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Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains of nature. First, let’s get the pronunciation of the word right- the word is pronounced as Keen-wah and not ki-no-ah! Quinoa seeds are rich in lipids, proteins, vitamins, folates, iron, potassium, magnesium and other minerals. It is one of the rarest pseudo-cereals that contain all essential nine amino acids some of which the body cannot produce. Quinoa is helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, lowering blood pressure, building muscles, reducing diabetes among other health benefits. It is also rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that scavenge free radicals from the body and prevent the cells from damage.
What Is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a grain crop that belongs to the Amaranth family. Quinoa has been grown and domesticated for human consumption since times immemorial and its domestication can be traced back to almost 3000 to 4000 BC. Quinoa seeds are loaded with a lot of vital nutrients and hence quinoa is used in many cuisines across the world. Quinoa is not actually a grain like other whole grains. It is a pseudo cereal that belongs to the same family as spinach, chards and beets. At CashKaro we have curated a list of all the health benefits of this healthful seed. You will find all relevant information about quinoa seeds including its health benefits, nutritional value, ways to consume, risks and precautions and more here. Just read on our list and incorporate this healthful grain in your diet at the earliest!
Benefits Of Quinoa
1. Reduces The Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases
A research article published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) suggested that quinoa seeds are effective in reducing the risk of cardio vascular diseases (CVDs). Regular consumption of quinoa seeds regulates the blood pressure and the overall functioning of the heart.
2. Reduces LDL Cholesterol Levels
Research has shown that regular consumption of quinoa can reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the body. It reduces the LDL cholesterol by almost 5.7 percent in a span of four weeks and considerably increases HDL (good cholesterol) in the body, a research article published by the NCBI revealed.
3. Muscle Building
The next time you are on a protein diet, you may want to include quinoa in your meals. One serving of 100 gms of quinoa seeds contain approximately 14 gms of protein, research has shown. It is gluten free and contains vital minerals and vitamins that are essential for muscle formation. Hence quinoa is a perfect food for people who focus on bodybuilding and muscle development.
4. Reduces Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association has recognised quinoa as a superfood that is effective in reducing diabetes. According to an article published by the diabetes.org, quinoa and other whole grains are a rich sources of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, folate, chromium and other essential minerals which aid in the prevention of diabetes.
5. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Quinoa has many essential compounds, some of which are elusive in other foods. Saponins, a compound present in quinoa is beneficial in reducing inflammation of muscles and joints, research suggests. An article published by the Institute of Food Technologists revealed that saponins in quinoa demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties as they suppress the release of cytokines.
6. Rich In Iron And Lysine
Quinoa seeds are loaded with iron and lysine. Iron is important for the regulation of body temperature, synthesis of neurotransmitters, oxygen intake by the RBCs and regulation of metabolic rate among other things. Quinoa seeds also contain the elusive compound called lysine which helps in the tissue growth and also repairs damaged cells.
7. Good For Celiac Patients
Many studies have been conducted on the effect of quinoa intake on Celiac patients. A research article published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that Gluten Free Diet (GFD) was well tolerated by Celiac patients. The patients showed improved serological and histological parameters.
8. Quinoa Relieves Constipation
Quinoa is rich in dietary fibre. The seeds contain more fibre than most other whole grains. Most dietary fibre present in quinoa is easily digestible but some passes through the bowel undigested. Being such a rich source of fibre, quinoa aids bowel movements, keeps the gastrointestinal tract healthy and relieves the problem of constipation.
9. Antioxidant Properties
A research article published by the Wiley Online Library revealed that quinoa is effective in preventing oxidative chain reactions and scavenging free radicals because of the antioxidants present in the seeds. Quinoa can prevent the damage caused by free radicals that damage cells and alter DNA sequencing.
10. Boosts Immunity
Quinoa has high contents of magnesium and Vitamin B12. B12 is essential in improving the metabolic rate of the brain cells and muscles. Magnesium helps in alleviating pain in conditions like migraines as it relaxes the blood vessels. Quinoa also boosts the basal metabolic rate of the body and improves immunity.
Nutritional Value Of Quinoa
Nutritional value contained in 100 gms of Quinoa
|Dietary Fiber||7.0 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||1 µg|
|Thiamine B1||0.36 mg|
|Riboflavin B2||0.32 mg|
|Niacin B3||1.52 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.49 mg|
|Folate B9||184 µg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg|
|Vitamin E||2.4 mg|
Risks Or Precautions When Consuming Quinoa
- According to the horticulture department of Purdue University, too much consumption of quinoa can lead to stomach irritation and can cause damage to the small intestine.
- Not much research has been done on the effects of quinoa consumption on pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. So, quinoa should be consumed sparingly at the gestation and breastfeeding stages.
- Since quinoa is rich in dietary fibre, it should be consumed in moderation. Excessive consumption of quinoa can lead to frequent bowel movements, stomach cramps and upset stomach.
- Quinoa reduces the triglyceride levels in the body. If one is already on medication for lowering triglyceride levels, then they must consult their physician first before incorporating quinoa in their diet plan.
How To Consume Quinoa
Quinoa is a super grain that has many health benefits. Quinoa should be included in everyday diet as its essential nutrients provide multifarious health benefits. Quinoa has a bitter coating on its shell to discourage birds from consuming the seeds. The coating is already removed in packaged quinoa but double check to be sure. Listed below are a few ways in which one can incorporate quinoa in every day meals:
Soak a cup of quinoa seeds in 2 cups lukewarm water (ratio 1:2). Drain the water and rinse thoroughly. Boil 2 cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan and add the rinsed quinoa seeds. Cover the lid and cook till quinoa is tender and the water has evaporated. Fluff the grains with a fork or ladle and serve as a side dish with stir fried veggies.
Quinoa Apple Pudding:
Rinse a cup of quinoa seeds in 2 cups of water thoroughly. Peel and finely dice some granny smith apples and keep aside. Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add a tablespoon of butter. Add the apples and sauté for a few minutes before adding the rinsed quinoa seeds. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover the lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Once the water has evaporated, add a tablespoon of cinnamon to the dish and serve. Add half a cup of almond milk and serve with honey drizzle and desiccated coconut.
Some Fun Facts About Quinoa
- Quinoa seeds are coated with a bitter compound to deter birds and other small animals from eating it. Hence quinoa needs to be thoroughly washed before consumption. Packaged quinoa is already washed and packed which saves time and energy.
- Quinoa is touted as a powerhouse packed with protein. It contains nine vital amino acids which the body cannot produce on its own and must absorb from food.
- Technically speaking, quinoa is not a grain at all. It is a seed that belongs to the same family as spinach and beets.
- Quinoa also has a high content of magnesium. A serving of a bowl of quinoa can fulfil the daily requirement of 29% of the daily intake of magnesium requirement of the body.
Quinoa has a plethora of health benefits and has been used as a food since millennia now. To the Incas, quinoa was as precious as gold. Quinoa can boost immunity and provide instant energy. It is gluten free and hence is light on the intestines. It can aid in the prevention of CVDs, regulate blood pressure, control diabetes and relieve constipation. Quinoa also works wonders for the skin and hair. With so many health benefits, it is only too justified to add a bowl of this super grain to one’s everyday diet without any hesitation.