Unless you’ve been living under a health food rock for the past few years, you will have heard of quinoa. It is one of the world’s healthiest foods and provides masses of nutritional value in a simple package – find out exactly why quinoa is so good for you right here.
Easy Ways to Eat Quinoa
Quinoa is a grain grown for its edible seeds. Quinoa has been around for thousands of years and was once described as the “gold of the Incas”. Today it remains just as popular, both for its taste and for its health benefits. One of the best things about quinoa is it’s easy to prepare and eat.
It is incredibly easy to incorporate superfood quinoa into your healthy diet. It is a great addition to salads and forms a filling base for a vegetarian meal. To cook quinoa, simply boil water, add raw quinoa (you may need to rinse it first), cook for 15 to 20 minutes, and then leave to cool or eat warm. Quinoa should have a slightly nutty flavor and a little crunch. It can also be baked into bread, used in soups, cooked and shaped into burgers, and added to stews. Why should you use quinoa in your meals? Here are 10 reasons why!
1) High in Protein
One of the biggest health benefits of quinoa is its protein content. Quinoa contains complete protein, with the full complement of amino acids. These include essential amino acids that our bodies cannot naturally make. Since quinoa is such an excellent source of complete protein it is ideal for vegans and vegetarians, and anyone trying to avoid animal proteins.
2) Quercetin and Kaempferol
Quercetin is a type of antioxidant – a flavonoid – that helps to protect the body from cell damage. There is a lot of quercetin in quinoa – much more so than in popular high-quercetin foods like cranberries. Quercetin has shown anti-inflammatory benefits, and also has anti-viral, anti-cancer, and even anti-depressant properties. Getting good amounts of these plant flavonoids in your diet can really improve your health and well-being over the long-term.
3) High in Magnesium
Magnesium is an important mineral for relaxing the blood vessels and promoting blood sugar control, regulating body temperature, and producing energy. Eat quinoa and you get all the healthy benefits of magnesium.
4) Contains Manganese
As well as magnesium, quinoa is a good source of manganese which is vital for energy production as well as to safeguard red blood cells.
5) Good Levels of Iron
If you do not eat animal products or red meat, quinoa is a healthy source of iron. Iron is essential as it helps keep our red blood cells in good working order. It allows oxygen to move between cells and to our muscles and organs. Quinoa provides healthy levels of iron, making it a valuable addition to a vegan diet – or simply to anyone’s diet.
6) Great For Blood Sugar Control
Quinoa benefits from a low glycemic index, which means that it does not raise blood sugar levels, which can cause obesity and result in over-eating. Quinoa is a source of carbohydrates so it is not suitable for a low-carb diet but it is perfect for anyone trying to eat without raising their blood sugar levels to the extreme.
7) High in Fiber
In fact, quinoa is extremely high in fiber. It contains more fiber than most whole grains and certainly much more than bread. On average, there are between 10 to 16g of fiber in every 100g of quinoa. The fiber is mostly soluble fiber, which can reduce cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, and help you lose weight as it makes you feel fuller.
8) Gluten Free
More and more people are seeing the health benefits of embracing a gluten free lifestyle. If you want to eat less gluten or wheat, but you want to get the benefits of a grain, then quinoa is a great option. It allows you to enjoy dishes where you would previously have eaten pasta, or wheat bread. It is a great addition to a salad to bulk it out without adding wheat.
9) High in Antioxidants
When eating quinoa you benefit from high levels of antioxidants, which are substances that fight against the damage caused by free radicals. Quinoa is often found to have the highest antioxidant content out of all cereal foods.
10) Quinoa Could Help You Lose Weight
Since quinoa is high in protein it helps to increase your metabolism and also reduce your appetite. And the high levels of fiber also assist in making you feel full so that you do not overindulge in fatty or sweet treats. And quinoa has a low glycemic index that helps you manage your blood sugar, which results in a lower risk of obesity.