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Quinoa: The New Superfood

Quinoa is a super food, dubbed so by nutritionists and doctors for its plethora of health benefits.

More precisely a super grain, quinoa is derived from the seed of the quinoa plant, which is connected to the spinach family. Centuries ago, quinoa was the prime focus of the ancient Incan diet. However, today quinoa has become a popular North American health food for the following ten reasons…

  1. Chalked Full of Essential Vitamins

Quinoa contains more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than any other grain. In fact, you’ll get an impressive list of vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, potassium, and riboflavin, plus minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium, and folate, as well as the antioxidants phytonutrients quercetin and kaempferol, which lend anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting prowess to each bowl consumed.

  1. High in Protein

Quinoa is a rich source of complete protein, particularly for a grain. The secret is lysine, a rare amino acid not found in many other grains, which make the protein levels in quinoa comparable to those in milk.

  1. Promotes Health Blood Sugar Levels

It turns out that eating quinoa also reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and can also help you keep those glucose levels balanced if you already have one. This is due to the fact that it’s rich in complex carbohydrates, or healthy carbohydrates, that slowly digest and keep you satiated for longer while keeping your blood sugar and appetite level.

  1. Maintains Efficient Heart and Blood Vessel Function

Magnesium, a vital mineral required for optimal metabolism, cardiovascular, and blood vessel function is found in Quinoa.

  1. Reduces Migraines

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from nasty migraine headaches, then you should be featuring quinoa in your regular weekly meal line up. Why? Quinoa is high in riboflavin, or vitamin B2, which promotes blood vessel expansion in the brain and reduces instances of migraine headaches.

  1. Quinoa is Gluten Free

If you suffer from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, quinoa will be your new noshing best friend. Quinoa is technically a seed. However, it is unrelated to wheat and thus serves as a perfect substitute for pasta, wheat flour, oatmeal, and so much more. You can grind, boil, bake, steam, and even fry quinoa.

  1. Low in Fat

If you’re trying to lose weight, you will love quinoa not only because it’s extremely low in fat compared to other grains, but also because any fat present is almost all made up of essential fatty acids, or omega-3 fatty acid, which are healthy fats that promote further fat burning while keeping you full much longer than dishes made with rice or pasta.

Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.

  1. Protein Rich

Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

  1. Rich in Iron

Quinoa contains Iron which helps to keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron some more of which include neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, aids enzyme activity and energy metabolism.

  1. Contains Lysine

Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

Quinoa

We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant that, as its scientific name Chenopodium quinoa reflects, is related to beets, chard and spinach. These amino acid-rich seeds are not only very nutritious, but also very delicious. Cooked quinoa seeds are fluffy and creamy, yet slightly crunchy. They have a delicate, somewhat nutty flavor. While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent yellow color, other varieties feature colors such as orange, pink, red, purple or black. Although often difficult to find in the marketplace, the leaves of the quinoa plant are edible, with a taste similar to its green-leafed relatives, spinach, chard and beets.

Childhood Asthma: Many allergies are connected with grass seeds but Quinoa is not a grass. It is a plant but is not known to produce serious allergic reactions in people. Asthma is the result of breathing difficulties that are made worse by tension. It is known to have triggers and often there is a family history of asthma. It is known to have got worse over the years and many experts point to our modern living conditions as making it more prevalent. While not all asthma attacks are caused by allergies which may or may not be avoidable, it is known that Quinoa helps to reduce body stress and helps to keep the airways open. It is recommended that children with asthma eat a whole food diet. Many of the nutrients that we need are in Quinoa such as Magnesium which naturally helps to reduce spasms in the bronchial tubes. We know that many asthma patients are short of vitamin B, minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron all of which can be found in Quinoa.

Pregnant Mums: Quinoa is known to be an endurance food which gives energy. It is also known to be a good source of Iron which pregnant mums are always advised to increase in their diet. It is good for tissue repair and development of teeth and bones. Along with the other benefits of Quinoa, it is a useful source of goodness that forming babies will demand in plenty as they grow. It is also good for Mums when they are feeding as it will improve the quality of milk for new-born infants

The high-protein content of this gluten-free ancient grain makes it a dietary superstar. Here, boiling quinoa with root vegetables adds flavor to the plain pantry staple.

Recipe to cook Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (500 ml)  quinoa
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 white turnip, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup (250 ml)  diced cucumber
  • 3 green onions (white parts only), chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml)  chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml)  chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml)  lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml)  red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3/4 tsp (4 ml)  salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml)  pepper
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml)  extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

In fine sieve under cold running water, rinse quinoa (if the quinoa isn’t pre-rinsed). Drain and place in saucepan along with carrot, celery, turnip and 3-1/2 cups/875 ml water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed (for about 20 minutes). Transfer to bowl; fluff with fork and let cool. Add tomatoes, cucumber, onions, parsley and mint.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and hot sauce; whisk in oil. Toss with salad.

Nutritional Information Per each of 8 servings:

Calories- 266

Protein- 7 gram

Fat (total) – 12 gram

Sat. Fat- 1.5 gram

Carbohydrates- 36 g

Fiber- 4 gram

Sodium- 258 mg

Calcium- 5 % RDI

Iron- 34 % RDI

Vitamin- A28 % RDI

Vitamin- C35 % RDI

Folate- 16 % RDI

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