Quinoa has become one of the most popular nutritional superstars of the decade. And with good reason!
This small seed has an amazing nutty flavour, is incredibly versatile, is easy-to-prepare, is high in nutrients and is a complete vegetarian protein.
You may be surprised to learn that quinoa is not a true grain; it's a seed! Like other seeds, it's high in protein and fibre providing balanced energy and satiety. One (1) cup of quinoa has about as much protein as two (2) deli slices of chicken breast or about 15% protein by weight.
A big reason quinoa has come into fashion is that it is now easy-to-prepare. In the old days of health food stores, quinoa was sold in bulk and it had to be rinsed many times to remove the bitter saponins. Now quinoa is pre-rinsed and, with a 15-minute cooking time, is a wonderful replacement for refined rice. While brown rice is loved, a common complaint is the 45 minutes it takes to cook.
Here's a quick tip : If you want to enjoy quinoa in an instant in the morning, try it rolled. Just like rolled oats, rolled quinoa cooks in just a few minutes.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that enjoying “three or more servings of whole grain foods every day could reduce the chances of developing metabolic syndrome - a condition marked by a combination of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, poor blood sugar control, low HDL 'good' cholesterol and high blood fats.”2
Quinoa’s high fibre helps regulate blood sugar by slowing down the conversion of complex carbohydrates into sugar. It helps you feel full and reduces cravings – making it a perfect weight loss tool.
Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are used by your body as building blocks to assimilate full proteins for the development of muscle tissue and necessary metabolic enzymes.3 Protein is also necessary for the absorption of calcium into your bones and the development of collagen, as well as the growth factors involved in the healthy growth of the bone matrix.
A 2010 study, conducted in the Netherlands, fed quinoa to rats who were bred to have high cholesterol.4 These rats were also fed a high fructose diet to further increase their harmful cholesterol (LDL) levels. After quinoa was introduced to their diet, the detrimental effects of the cholesterol and fructose began to reverse and cholesterol levels were returning to normal.
Riboflavin is a member of the B vitamin family that has been shown, in recent studies, to aid in the elimination and prevention of migraine headaches by improving the transport of oxygen into the cell. This prevents migraines from occurring and aids in their relief.5
Quinoa has a high magnesium content; Magnesium has been the subject of many studies for its role of preventing hypertension through its ability to relax the small muscles that clamp down on your blood vessels. Recent research has also shown that a deficiency in magnesium actually increases the hormone (angiotensin II) that is responsible for increasing blood pressure. Magnesium has a two-fold effect on your heart health!6
Quinoa is high in INSOLUABLE dietary fibre. Insoluble fibre has been shown to reduce the occurrence of gallstones by reducing the stagnation of bile and lowering the total blood triglycerides, which are two of the major components of gallstone formation. Quinoa is a great way to get fibre from a gluten-free source!7