Quinoa – Benefits and Uses
Quinoa is a grain that has been around since the Incas, but its popularity has grown exponentially in recent years. Most people are aware of its super nutrition qualities but few realize how versatile and easy to use it is.
Did you know that you can make breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, soups, even quinoa pasta?
Quinoa is one of the most complete vegetarian proteins (second only to soy) and it contains both all eight essential amino acids as well as high levels of fiber. Because quinoa has no gluten, those with celiac disease or gluten allergies can still enjoy quinoa’s many benefits.
It’s often used as a substitute for rice or wheat due to its quick cooking time and quinoa is nutritious and low on the glycemic index which means it won’t spike your blood sugar leading to cravings.
Quinoas Nutrient Content
Below is a list of some of the nutrients in quinoa.
Manganese (85% Recommended Daily Allowance), Protein (18%), Iron (11%) RDA, Dietary Fiber (36%) RDA, Folate (39%) RDA, Vitamin B6 (28%), Magnesium (14%) RDA, Phosphorous (17%) RDA, Riboflavin (12%) RDA, Thiamin (10%) RDA.
The amount of protein in quinoa is typically very high, quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids.
Manganese is used in small amounts to activate certain enzymes that are important for energy production and antioxidant defense.
Iron is used by our body to produce hemoglobin which carries oxygen throughout the body’s cells. Iron helps with the creation of myelin, a fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers.
One ounce of quinoa contains about 109 calories and 1 cup of quinoa has 222 calories.
Quinoa For Weight Loss
Quinoa is good for dieting because it is a low glycemic food, which means that its carbohydrates affect your blood sugar slowly and it’s good for those with diabetes or on a reduced carbohydrate diet.
Quinoa is also high in protein and complex carbohydrates, so it makes you feel fuller longer so you tend to eat less throughout the day. Quinoa provides a lasting feeling of fullness even while being low-calorie, making quinoa a good fat burning food.
Quinoa offers many benefits because it contains all the essential amino acids required for muscle development. If you’re training hard, quinoas carbohydrate content can be used quickly by muscles during intense exercise or endurance events as marathons or triathlons.
Quinoa also provides a great amount of fiber which is good for those who exercise regularly as it reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Quinoas high protein content helps prevent muscle tissue breakdown after strenuous exercise and quinoa’s B vitamins help produce energy for muscles to use during workouts.
Cooking quinoa couldn’t be easier- quinoa can be used as an ingredient in all kinds of dishes and you need no special equipment to cook it. Just like rice, quinoa cooks up in about 15 minutes (or more like 12 minutes if you soak quinoa overnight).
You can make quinoa as simple as possible or dress it up by adding different ingredients such as vegetables, nuts, fruits, etc. This versatility makes quinoa appealing to kids who may not want the plain version served up at mealtime.
Types of Quinoa
Quinoa is available at many supermarkets but you can also find quinoa at health stores like Whole Foods. Be sure to check the label because quinoa comes in several forms: white quinoa, red quinoa and black quinoa.
Some cooks prefer this variety; however, I prefer the classic white because once cooked the other varieties tend to have a slightly crunchy texture that some do not care for.
Here are a couple of quinoa recipes to help you discover quinoa’s versatility.
A Basic Quinoa Dish
This is the classic quinoa recipe used by many people for many years, simply delicious.
1 cup quinoa 2 cups water or chicken broth salt to taste (optional).
Bring liquid to a simmer in a saucepan, stir in quinoa, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.
Quinoa And Chicken Salad Recipe
1/2 cup quinoa 1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed.
Dressing: 2 tbsp olive oil 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar salt & pepper to taste 2 cloves garlic, minced juice of half a lemon.
Boil quinoa in water or broth until it softens but don’t overcook it.
Quinoa is a whole grain and quinoa is high in protein; quinoa has all nine of the essential amino acids required for muscle development and quinoa is very versatile and easy to prepare.