- Food and Cooking
Is Quinoa The Ultimate Whole Grain?
Quinoa - Is it actually a grain?
For some reason, quinoa confounds people. It's often called a grain, when technically it's a seed related to spinach. It's touted as new, while the people of the Andean mountains have never stopped eating it during the last 5,000 years. Maybe most confounding is the name itself. It is pronounced as keen-wah, while it looks as if it should be pronounced as kwin-oh-ah. All that aside, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse that happens to be easy to prepare and tastes marvelous.
Natural Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Just one-quarter of a cup of quinoa contains 20 percent of the daily value of magnesium, and 8 percent of the daily value of B2. Vitamin B2 may prevent migraines, while magnesium may offer both prevention of and relief during an attack. Magnesium also allows blood vessels to relax, an important factor in the prevention of heart disease. It contains 43 percent of the daily value of manganese, almost 22 percent of tryptophan, around 20 percent of each folate and phosphorus.
After Quinoa was rediscovered it was proved to be quite rare among plant-based foods, due to the fact that it provides complete protein. A complete protein means that all nine of the essential amino acids required for human health are present. This is very important because the human body can not create or manufacture these particular amino acids and hence why they are so vital to life.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan than you probably know how finding complete proteins can be a challenge; luckily quinoa provides the histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine that can only originate from the diet. Beans for example are not a complete protein - only after combined with rice does the protein in the meal become complete.
Gluten Free Food
Naturally free of gluten, quinoa provide variety for those living a gluten free life. Of course, it is important to make sure the quinoa has been handled and processed away from ingredients that do contain gluten. Quinoa can be a hearty substitute for oatmeal with its lightly nutty taste and soft, chewy texture.
Not all carbohydrates are the same. Quinoa is naturally rich in the good kind, complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates keep your blood sugar more stable, without spiking, providing consistent energy over a longer time. Quinoa provides a feeling of satisfying fullness, without that bloated sensation.
Whole Grain Benefits
Harvard research, carried out for almost 20 years, showed that subjects who ate a bowl of whole grain cereal each morning were 29 percent less likely to suffer heart failure. Whole grain also reduces the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, stroke and obesity.
Whether cooked up for a hot breakfast, served chilled in a salad, made into noodles as an alternative to wheat-based pasta, baked into muffins, or sprouted and munched on raw, quinoa is fast and flexible. Quinoa makes it a real pleasure to follow a nutritionally rich diet.
When you learn to love the taste, nutrition, and convenience of quinoa in your life, you may want to start buying it in bulk to save some money. Plus you will never run out this way. Below are some great options