Quinoa is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. Often considered a grain, quinoa is actually a plant grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds. These seeds are packed with fiber and various vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is also a complete protein; it has all the nine essential amino acids in it. Nutritionally, it resembles milk protein and is a pseudo cereal used in the same manner as wheat and rice.
Rice or Quinoa?
While rice has been a staple in the Indian diet for centuries and is loved by many cuisines. However, rice does not provide the best nutritional report and quinoa is now gaining immense popularity. White rice has a high glycemic index, meaning it can make your blood sugar levels shoot up quickly. In comparison, quinoa is filled with fiber and protein and has a low glycemic index. This will not only keep you full for longer but also keeps you feeling energized hours after your meal. Having a similar texture to rice, quinoa has been noted to be a ‘superfood’ due to its high nutritional density. One thing both white rice and quinoa have in common is that they are both naturally gluten free. Even if you don’t suffer from celiac disease or a mild intolerance to gluten, reducing the amount of gluten you eat is beneficial for your gut.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
- Gluten Free- Gluten intolerance is rising and people are trying to find alternatives to gluten filled food. Quinoa is naturally grain free and a great bet for all the gluten free lovers!
- Anti-Inflammatory- Studies and scientists are still trying to find the causes of chronic inflammation in the body, often having difficulty pointing it to just one thing. In reality, inflammation is caused by a multitude of things and often goes undetected. This is the reason it’s so important to be constantly fueling your system with anti-inflammatory foods. Quinoa helps promote healthy gut microbes, which prevents inflammation, obesity and disease.
- Lowers Cholesterol- Along with the rate of obesity increasing, so are the harmful levels of cholesterol. Research has shown that when obese people followed a diet which included quinoa, their cholesterol levels reduced dramatically.
- High in Minerals- Quinoa has shown to be high in iron. manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. It also contains selenium, calcium and potassium.
- High in Fiber- Cooked quinoa has a higher fiber content than rice. This automatically slows down digestion, thus resulting in a slow release of glucose into the bloodstream and keeps you full for longer.
Here are some fun ways to eat your quinoa:
- Make quinoa patties
- Make a breakfast porridge out of it
- Add it to Buddha bowls
- Add it to salads and soups
- Make quinoa pancakes (Yes! That’s a thing)
- Quinoa muffins