits these requirements.
It is not packed with calories but keeps the tummy full for a very long time. Therefore, it could be useful for weight loss.
Quinoa Nutrition Profile
Cooked quinoa features:
- 1.92% fat
- 21.3% carbs
- 71.6% water
- 4.4% protein
In a single serving of 185g, you get 222 calories. Experts believe these seeds are an ideal source of healthy fats, copper, protein, thiamin, Omega 6 fatty acid, etc. They are also packed with folate, manganese, and phosphorus.
It’s such a beneficial choice of nourishment that should be included in anyone’s diet.
A typical nutritious feed source will provide 10% of the recommended nutrient intake a day. An excellent one will provide over 20% in a single serving. Quinoa is the latter. It has an unusual mix of nutrients, but they work in sync.
People consume it since it is practical for daily diet healthy fats. It contains a great balance of amino acids and a daily dose of protein. It looks similar to barley and wheat, but it’s not as taxing on the intestines or the digestive system.
Quinoa can give every meal a rich texture and nutty flavor. It can be served hot or cold. You can consume cooked or uncooked quinoa; the choice is yours.
But, when you mix it with the right ingredients, you can create a spectacular dish that everyone will love. If you have no clue how to prepare a quinoa dish, we compiled some of the most delicious recipes to try.
Quinoa Salad – Mixed with Apples, Potatoes, and Arugula
Whether you are in the mood for red or white quinoa, in a quinoa salad, you can use whatever you have at hand. All the protein will make it a nice filling dish without adding rice or anything packed with gluten. Here is how to make this practical quinoa recipe.
– 1 and a half cups of quinoa
– 1 and a half pounds of sweet potatoes (cut into bite-sized pieces)
– A quarter cup of apple cider vinegar
– 2 big apples (cut into bite-sized pieces)
– 6 ounces of arugula
– 3 cups of water
– Half a cup of parsley (freshly chopped)
– Half a thinly sliced red onion
– Half a cup of olive oil
– Salt & pepper to taste
Set the oven to 400° and let it warm. Wash the quinoa to remove the bitter taste from the saponin.
Take a big frying pan and cover it with just a tablespoon of olive oil. Pour in the quinoa and let it cook on medium heat. Keep stirring for about two minutes.
Then, add the water and season well. Wait for the quinoa to start boiling before covering up the pan with a lid. Let it simmer for 16min. Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 10min.
Take a spoon and transfer the quinoa to a baking sheet. Put it in the fridge for 20min.
In the meantime, prepare a pan for baking. Cover the pan with baking sheet and pour in the potatoes and another tablespoon of the oil. Add the seasoning. Let them roast for 25min or until the potato has turned soft.
Set the potatoes aside and wait for them to cool. Take a big bowl and pour in the rest of the olive oil, apples, parsley, greens, onion, toss, and season. Finally, add the cooked potatoes, quinoa, vinegar, and serve.
Quinoa Slider – Crunchy Pattie
If you are looking for a way to add quinoa to a veggie burger, this recipe can come in handy. It can also be paired with salads or served as a side dish. Here is how to make it.
– 2 whole eggs
– 2/3 cups of red quinoa
– 1 cup of zucchini (grated)
– 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 3 cups of water
– 2 slices of wheat bread (remove the crusts and cut it into cubes)
– A quarter cup of olive oil
– A quarter cup of chives (chopped)
– Half a cup of parmesan
– Salt & pepper to taste
Take a non-stick frying pan and boil the quinoa in water for about 10min or until it gets soft. Drain it well. Take a baking sheet and spread the boiled quinoa over it.
Add the bread in a processor. Let it pulse. When the crumps are ready, take the eggs and pour them in a bowl. Whisk well. In a different bowl, cover the zucchini with a cloth and squeeze out all the liquid. Then, transfer them to the eggs.
Add the rest of the ingredients in the bowl with the eggs, including the garlic, parmesan, chives, breadcrumbs, and quinoa. Stir the mixture and let it sit for about 10 min.
Take a measuring cup and scoop out 12 mounds for every half an inch patty. Mold the mixture in a thick patty and repeat it until you’ve used up the entire mixture. In a large non-stick frying pan, add the oil and as many patties as it can fit. Cook on each side for 3min or until it turns golden and crunchy.
Serve the patties with a veggie hamburger or some pickles and enjoy.
Garlic Quinoa – Simple Meal
If you don’t have the time to cook a fancy meal, you can always keep it simple. It can be useful for a weight loss regime. With just a few ingredients, you can enjoy a filling dish. Here is how to make it.
– A cup of white quinoa / black quinoa
– A tablespoon of butter
– 2 cups of chicken broth
– 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
Take a frying pan and pour the butter. Let it melt on medium heat before adding the garlic. Cook the garlic for about five minutes or until it turns brown. Pour the broth and quinoa. Stir well. Let it boil for about 15min. Reduce the heat and wait for the quinoa to soften. When it’s done, fluff it out and serve.
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Filled with all sorts of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, quinoa makes for worthy wholesome nourishment. It boosts the metabolic health, speeds up digestions, and helps the system stay on track.
Plus, a versatile ingredient such as this one can be paired with any meal, whether cold or hot. Since it doesn’t contain any gluten, it is a practical choice for many people worldwide.
If you too are interested in trying it out, but never tested it before, the recipes we listed here can help. If you want to try it out for weight loss or just a healthy meal, add as much quinoa to your dishes as you like! It will all be worth it in the end!