The Health Benefits of Eating Quinoa

7 Reasons to Love the Miracle Grain of the Andes

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa, grown in South America is an ancient superfood grain. Actually, it's not a grain at all. Rather, it's a vegetable seed! … And botanically it belongs to the beet and spinach family.

The best part about quinoa is that it’s highly versatile, delicious, low in fat, and 100% gluten-free. It’s also high in protein which is good news if you’re a vegetarian, or just want to eat less animal protein. Today I’m going to share more health benefits of eating quinoa and one of my staple recipes, Toasted Quinoa with Vegetables so you can give your diet a healthy, exciting makeover.

What Does Quinoa Taste Like?

The taste of quinoa is slightly nutty with a delicate texture.

Where Does Quinoa Grow?

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. For millennia it was a staple food for the Inca's, one of the most powerful civilizations on the American content. They considered it a sacred crop and called it “the mother of all grains” or chisaya mama

The Health Benefits of Eating Quinoa

1. Essential Amino Acids in Quinoa

Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. What's interesting is that a study showed that deficiency of essential amino acids can lead to nervousness, exhaustion, and dizziness. But thankfully even a moderate consumption of Quinoa can help avoid such symptoms.

2. Quinoa is Anti-Inflammatory

Quinoa has a unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients, including flavonoids, polysaccharides, phenolic acids and vitamin E nutrients. 

3. Quinoa is Gluten Free

It is high in protein and free of gluten which is perfect if you suffer from the autoimmune disease called Celiac disease. Usually, if you have Celiac’s disease there’s a good chance your doctor has instructed you to maintain a gluten-free diet.
While scientists are yet to prove whether oats are a gluten-free food, it is safe to say that Quinoa is easy to digest and free of gluten. Because of this Quinoa is being considered a possible food for long-term human space flights by NASA.

4. Quinoa is a SuperFood

The nutrient composition of Quinoa has earned the title of being called a “superfood.”

Nutritional evaluations indicate that quinoa is a source of complete protein. That is to say, it contains all 9 essential amino acids required in a human diet in correct proportions.

Other similar pseudo grains derived from seeds are similar in protein levels. For example, buckwheat is 18% protein compared to 14% for Quinoa; Amaranth, a related species to Quinoa, ranges from 12 to 17.5%.

5. Quinoa Is High In Protein

Quinoa is high in protein. In fact, it’s a complete protein meaning it supplies all 9 of the essential amino acids, which is important for immune system health. It's higher in protein than barley, brown rice, potatoes, and millet, but is less than oats and wild rice. And if you compare it to wheat, quinoa is higher monounsaturated fat (in the form of oleic acid) which is good for your heart.

6. Quinoa Is High In Fiber

Quinoa grain is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus. Additionally, it is high in iron and magnesium.

7. Vegan-Friendly and Good For Those Who Are Lactose Intolerant

It is also a source of calcium, so it is a beneficial food for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

How to Eat Quinoa

You can germinate Quinoa in its raw form to increase its nutritional value. Just make sure to rinse the grains to remove any saponin that contains an unpalatable bitterness first. Prepare it the same way as rice for use in a wide range of dishes.
The good news is whether you steam or boil Quinoa, it does not appear to jeopardize the quality of quinoa's fatty acids. For the most part, This allows you to enjoy its texture and flavor while still maintaining this nutrient benefit.
Much like amaranth, you can eat the leaves of the plant… But still, the commercial availability of quinoa greens is limited. Yet, it is delicious in salads, soups, and my favorite… with roasted vegetables.

Toasted Quinoa With Roasted Vegetables

health benefits of eating quinoaQuinoa contains more protein than any other grain. Here's a recipe with grilled vegetables that requires very little oil. The roasted garlic gives it an excellent flavor.

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  • 1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
  • 6 medium sized broccoli florets
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Use a fine strainer to rinse off the bitter skin of the quinoa seed.
  2. Add 1 Cup of water to 1/2 Cup of quinoa.
  3. Cover and turn heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the cooked quinoa again through the strainer

5. Marinate broccoli florets for 30 minutes with olive oil and salt to make them tender.

the health benefits of eating quinoa

6. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F for 5 minutes

7.  Place the broccoli florets on a baking tray.

the health benefits of eating quinoa

8. Place the tray in the oven at 350 F for 5 minutes

9. Place the rest of the veggies in the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes

10. Mix broccoli florets with quinoa with garlic, tomatoes, red pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and salt/pepper.


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Written by Jackie Parker

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