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Quinoa - An Ancient Super Food

Updated on July 30, 2010

Quinoa is a type of grain with edible seeds that were a staple of South American diets dating back to pre-Columbian times. Only potatoes were cultivated in greater quantity than quinoa. Even corn, which the native tribes referred to as maize, was not as popular as these super seeds.

This is what plain ol' quinoa looks like
This is what plain ol' quinoa looks like

Health Facts about Quinoa

Quinoa is made up of about 15% protein, which is very high and makes it a great choice as a diet staple. It is considered a complete protein source because it has a balanced source of amino acids -- something that is rare in most foods. Because of its high protein content, quinoa has become a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans, who have limited choices when trying to find protein in a diet that contains no meat.

In addition to protein, quinoa has a lot of fiber, which helps with digestion. Although it is a grain-like plant, quinoa is gluten free, making it a great food substitute for those suffering from Celiac Disease.

Quinoa also contains phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Because of its high nutritional content and the fact that it's easy to digest, quinoa has been considered by NASA as one of the possible staple crops for their Controlled Ecological Life Support System program, which is attempting to develop a menu for manned spaceflights to Mars that may happen in the future.

Here's a quinoa breakfast with nuts and honey
Here's a quinoa breakfast with nuts and honey

A Simple Quinoa Breakfast Recipe

Here's an easy recipe for a quinoa-heavy breakfast that anyone can make:


  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa (rinsed in water)
  • 1 pear (cut up into small pieces)
  • cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • raisins or dried berries (a couple handfuls)
  • 2 cups of water

Mix it all together in a big bowl and put it in the microwave for about 10 minutes. Serve it with a little milk or cream and some natural honey (not that imitation honey, which is pretty much just high fructose corn syrup). You've basically just taken regular breakfast oatmeal and turned it into a super breakfast, complete with plenty of protein and antioxidants.

Have you tried quinoa?

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  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 8 years ago

    Wow- thanks - I'm a veggie. I eat a little fish but I'm mostly veggie. I never heard of this. I'll try it. Thank you.