Touted as a nutrient-dense superfood, quinoa provides delicious, healthful benefits. Find out why it is so popular and how regular consumption of quinoa can improve your health.
What is Quinoa?
Although quinoa is often listed as a grain, it is actually the seed of a plant related to spinach. And, in comparison to wheat, barley, and corn, quinoa contains less sodium and more calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. Naturally gluten-free, low glycemic, and high in fiber, quinoa can be used as a substitute for any grain.
Notable Benefits of Quinoa
- Great Source Of Protein
Quinoa is a complete, high quality protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. The World Health Organization (WHO) rates the quality of the protein in quinoa to be equivalent to that in milk. For the vegetarians and vegans out there, quinoa is a smart choice for a meatless meal.
- Great Source Of Fiber
One cooked cup of quinoa provides 5 grams of fiber, most of which is insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber that your body needs to maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Adds Additional Protein During Pregnancy
As mentioned, quinoa is a great source of protein and the essential amino acids. For those who are expecting, it is a smart and delicious way to ensure that you are getting enough protein.
- Contains Iron
Iron helps to keep your red blood cells healthy and carries oxygen throughout your body. A deficiency in iron results in anemia, thus, quinoa can combat anemia and its negative side effects.
- Contains Antioxidants
Manganese and copper are necessary for your body to create enzymes that help protect your cells against damage caused by free radicals. This process helps to fight off all sorts of diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer. Luckily, quinoa contains extremely high levels of both.
Aside from its excellent health benefits, quinoa is relatively easy to prepare, and offers a delicate nutty flavor. You can enjoy it as a side dish, in soups or salads, as a pilaf, or even a nutritious breakfast cereal.