Commonly believed to be a grain and prepared and eaten like one, quinoa or ‘Chenopodium quinoa’, is in fact a seed botanically speaking and is a relative of spinach and chard. The plant is indigenous to South America, originating in the mountainous area surrounding Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia around 7,000 years ago. It was referred to as “the mother of all grains” and considered to be sacred by the Incas. With over 120 different varieties worldwide, white, red and black quinoa are the three most commercialised at present. Let’s keenly dive into these Top 5 Health Benefits of Quinoa!
1. Highly antioxidant
Numerous beneficial phytonutrients are present in quinoa, some of which are known as flavonoids, in the form of quercetin and kaempferol. These have powerful antioxidant qualities, protecting the body from harmful free radicals, but have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer benefits in various studies.
2. Improves metabolic function
Quinoa decreases insulin, triglyceride and blood sugar levels, this whole grain food also promotes healthy muscle metabolism. Certain studies have shown that it may have the ability to hinder or eliminate the negative impacts of fructose.
In addition to its high fibre content, quinoa is packed with high quality complete protein, containing all essential and nonessential amino acids, alongside Omega-3 fatty acids, folate, calcium, copper, zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, selenium and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and E. It has a high content of the amino acid lysine, which is necessary for the prevention of cancer, anemia, fatigue and healthy cognitive function.
4. Weight loss
Quinoa’s ability to boost metabolism and its innate high protein content can help to curb appetite, therefore aiding with weight loss and healthy weight regulation. Manganese helps to effectively break down and digest food through the stimulation of certain digestive hormones and enzymes. Its high fibre content contributes to a feeling of satiety -it’s also able to aid with weight loss due to its ability to regulate blood cholesterol levels and has a low glycemic index.
Many sufferers of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are unable to obtain sufficient amounts of certain nutrients from their diet. Consuming quinoa as a main source of whole-grains can help to ensure adequate consumption of gluten-free protein, fibre and necessary minerals such as iron and calcium.
So if you’re a health conscious individual following a plant-based diet looking for a good quality nutrient-packed protein or simply an alternative to the usual rice dish, why not try out some quinoa? It should be boiled in water for around 15-20 mins; once cooked it can be used in many recipes such as soups, stews, salads, various cooked or raw vegetable dishes and even eaten for breakfast in the form of delicious quinoa porridge with a dash of molasses and cinnamon. Enjoy quinoa? Tell us what it does for you below or @KeepFitKingdom !