Quinoa is a highly nutritious food from South America that was once considered "the gold of the Incas." The Incas of South America considered it sacred and used it in their rituals. They referred to it as ‘chisaya mama’ or mother of all grains, with the Inca emperor sowing the first seeds of the season using 'golden implements’. Quinoa is higher in amino acids and protein and can be easily substituted for almost any grain, as it is gluten free. The coating of the saponin gives it a bitter taste, so it needs to be washed away before cooking. Rich in proteins, iron, calcium and potassium, copper, and potassium, it helps prevent type2 diabetes, childhood asthma, heart diseases, gallstones and migraines. With this article, we will help you explore the benefits of this wonderful seed, quinoa.
Health Benefits Of Eating Quinoa
- Quinoa is rich in protein content. In fact, it is a complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids, especially lysine, which is required by the body to grow and repair tissues.
- It has high content of manganese in it, which acts as antioxidant in the body and helps it get rid of dangerous cancer cells and other diseases.
- The seed proved to be a good source of magnesium, which provides relief from migraine headaches, relaxes blood vessels, and decreases the risk of hypertension.
- Riboflavin present in quinoa reduces the frequency of migraine attacks, by producing energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells.
- The presence of potassium and magnesium in quinoa prevents clogging of arteries and hence, relieves stress on the heart.
- Quinoa has low content of saturated fats and cholesterol, making it an ideal food for every health conscious consumer.
- It is a good source of calcium, which is extremely important for the growth of healthy teeth, bones and skin.
- The grain is a boon for people who are allergic to wheat and are suffering from Celiac disease, as it is gluten free.
- Quinoa is a wonderful source of fiber for the body, which aids easy elimination and toning of colon.
- The food is rich in carbohydrates, an efficient fuel for energy production required by children and athletes.
- It is a good source of insoluble fiber that helps avoid gallstones, especially in women who are more prone to them.
- The high content of copper present in it helps in oxidizing glucose, produces skin coloring agent melanin and acts as catalyst in the formation of hemoglobin.
- Quinoa is not an allergic food and does not contain measurable amounts of purines. Since it is a member of Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae plant family, it contains oxalates in different ranges. Individuals who are advised to check or restrict their oxalate diet, needs to put it in the avoidance list.
- The seed of quinoa has a coating of saponin that imparts it a bitter taste and is quite toxic. It needs to be soaked for minimum 15 minutes and rinsed under cold running water, to guarantee pleasant and delicate flavor.
- Soaking quinoa for sometime before cooking will help it cook evenly. You can even soak it for 5 minutes in hot water, if you lack time.
- The grain can also be prepared in the same way as boiled rice. Boil 2 cups of water to prepare 1 cup of quinoa and cook it for 15 minutes. Keep it aside to let it absorb water. The size of the seed will increase significantly, with a tender and springy texture. Add salt and black pepper, as per taste.
- Quinoa can be served at breakfast as porridge, by adding nuts and fruits to it.
- It can be enjoyed as salad by combining chilled and cooked quinoa with pumpkin seeds, pinto beans, coriander and scallions.
- Quinoa flour can be added in cookies and muffins recipes, to impart a different flavor. It can also be used as delicious thickener in soups.
- The noodles made from quinoa can be tried to have a tempting and nutritious pasta treat.