The Inca civilization sowed and consumed quinoa, believing it strengthened their warriors and gave them stamina. It took 5000 years for the rest of us to catch up. The United Nations recently recognized the significant and potential health benefits of this ancient food source. The organization pronounced 2013 as the International Year of the Quinoa. If you have not heard of quinoa and its benefits, you are not alone.
Quinoa is fairly well known in the vegan community, where it is touted as a super grain. However, it is not technically a grain or cereal: but substitutes well for both. Knowledgeable South American entrepreneurial types have started mass production of a quinoa energy drink. It has become popular as a replacement for rice; which is falling out of favor due to high levels of arsenic in many geographic regions.
Chenopodium quinoa (official name) is a gluten-free, protein-rich, high fiber seed, with a pleasant, yet not overwhelming nutty taste; which is full of copper, folate, lysine, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, andriboflavin (vitamin B2), . A cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. It is easily classified as a super food, that some say is the most complete.
The medical literature is replete with evidence the use of quinoa is beneficial to improving the quality of life for those with Celiac disease. The American Diabetic Association recommends the seeds as one of their “best foods”. The ADA suggests it be incorporated in diabetic diets because of its relatively low carbohydrates, high vitamin, and mineral content. The Mayo Clinic advises cancer patients, who may find they dislike the taste of meat during treatment, try the high protein quinoa as a substitute.
To date, there is not an abundance of clinical studies on quinoa; though there is ongoing research into the potential of the plant in other arenas of science; and probability of success in feeding large numbers. The crop can grow in poor soil and less than favorable conditions.
There are a number of anecdotal reports by those who have taken quinoa to obtain effective relief of, or to avoid, diseases such as:
High blood pressure
GI health (acts as a prebiotic)
As always, when searching for answers, know your source. Don’t trust your health to just anyone.
By: Corie Richter