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Quinoa Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Oct 13, 2018
Quinoa, is a grain-like seed that is considered to be a very healthy food source. You can learn more about quinoa nutritional facts by going through the following write-up.
Quinoa (pronounced as Keen-wa according to the Merrian-Webster Dictionary) is always thought as a type of grain. The truth is contrary to this general belief, as quinoa is not a grain but seeds of a leafy plant related to spinach! It is considered to be a pseudocereal or pseudograin.
It is not a true grain or true cereal. Quinoa is an organic food grown in the Andes mountains of Ecuador. It is a small, round, yellow grain that can be cooked in 12 minutes. It has a crunchy, light, fluffy texture with a slight nutty flavor after cooking. It was called 'the gold of the Incas'.
This fact helped them learn that consumption of this grain-like seed, increased the stamina of their warriors. They called it 'chisaya mama' that is, 'mother of all grains'. Their soldiers walked on for days, on a diet of quinoa.

Nutritional Facts About Quinoa

Quinoa is high in protein and includes all the nine essential amino acids supplements. It is the choice of grains for vegans, as it helps them take in the adequate amount of proteins, required for a healthy diet.
It has lysine, an amino acid that is very important for the growth of tissues and repair mechanism. It is an excellent source of magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous and even manganese. It has a highly fibrous and keeps the stomach full for a long time. Thus, it is ideal for people watching their weight and need to keep up adequate blood sugar levels.
According to the USDA nutrient database, one cup of cooked quinoa has a lot of nutrients. Here is the nutrional content of 1 cup(185g) of quinoa - 

Protein - 222 kcal
Fat - 3.55 g
Carbohydrates - 39.40 g
Protein - 8.14 g
Calcium - 31 mg
Iron - 2.76 mg
Magnesium - 118 mg
Phosphorous -  281 mg
Potassium - 318 mg
Sodium - 13 mg
Thiamin - 0.198 mg
Riboflavin - 0.204 mg
Vitamin B6 - 0.228 mg
Niacin - 0.762 mg
Vitamin E - 1.17 mg

Health Benefits of Quinoa

There are a number of health benefits related to quinoa. It has a nutty flavor and can be used in various forms. 

● High level of protein content in this grain makes it perfect for growth and repair of the body tissues. It has a higher protein content than many other major grains like wheat, barley, etc.
● Diabetic people can use quinoa as an excellent option in place of rice. As it is high in fiber, it slows down the digestion of carbohydrates which keeps sugar level in control. Magnesium content in this grain helps in the metabolic process which also helps in regulating blood sugar.
● It is a good source of magnesium, that helps in relaxing the blood vessels and preventing the constriction and dilation, observed in a migraine attack.
● It also has riboflavin (vitamin B2) that is very important for producing energy within the cells. Vitamin B2 has been known to improve the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells, thus reducing the frequency of migraines.
● Quinoa is an excellent choice for people suffering from hypertension, ischemic heart disease and cardiac arrhythmia and helps in improving the cardiovascular health. A study conducted with post menopausal women with heart diseases, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. helped prove this point.
These women were to eat 6 servings of whole grains like quinoa every week. After the study period, these women showed low incidence of related cardiovascular diseases.
● Quinoa has manganese and copper, that are the co-factors for super oxide dismutase enzyme. This enzyme helps protect the cells from damage by free radicals.

● A study has also shown that foods containing high insoluble fiber like quinoa helped avoid the occurrences of gallstones in women.

Quinoa For Weight Loss

It is a great source of magnesium. One serving fulfills 48% of body's magnesium need. It is rich in iron, phosphorous, tryptophan. It has calcium, proteins and is a great substitute for meat products.
Quinoa is easy to digest as it is gluten free. Thus, those who are dieting and have to refrain from certain foods can eat quinoa. It is low in cholesterol and rich in fibers. It will suffice their daily need of essential nutrients and minerals as well as help maintain a healthy diet. Thus, recommended for people interested in shedding a few extra kilos.

Sprouted Quinoa

During the early days, cooked sprouted quinoa was ground to a paste and used as a healing lotion for wounds. It was also used to treat motion sickness, appendicitis and for nursing mothers. Poultice of quinoa flour was applied to mend broken bones.
Sprouted quinoa is a rich source of dietary fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. It also contains vitamin B6, niacin and thiamine. It has lysine for building proteins in the body, great for the heart with its low-fat content and a source of complex carbohydrates.

Red Quinoa

Red quinoa is a rare grain, which is grown on small plots at a height of 12,000 feet on the Andean Plateau in Bolivia. It is used for preparing soups, salads, burgers, stuffing, porridges, breads, muffins, etc.

Red Quinoa Breads

Quinoa Chocolate Cookies

This is a 'super-grain' that is great for people watching their weight, heart health as well as other dietary needs. Replace this grain for white rice and enjoy its benefits. It will provide your body with a lot of protein and fulfill about 25% of daily iron requirement. Either pre-soak it and have the sprouted seeds or explore different ways to cook it.