Maybe you’ve heard of this tiny grain, which is actually not a grain at all, but a seed instead – maybe you haven’t. Quinoa, pronounced ‘Keen-wah’ is a South American treasure, used by Aztec warriors for greater stamina and quicker recovery. Being a seed, and thereby not related to wheat at all, quinoa is gluten-free and arguably THE plant of choice for world-wide food security. With quinoa taking a more prominent place in the food global market we could see some amazing health improvements and possibly even solve the hunger problem.
This tiny little seed, which cooks up like rice, barley or any other grain, is packed full of nutrients unlike any of its rivals. Most grains do not qualify as ‘complete proteins’, but quinoa does not have this inadequacy- containing all nine essential amino acids. Amazingly, quinoa has somewhere between 16-20% protein, similar to milk, though is easier to assimilate due to critical essential fatty acids.
Quinoa is high in iron, protien, fiber, magnesium, folate, copper, calcium, phosphorus, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants phytonutrients like ferulic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and vanillic acid as well as flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempferol all anti-inflammatory in nature. This tiny nutritious seed is also a great source of Vitamin E and the antioxidant supporting mineral, manganese. Quinoa is so packed full of antioxidants you could name it crucial on your shopping list for cancer-prevention foods.
This wonderfully nutritious little seed actually belongs to the Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae plant family, the same family as chard, spinach and beets making it not a high allergen food, but instead a glorious gluten-free, simple to grow plant you can rejoice in consuming!
For diabetes, quinoa is a serious health benefit, containing a large amount of fiber, ‘one of the key macronutrients needed for blood sugar regulation.’ Quinoa is a good source of protein, another important factor in controlling blood sugar. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, quinoa makes an all around fantastic diabetic friendly food. Quinoa has also been shown to lower total cholesterol levels, maintaining good HDL’s making it heart friendly to boot!
Where do you find this amazing grain alternative? Health food stores contain several varieties of this delicate seed, side by side with rice and other grains. It comes in yellow and red as well as a mixed variety. You cook it up just like any other grain and when it’s done, you see a tiny sprout-like tail extending from the softened seed. It can be enjoyed as you would rice, or made into salads and makes a great gluten-free alternative to traditional tabouli recipes by substituting the bulgur wheat with quinoa. Delicious and nutritious quinoa is starting to become a new trend in healthy eating spanning the globe.
Especially good to know about if you are practicing a gluten-free diet, quinoa has been made into breads and tortillas and can be trusted to provide both taste and nutrition for your expanding food experience. Highly digestible, quinoa is good for children and the elderly as well as those with digestive complaints and sensitive systems.
Known to alleviate migraines and other aches and pains, quinoa is a magical food full of magnesium – known to relax blood vessels. In South America, quinoa is used to heal skin injuries due to the high level of saponins in this precious food.
With a delicious, nutty flavor, quinoa is an amazingly nutritious addition to your diet, containing digestible proteins and beneficial fats. As a gluten-free alternative to wheat products, quinoa could be the food of choice for world wide security and the elimination of hunger. Quinoa can be easily cultivated, and though Bolivia and Peru have grown nearly all the quinoa eaten in the world in years past, it is now starting to be propagated in Oregon, Washington and California of the U.S. Quinoa export has risen to become an $87 million dollar a year business in South America alone. This number is expected to rise around the world as more and more information about this miracle food gets out.
Written by: Stasia Bliss