Quinoa, often known as the “mother of all grains,” was first planted in South America five thousand years ago and has since become a staple in the region due to its nutritional and easy-to-prepare features.
As a result, it has gradually globalised and is currently regarded as one of the best superfoods to consume by health-conscious people.
What exactly is quinoa?
Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal high in protein, fibre, minerals, and vitamins. Quinoa, while acting as a whole grain, is actually a seed from a plant known as goosefoot.
Quinoa is soft and fluffy when cooked, with a somewhat nutty flavour. It can also be processed into flakes, flour, and consumables such as bread and pasta.
Quinoa seeds come in a variety of colours and types. The white, red, and black seeds, on the other hand, are the most usually gathered for eating.
The most common ‘white’ quinoa cooks quickly and has a moderate flavour and crunchy texture, whereas ‘red’ quinoa is renowned to be rich in flavour and crunch.
The ‘black’ quinoa, on the other hand, is the most tasty and crunchy, and it takes the longest to cook. Quinoa is also available in yellow, grey, orange, purple, pink, green, and yellow, giving the consumer a wide range of options.
Is Quinoa Good for You?
Quinoa contains protein, fibre, iron, thiamine, copper, and vitamin B6. It is also a rich source of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and folate.
As a result of its unique composition and remarkable balance of protein and fat, as well as minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids, it is a highly healthful food.
5 Quinoa Health Benefits
1. Quinoa is gluten-free by nature.
If you have gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, quinoa is the greatest gluten-free alternative because it can significantly boost the nutritious and antioxidant content of your diet.
It can be substituted for gluten-free foods such as potato, tapioca, and corn. It is also nutritionally superior to rice since it delivers the essential consumption of protein, calcium, iron, and fibre, making the diet more balanced and so meeting the condition’s dietary requirements.
2. A high-protein source
Quinoa is one of the few plant meals that is a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.
It contains important amino acids such as lysine, methionine, and tryptophan. It contains more protein than rice, corn, barley, and oats combined.
Furthermore, protein is essential for optimal nourishment and the maintenance of blood, skin, muscle, bone, and health.
3. Rich in minerals
Many people are deficient in important nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Quinoa contains high levels of all four minerals, particularly magnesium and iron.
Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and aids in the prevention of type 2 diabetes by supporting good blood sugar levels and keeping the body healthy by preventing headaches, muscle cramps, and insomnia.
Another nutrient that is required for a variety of functions in the human body is iron. The mineral is mostly essential for the effective functioning of our red blood cells, increased and healthier muscular metabolism, and enhanced cognitive activity.
Quinoa is high in iron and is an excellent source of iron for persons who are iron deficient.
4. Abundant in plant chemicals
Quinoa has a lot of flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that help to prevent diseases like osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Quercetin and Kaempferol are two flavonoids that have been identified at high concentrations. These flavonoids have been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-depressant qualities, which aid in maintaining one’s health and balance.
5. Enhances skin health
Quinoa includes lysine, a crucial element that serves as a building component in the synthesis of collagen and elastin. It aids in the regeneration of damaged skin and counteracts the oxidative effect of free radicals caused by sun and pollution exposure.
Quinoa also aids in the reduction of brown spots because the vitamin B present in it decreases the dark melanin deposits that cause age spots and other pigment-related problems.
Weight Loss and Quinoa
Quinoa, as an insoluble fibre, increases the feeling of fullness, keeping you fuller for longer and aiding in weight loss. Because it is high in dietary fibre and protein, it boosts metabolism and lowers food cravings, lowering calorie consumption.
Substituting quinoa for typical grains like rice or wheat could be a minor alteration that provides extra protein and fibre while also aiding in weight loss. Quinoa is especially beneficial for vegetarians who are attempting to reduce weight but are having difficulty finding foods that would fill them up.
Quinoa has a low glycemic index (GI), which means it is healthy for diabetics and helps maintain blood sugar under control. As a result, quinoa is a fantastic alternative for people who want to lose weight because it suppresses hunger and gives a lovely texture to food.
Quinoa’s Nutritional Value
A cup of cooked quinoa has the following nutritional value:
- Calories in total: 222
- 8 gm protein
- 5 gm fibre
- Carbohydrates: 39 grammes
- 4 gramme fat
- Copper accounts for 18% of the RDA.
