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Is Quinoa The Ultimate Whole Grain?

Updated on January 12, 2013

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.

quinoa beans vegetarian protein sources
quinoa beans vegetarian protein sources

Complete Protein

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.

Quinoa Videos

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.

Complex Carbohydrates

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.

Bulk Quinoa

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

What do you love about quinoa?

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    • profile image

      sybil watson 4 years ago

      I love that it's so much like couscous, except much healthier. When cooked in broth it's light and flavorful.

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      I don't think I've ever tried this stuff before. Want to give it a try though.

    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 4 years ago

      Love it!

    • Rosanna Grace profile image

      Rosanna Grace 4 years ago

      I've just found it. I like how versatile and nutritious it is.

    • pyngthyngs profile image

      pyngthyngs 4 years ago

      @goldenrulecomics: It can take a while to fine tune it to your liking - kind of like a al dente pasta vs a soft pasta. It also does have a slightly nutty taste that make be foreign to some folks. It make just take some getting used to.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      We tried it for the first time a few weeks ago, and the kids just wouldn't eat it. My wife and I did -- it was all right.

    • profile image

      AnnaleeBlysse 4 years ago

      I haven't tried it, but sounds like I should.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I like to use it in salads. It is supposed to be really healthy.

    • Onethindime LM profile image

      Onethindime LM 5 years ago

      I just started using quinoa. I think it would make a great risotto.

    • BusinessSarah profile image

      BusinessSarah 5 years ago

      I love quinoa! It's so healthy and versatile. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      I like it. I buy many cereals that contain it and cook it occasionally.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I love quinoa but I'd forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. :)

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I love everything about quinoa.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I tried quinoa for the first time about 2 years ago and I'm hooked. I like it best made into a salad as a healthy alternative to potato or pasta salad.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love this information about quinoa, which I have never eaten (gasp!). Definitely have plans to rectify that situation very soon. Thanks for the info!