It’s one thing to be told that a food is good for you. But it’s another to actually understand why it’s good for you and why you should be incorporating it into your diet. Quinoa has gotten a great deal of attention in the past few years, often being labeled as a “super food.” But what makes quinoa so good for you?
Pronounced keen-wah, quinoa is an ancient grain, which means that it has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, so it can be consumed by individuals who may have issues digesting other grains. There are also numerous health benefits to consuming quinoa.
- Quinoa is very rich in protein. In fact, it is one of the most protein-rich foods we can consume. It is also a complete protein, which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids.
- Quinoa contains close to twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is important for gastrointestinal function and can help relieve constipation. Foods that contain more fiber also make you feel fuller for longer, leading you to consume less food.
- Quinoa is a good source of iron. Our bodies need iron to ensure our red blood cells stay healthy and to produce hemoglobin. Iron also carries oxygen from one cell to another and it supplies oxygen to your muscles to aid in their contraction.
- Quinoa contains lysine, which is important for tissue repair and growth.
- Quinoa is rich in magnesium. I previously wrote about the important role magnesium serves in the body. Many adults are deficient in magnesium, so it is important to add magnesium-rich foods into your diet.
- Quinoa is high in riboflavin (B2), which improves energy metabolism within muscle and brain cells. It also helps to create proper energy production in cells.
- Quinoa is high in the antioxidant manganese. Antioxidants are known to prevent damage to cells and red blood cells from free radicals.
As with any new food, it may be challenging to find ways to incorporate it into your meals. However, unlike other foods, it is quite simple to incorporate quinoa into your diet. You can easily use quinoa as a substitute to rice in any recipe. It is also a versatile ingredient and can be used as a breakfast grain or in hot dishes, cold salads, and even in burgers.
Preparing and cooking quinoa is also quite simple. Quinoa has a naturally occurring bitter coating called saponin that acts an insect repellent, eliminating the need for pesticides. The saponin can be easily removed by rinsing the quinoa prior to cooking it. And cooking quinoa is as simple as simmering it in water.