- 15% of the RDA for iron
- Zinc accounts for 13% of the RDA.
- 9 percent of the RDA for potassium
- 28 percent of the RDA for phosphorus
- Folate accounts for 19% of the RDA.
- Manganese is included in 58 percent of the RDA.
- Magnesium accounts for 30% of the RDA.
- More than 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2, and B6
- Calcium, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids in trace amounts
Millets vs. Quinoa
Quinoa is a complete protein that contains all nine necessary amino acids, making it a rarity among grains. It contains about 6 grammes of protein per serving (1/2 cup). Millets, on the other hand, lack critical amino acids and have a low protein content overall.
Apart from the protein differential, millets and quinoa are both excellent alternatives since they are both high in fibre and antioxidants, which fight disease-causing free radicals.
Quinoa preparation is quite similar to rice, and it takes around 15 minutes to cook. Millets, on the other hand, are more difficult to prepare because they quadruple in size.
Millets are fluffy grains that have a texture similar to pasta and mashed potatoes when cooked with a lot of water. Both grains have modest flavours when served, however millets have a pronounced nutty taste and texture when compared.
Quinoa has a wide range of applications. Quinoa can be prepared for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Quinoa can be used in place of white rice, making food preparation much healthier. We’ve included a quinoa meal that may simply replace white rice in your diet.
Pulao with Quinoa and Vegetables
4-5 persons (serving size)
Time to prepare: 15 minutes
Time to cook: 20 minutes
•1 cup Quinoa
•1 cup chopped onion
•Corn (quarter cup)
•1 cup chopped mixed veggies (carrots, beans, cauliflower)
•1/4 cup green peas
•1 tbsp. peanuts
•1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
•1 tbsp ghee
•Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon
•Cloves – 2 to 3
•1-inch piece cinnamon
•4 black peppercorns
•1 bay leaf
•Add salt to taste
•1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
•1 tsp chilli powder
•1 tsp garam masala
•2 cups water
•1 tbsp lemon juice
•1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- Melt ghee in a nonstick skillet. Sauté the peanuts. Mix in the cumin seeds, entire spices, and bay leaf. Allow the seeds to sputter. Sauté the ginger-garlic mixture for a few seconds. Add the onions and cook for a minute.
- Cook for a minute after adding the mixed veggies, corn, and peas. Now, combine the turmeric powder, chilli powder, and garam masala in a mixing bowl. Allow it to cook for a minute. Wash the quinoa thoroughly before adding it to the sautéed vegetable combination. Cook for a minute, then add water and season with salt to taste.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat. Allow the pulao to rest for 5 minutes. Open the lid, fluff with a fork, then sprinkle with lemon juice and coriander leaves before serving.
Summary – Health Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa is a gluten-free pseudo-cereal high in carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it an excellent alternative for vegans, vegetarians, and those attempting to reduce their meat consumption.
Quinoa is also high in B vitamins, which help with metabolic pathways in the body that transform food into fuel for energy. Quinoa consumption also decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, because of its nutrient density, quinoa is regarded as the finest alternative to rice and may thus be incorporated into a diet that fits all fitness and health goals.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q. Is quinoa useful for weight loss?
A. Quinoa can undoubtedly aid with weight loss. Quinoa is high in insoluble fibre, which keeps you fuller for longer and helps to control your appetite. Quinoa’s high protein and healthy fat content boosts metabolism and keeps you active.
Quinoa has a low glycemic index, which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady while also aiding in hunger control and weight loss.
Q. Is it safe to eat quinoa every day?
A. It is always a good idea to include a variety of grains in your diet in order to reap the benefits of a wide range of nutrients from various meals.
Quinoa, on the other hand, can easily be used to substitute daily grains like rice and roti, as well as other pulses, thanks to its complete protein content and wide range of minerals.
Q. Is quinoa healthy to eat?
A. Quinoa is high in protein, healthy fats, fibre, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent choice for any diet.
Q. What is the best way to prepare quinoa?
A. Quinoa contains a bitter coating known as saponin that protects it from getting rancid due to its high fat content. As a result, it must be thoroughly rinsed in running water to remove the saponin.
Quinoa is best cooked in double the quantity of water, uncovered, for around 10-15 minutes. Then, cover and remove from the heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork before using it in salads, smoothies, or other dishes.