Quinoa....a nutritional treasurer

November 03, 2011

BENEFITS OF QUINOA: Why you should try it.

One of my favorite foods these days is quinoa. It's a nutritional treasure. This protein-packed seed, with its nutty taste and chewy texture, is flavorful as well as filling. Once you get a hang of the different ways to cook it, it's not only a great alternative in recipes where rice, wheat, corn or other grains are used, but it's wonderful to throw into dishes that are traditionally carbohydrate heavy. It's definitely worth trying...you might surprise yourself and become a fan.
  1. Protein Powerhouse. Proteins are essential to building and repairing of the body’s tissues and basic functions like growth, digestion and excretion. Quinoa has a higher protein content than wheat, barley or other major grains. One cup of quinoa has 9 grams, which trumps the protein-rich egg (6 grams). Quinoa, also contains all 8 of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It's great for vegans and vegetarians, but the pleasures and benefits of it are available to anyone seeking an alternative to meat, eggs and dairy products as a rich protein source.
  2. Dieter’s Dream. Quinoa is pretty amazing. It's satisfying, a low-cholesterol source of complex carbohydrates, rich in fiber, and digests slowly which gives it a low glycemic index rating (helping anyone steer clear of the blood-sugar roller coaster). Its heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats will leave you feeling full while providing more nutritional content than breads or cereals made of refined grains. Quinoa can be eaten as a breakfast food to provide long-lasting energy and help you breeze through your morning workout. A meal of vegetables and quinoa, or quinoa and beans, is a dieter’s dream: high in vitamins, minerals and protein, while low in fat and calories.
  3.  Internal Cleanser/Detoxifier. In Ayurveda as well as Chinese medicine the key to a healthy body is a strong and regular digestive system. As a complex carbohydrate, quinoa acts an internal cleanser, easing the progress of food through the digestive tract. Used regularly in your diet, quinoa can help keep you free of constipation and bloating. Unlike more common grains such as wheat, quinoa is gluten-free and can be enjoyed by people with digestive disorders, like celiac disease. This versatile seed can be used in breads, soups or other foods where grains are a primary ingredient, offering a steady source of colon-cleansing fiber. The vitamin B and folate in quinoa also help the liver in its role of eliminating wastes from the body, adding to quinoa’s detoxifying properties.
  4. Bone Builder. For vegans, people with lactose intolerance or those who are simply looking for non-dairy sources of this vital mineral, quinoa is a flavorful source of plant-derived calcium. Calcium builds and maintains bones and teeth, helps regulate the contraction of the heart, and facilitates nerve and muscle function. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 30 milligrams of calcium. Quinoa also contains impressive quantities of potassium, magnesium and zinc, minerals that are crucial for heart, nerve and muscle function.
  5. Brain Food. A cup of cooked quinoa offers 15 percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of iron, which helps to deliver oxygen to the blood, boosting energy and brain power. Quinoa’s vitamin B content can help keep the mind sharp, maintain brain volume and stabilize mood.


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