Quinoa is getting its well-deserved attention now but this ancient grain has been a part of our diet for over 3000 years. Labeled a superfood because of its immense nutritional value, this mighty grain is loaded with B Vitamins and Vitamin E, contains over 4.4 grams of protein per 100 grams. In fact, it is a complete protein (eight grams for every cup), which basically means that it contains all nine essential amino acids, which are not produced by the human body.
Upping the values
It is naturally gluten-free and provides fiber (five grams per serving) and magnesium, two nutrients many of us don’t get enough of, nutrients which regulate blood sugar levels and which are helpful for diabetics and those trying to lose weight. There’s more, it is rich in anti-oxidants, substances that fight-off disease-causing free radicals. Protein provides energy, while fiber makes you feel full. Even a small portion of quinoa can make you feel satisfied for hours after eating it. The energizing B vitamins provide 15 percent of the daily-recommended value of iron, a mineral vital for healthy blood and blood flow. Protein is the building block of the human body, present in muscles, tissues, skin, hair, and nails so it’s important to have enough of it on a daily basis.
Quinoa carries 120 calories per 100 grams, 3 percent of total fats, 7 percent of total carbohydrates, 11 percent of dietary fiber, 2 percent of calcium, 8 percent of iron, and 4 grams of protein.
Cooking is a breeze
It is similar to that of rice and takes approximately fifteen minutes. It is very easy to cook too; all you have to do is give them a thorough rinse before placing them in a pot with one part grain and two parts water. Bring to a boil before letting it simmer for about fifteen minutes or until the water is absorbed. Fluff it up before serving it with your favourite dish! Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse superstar and when cooked, it is a great source of protein (high in essential amino acids), dietary fiber, foliates, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. It is also an ideal and terrific substitute for rice and is wonderfully versatile enough to make muffins, fritters, cookies and breakfast casseroles. It comes in more than 120varieties and is eaten as a side dish or used in cereals, crackers and granola too.
In fact, quinoa is not a grain, it is a pseudo-cereal. It is a seed but has always been referred to as a wholegrain, meaning it contains the entire grain kernel, because it is prepared in the same way and carries same benefits. It is harvested from a species of a plant known as goosefoot. As a pseudo cereal, it is more closely related to plants like spinach and beets than to traditional grains like wheat. There are numerous types of quinoa available in the market, including quinoa flours for gluten-free baking needs, so what are you waiting for? Try different kinds in various recipes to see what works best for you. Happy healthy eating!