12 Proven Health Benefits of Quinoa

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Quinoa is a very popular nutrition food in the world. It has no gluten, it is a food which is high in protein and also contains all the 9 amino acids, a trait which only a very few plants have. The other qualities that it possesses are high fiber content, magnesium, Vitamin-B, calcium, potassium, Vitamin-E, phosphorus and a number of necessary antioxidants.

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Here are some of the important, proven health benefits of this food.

1. HIGH NUTRITION VALUE

Quinoa looks like a grain food, but it isn’t. It is technically a seed prepared to be eaten as a grain. Quinoa’s importance dates back to the Inca Empire. It was called the mother of grains and was considered sacred. For hundreds and thousands of years, South Americans have been consuming Quinoa. However, it only reached its ‘star’ status a couple of years back. Now, almost all health foods contain some amount of quinoa as an emphasis to restore natural nutrition back to the world. It comes in 3 colors, white, black and red.

Here is the nutritional value of Quinoa per cup which is 185 grams (based on Recommended Dietary Allowance). These values refer to cooked Quinoa.

It contains 8 grams of protein.

It contains as much as 5 grams of fiber.

58% of manganese

30% of magnesium

28% of phosphorus

19% of folate

18% of copper

15% of iron

13% of zinc

9% of potassium

And also, 10% of vitamins (Vitamin B1, B2, and B6)

It also has limited calcium, vitamin B, and E along with a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.

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It is usually grown organically. It is still counted under grains, even though it is a seed. Some scientists is considering it as a n appropriate crop to be planted in outer space, because of its nutritional value, simple and easy  to grow.

The UN named 2013 as the year of Quinoa because of those nutritional values and the contribution it has made towards our food society. Since then, it has become a very trendy ‘grain’, consumed by fitness freaks and normal people around the globe.

2. THE PRESENCE OF QUERCETIN AND KAEMPFEROL

The effect of a food product on a person’s health goes beyond those familiar vitamins and minerals. There are a lot more traces of extremely important and extremely healthy nutrients in there. They include:

Flavonoids.  These are antioxidants found in plants and are beneficial to human health in all sorts of ways. Quercetin and Kaempferol are 2 of the well-studied flavonoids and are found in huge quantities in Quinoa. The content of Quercetin in Quinoa is so high that even Quercetin concentrated foods like cranberries have lower amounts of Quercetin.

These flavonoids have been proven to fight various diseases like inflammation of intestines, various types of viruses, cancer, depression and various other diseases in studies regarding animals.

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When you start including Quinoa in your diet, you are basically lowering the chances of you contracting those diseases and you also get the added benefit of absorbing all the nutrients along with the mentioned flavonoids.

 

3. HIGHER FIBER CONTENT THAN OTHER GRAINS

Studies have shown that Quinoa contains fiber ranging from 10-16 grams per 100 grams. This means that per cup value is 17-27 grams. This high quantity of fiber is usually not present in other grains. Once boiled, the fiber content drops down significantly because of the amount of water it absorbs. The other downside of Quinoa is that almost 15% of the fiber is insoluble and has fewer health benefits as compared to soluble fiber.

In spite of that, the content of soluble fiber is 2.5 grams per cup which is 1.5 grams out of 100 grams of Quinoa. This is still a very high number. Soluble fiber is the key element which lowers blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and an increase in fullness and also helps with losing weight.

 

4. IT IS GLUTEN-FREE

Gluten is a product that almost a quarter of the people in the world are trying to avoid. In cases where it is unavoidable, they are trying to minimize its intake. A diet that contains no gluten is healthy as long as the foods are found gluten-free in nature. There are very few foods that are naturally gluten-free and those that are, are refined with starches. Using Quinoa, which is naturally gluten-free, in place of other staple gluten-free foods like corn and potato increases the nutritional value and antioxidant value of the specific diet.

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5. HIGH PROTEIN CONTENT, WITH PRESENCE OF ALL NECESSARY AMINO ACIDS

Amino acids make protein. Some of them are more necessary because they aren’t found in our day-to-day foods and our body absolutely needs them. If a food has  all the essential or necessary amino acids,  it  is usually called a complete protein. Unfortunately, a lot of plant foods lack these amino acids, one being lysine.

The only grain-seed that has all of them is Quinoa as it contains all the required amino acids that form a complete protein diet. That is why it is said to be the best source of protein as it has all the required amino acids and has them in more quantity than other grains.

