Quinoa is the talk of the health food world right now, so much so that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations named 2013 “the International Year of Quinoa”. A complete protein that increases your metabolism, helps rids the body of toxins, provides an excellent source of fiber and contains many other essential vitamins and minerals, what’s not to love about this ancient super grain? Why is quinoa so good for you and why should you add it to your diet tonight?
A super grain with deep history
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds has been a staple in Latin kitchens, dating back to pre-Colombian Andean civilizations. The plant is indigenous to South America where it was referred to the “mother of all grains”. For centuries Quinoa was obscure in the rest of the world, but over the past few decades global export has been increasing and over the last 10 years skyrocketed with growing popularity in North America, Europe and Asia.
Small Grain, Big Nutrition
Quinoa is a considered to be a “whole grain and it includes all nine essential amino acids including lysine lacking in most grains, making it a complete protein. Quinoa provides 8 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup, with 4 grams of Fat, no saturated fat or cholesterol and a total of 222 calories. Quinoa also provides a variety of antioxidants and flavonoids. It is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals including antioxidant-promoting manganese, heart-healthy magnesium, and bone-building phosphorus. As well, quinoa is a source of calcium, B vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, and selenium. For those trying to make healthy food choices after weight loss surgery or trying to maximize your nutrition to help you stay strong during cancer treatment this super grain is a nutrient dense choice.
Great Nutrition AND Great Taste
Now you are a believer that this grain is nutritious, but are you thinking, something this good for me must taste like cardboard? Cooked quinoa seeds are fluffy and yet slightly crunchy, with a very delicate nutty flavour that most people find delicious. Quinoa is very versatile and can be used in many dishes from salads and main courses to sweets and breakfast dishes.
With the wide range of anti-inflammatory nutrients present in quinoa, it is not surprising that studies attribute quinoa to lowering levels of inflammation. In fact, initial animal based studies show a decrease in inflammation and inflammation-related problems (including obesity) when animals are fed quinoa daily. Further studies are expected to demonstrate that quinoa reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease as well, through protecting blood vessels from inflammatory damage.
Fights Diabetes Risks
Given the protein and fiber content of quinoa and the known fact that these two macronutrients are essential for the regulation of blood sugar, it is believed that new studies will show quinoa helps to fight the risk of diabetes.
Whether you are looking to make positive additions to your diet to manage your weight, improve your overall health or looking at nutritious foods for a post-weight loss surgery food plan, quinoa is a super food you have to try.
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