From the same family as spinach and beets, quinoa is an exceptional grain that is becoming more popular, due to its versatility and amazing health benefits.
Though a rare find except in health food stores and with a price above other grains, quinoa is well worth the hunt. Small portions stretch considerably when cooked, cooking time is much shorter than some other grains, and can be served with any meal (as part of a side dish, main course, dessert, soup, salad or as a breakfast cereal).
Quinoa contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It also has tons of thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folate (vitamin B9), iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, water and dietary fiber. Quinoa also contains vitamin B6, manganese, and healthy fats (mostly polyunsaturated). With this mega mix of vitamins, nutrients and minerals, quinoa is considered a “super grain.”
What’s So Great About Quinoa?
Builds Muscles, Bones and Teeth – Quinoa contains 4 minerals that are known bone, muscle and teeth strengtheners – calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium. Quinoa is also an excellent source of protein, which helps the body to build and repair tissue, including muscles.
Battles Iron-Deficiency Anemia – Iron deficiency causes one to become weak, easily fatigued, and pale, sometimes with decreased libido and maybe even headaches or upset stomach. Iron helps to keep blood oxygenated and flowing properly, and when your body can’t absorb this nutrient or isn’t getting enough from the foods you consume, iron-deficiency anemia could set in. The good news is that quinoa is rich in iron, and a little goes a long way.
Promotes Heart Health – The fiber in quinoa keeps blood pressure down; unsaturated fats keep cholesterol down; folate (or vitamin B9) keeps homocysteine down, which means blood flow is better; and protein lowers heart disease risk. Collectively, these nutrients keep your heart functioning at top notch.
Cancels Cataracts – The fact that quinoa has lots of protein and polyunsaturated fat makes a person who eats this grain regularly less likely to develop cataracts, especially cortical or nuclear cataracts. Cataracts block the flow of light through the eye and can cause blindness, so it’s a good idea, especially among seniors, to eat more quinoa and foods like it that are have a good deal of protein and healthy fat.
Boosts Energy – The high amount of protein in quinoa also boosts your energy levels. Quinoa is also rich in B vitamins, which help the body to process carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and convert them into energy. B vitamin deficiency is often the cause of fatigue and sluggishness throughout the day.
Kills Cancer – Quinoa contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which regulate the bowels and digestive process. Together, they also sweep the intestines clean of toxins, debris and disease-causing substances, which could lead to cancer. Cancer often begins in the course of digestion, so keeping this area clean and toxin free is a great defense against the disease.