6. CONTROLS BLOOD SUGAR

Quinoa, with a score of 53, sits very low on the glycemic index. (The glycemic index measures how foods can immediately increases the person’s level of  blood sugar.)

This means that it is an excellent way to enjoy a diet without worrying about blood sugar levels rising. However, Quinoa has a very high carbohydrate value, more than most grains so it is not recommended for people who take a lower amount of carbs.

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7. HAS MINERALS LIKE IRON AND MAGNESIUM

A lot of modern diets don’t give people the nutrition that their body needs. This is true for a lot of minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and for women, iron.

Quinoa, however, has a very high content of all these 4 minerals, with magnesium being the highest with a 30% of Recommended Dietary Allowance for one cup intake. The downside to this is that it also has Phytic acid, an acid that binds all these minerals together and lessen their absorption. You can work around Phytic acid and keep the value of the minerals intact. It also has high amounts of oxalates, which help in the reduction of absorbing calcium, making a person prone to a repetitive case of kidney stones.

8. BENEFITS METABOLIC HEALTH

With so many health benefits, one can safely assume that it has positive effects on metabolic health. This fact has not been studied as much as the others, however, a study performed on rats showed the increase in metabolism. There was another human study that showed the same effect as well. This study also proved the effectiveness of Quinoa as a gluten-free component, significantly lowering the subject’s blood sugar, triglyceride and insulin levels.

The study performed on rats saw that Quinoa also completely negated the adverse effects of fructose.

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9. HIGH AMOUNT OF ANTIOXIDANTS

Free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants which help in fighting diseases and aging. Many studies have compared various cereals, legumes, and other food products with Quinoa to check for antioxidant levels. A number of antioxidants in Quinoa are the highest of all.

 

10. HELPS WITH WEIGHT LOSS

If you want to lose weight, you need to lower the intake of calories or burn them twice as fast. Quinoa has several properties that help with weight loss. This high in protein pseudo-grain that increases metabolism and lowers appetite to a noticeable level. The large fiber content also helps a person with feeling full, which, in turn, makes you crave fewer calorie-based foods.

 

11. EASY TO FIT INTO ANY DIET

This is very important. This nutritious seed or grain is very easy to fit into any food. The fact that it is tasty also helps the fact as it can be mixed well with many foods. You can rinse it to get rid of the saponins which are on the uppermost layer and can have a bitter taste. It can be made in lesser than 15-20 minutes and is available in most markets, some of them sell it rinsed.

The best way to consume it is- to Heat 2 cups of water, add raw quinoa (1 cup) with some salt and boil. And that’s it! Then you can eat it. If cooked well, It tastes like a boiled nut with a pleasing crunchiness to it.

This is not the only way to eat Quinoa. There are a dozen ways out there to have it. You can have a side of Quinoas with your favorite fried chicken dish or have it with some simple salt and pepper.

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12. IT DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY ARTIFICIAL ELEMENTS TO MAKE IT MORE HEALTHIER

Quinoa is a food product that does not need any alteration to make it healthier. Unlike other grains, Quinoa gets all its nutrition value directly from nature. It can just be grown and eaten. The added benefit to this is that while consuming it, you do not have to worry about any side effects that usually occur from artificially enhanced products because almost always, it is sold in the same way it is reaped.

You know what Quinoa has to offer now.

As you know it’s a specified of goosefoot genus, the grain crop is primarily grown for its edible seeds.

The coating is supposed to be naturally bitter, that kind of helps to put insects away without having to make use of pesticides,

That coating can be easily removed by rinsing it with water just before you consume it.

Even though most of the packaged quinoas available in the market have already removed the bitter coating, giving it an extra rinse is not a bad idea.

As you know they are tender and ready to consume within 15 minutes, so it’s easy to put or include it in your diet.

Its taste is subtle and nutty which makes it a versatile ingredient; you can consume it as a breakfast grain. Or you can use it in baking. It can also work well for a hot side dish, burgers or in cold salads.

There are numerous easy and healthy recipes available on the internet, while you can also be innovative and indulge quinoa in your diet by yourself.

I cannot see any good reason to not to consume quinoa, as it has a good range of possible health benefits.

 

Some facts:

Quinoa is not a true grain

Quinoa can help save a number of health conditions.

It is relatively considered to have high antioxidants, as compared to other grains.

You can prepare it in as little as 15 minutes.

Quinoa has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Innumerable ways you can include quinoa in your diet.

There are more than hundreds of cultivated types of quinoa.

The common ones available in stores are in color red, white and black.

It was also known by the Incas as “The Mother of all grains”

 

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