Quinoa has become a pretty popular grain as of late and is being seen in more and more supermarkets, and even being served in trendy restaurants. If you don’t know what this grain is or haven’t heard of it before, it is an ancient grain that has been around for thousands of years, indigenous to South America.
It was popular because of all the health benefits it provided through its nutrition, and was eaten by those peoples until the Spanish arrived and replaced it with other cereals.
This food is now gaining popularity again today because of those same nutritional benefits. Quinoa is a grain that you should definitely consider adding to your diet, and here is why.
Quinoa Is Loaded with Protein
We usually don’t think of grains as good source of protein when it comes to our nutrition, mainly because most of them in our diets are not complete proteins.
Complete protein meaning that they contain all of the essential amino acids that we need from our diet, which isn’t the case with oats, wheat, rye, barley or other grains commonly consumed in the western diet. Quinoa however does have all the essential amino acids, making it a rarity among grains.
If you are a vegan, vegetarian or just looking to eat more plant based foods, quinoa is definitely something you should consider for that trait alone.
Quinoa is very plain tasting and can be used in similar ways as rice, and is thus a great substitute. If you really want to get creative you can even use quinoa in pasta dishes as well. This is another great attribute to quinoa, in that it is a very versatile food that can be used in a variety of dishes.
This Grain Can Help You Lose Weight
When trying to lose weight, eating more grains usually isn’t something in the forefront our minds but in this case eating more grains can help us do just that. Quinoa first is a whole grain and generally is not processed like many products that contain wheat and corn are.
This helps right off the bat because whole grains mean lots of fiber, which not only helps with digestion but helps to fill us up. It also helps to keep us full which means less calories eaten as a whole. This not only will help you lose weight short term, but help you keep if off in the long run.
Quinoa Is a Very Nutritious Food
Not only is quinoa great for us because of its complete amino acid profile, but because it contains many other nutrients we need as well. Many people are deficient in a whole variety of nutrients mainly due to poor diet and the consumption of high calorie foods which are low in other nutrients.
Quinoa is rich in many minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. All of these are essential to our diets, however the magnesium and potassium are especially important to take note of here.
Magnesium and potassium are two essential nutrients when it comes to cardiovascular health in maintaining proper blood pressure. Iron is important in the production of the red blood cells themselves, which supply oxygen through the entire body.
Quinoa contains vitamins as well, such as thiamin, folate, riboflavin and B6.
Thiamin is a vitamin we constantly need to be getting from our diet because it tends to degrade quickly and is used in a variety of ways such as in cell maintenance, development and growth.
Folate is another important vitamin as it is important in maintaining cardiovascular health, helping to reduce the chances of stroke, and other diseases. Folate is also essential in the production of DNA, RNA and other amino acids that are involved in cellular division. Long story short, without enough folate we die.
Riboflavin is need by the body to fight off disease and infection. Another great benefit riboflavin provides is that it is very effective in the prevention of migraine headaches which can be debilitating.
What Are the Easiest Ways to Use Quinoa?
As mentioned earlier quinoa is a relatively plain food when it comes to taste, so it is very versatile. TH easiest way to include this food in your diet is to eat it for breakfast. Quinoa can be a great substitute for oats, and if you want some flavor add some fruit or cinnamon just like you would with oats.
You could also use quinoa flour as a substitute when you are making pancakes, waffles, or whatever else you would use flour to bake with.