Today I’m going to tell you all about the health benefits of quinoa! Quinoa is pronounced ‘keen-wa’, not ‘kwin-oh-ah’. Don’t worry, I pronounced it wrong when I first heard of it too. So what is it? Well, it is often referred to as a grain but is technically a seed. It cooks just like rice and has a slight nutty taste. It was originally grown in South America and was a part of their staple diet for 5,000 years. The Inca called it the “mother seed” and since two Americans rediscovered quinoa in the 1980’s it has more recently been named the “Supergrain of the future”.
So, what are the health benefits of quinoa?
There is a reason why quinoa has blown up to be incredibly popular and that is because of the vast array of health benefits of quinoa.
- It is a complete protein with all nine of the essential amino acids our body needs. This makes quinoa a perfect, healthy alternative to animal-based proteins and is great for when you are trying to build muscle and tone up.
- It has almost twice as much fiber as other grains, which help you feel fuller for longer as well as keeping you erm, regular.
- It is high in riboflavin (B2) which helps to improve energy metabolism and reduce the frequency of migraines for sufferers.
- It contains iron which keeps our red blood cells healthy for supplying oxygen to our muscles.
- It contains lysine which is essential for tissue growth and repair.
- It is gluten free and low on the glycemic index.
- It has a high protein to carbohydrate ratio.
- It is rich in magnesium, which, together with the high protein and low carbohydrate content, works to regulate blood sugar levels. This can help prevent and manage diabetes as well as reducing cravings to help with weight loss.
How to eat and cook quinoa
You can eat and cook quinoa just like rice or other grains. I recommend toasting it in the saucepan first before adding water to release the nutty taste. The general rule is to add 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. Try using vegetable or chicken stock instead of water to give it added flavour. Quinoa expands to about 3 times its volume when cooked, so a little goes a long way!
Try sprinkling cooked quinoa in salads as a source of protein, use it in place of rice, or cook it with milk and add fruits as a breakfast alternative to porridge. You can also make quinoa pudding, or grind it and use as a gluten-free flour in baking recipes. You can even use it in a chocolate cake recipe. Quinoa is quite versatile and something that I personally love to eat.
Have you tried quinoa before? What is your favourite way of eating it? Let me know any quinoa recipes in the comments down below.