Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has been grown for thousands of years in the Andes mountains in South America. It was a very important part of the Incan diet and it is still sometimes referred to as “the gold of the Incas.” It is often thought of as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a leafy green plant called Chenopodium (also known as goosefoot), which is related to Swiss chard and spinach.
Quinoa has a structure similar to wheat or rice. Like grains, it can be eaten whole or ground into floor to make bread, cereal, or pasta. But unlike a lot of grains, it is not stripped of it’s bran and germ when it is processed as a food source.
Here are the many powerful health benefits of quinoa:
Contains all nine essential amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that the body needs to form protein, but it can only manufacture 11 of these. The other nine, which are called essential amino acids, must come from food. Quinoa and soy are the only plant-based foods that contains all nine essential amino acids.
Digests slowly. Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate that digests slowly and will not cause blood sugar levels and insulin levels to spike. It’s also an excellent source of energy.
Is high in fiber. One cup of cooked quinoa contains five grams of fiber. Fiber helps keep your colon and arteries clean and healthy.
Induces satiety. The protein and fiber in quinoa induce satiety, which is a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Is high in vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is higher in calcium, B vitamins, vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than most grains.
Contains phytonutrients. Quinoa contains phytonutrients (also known as phytochemicals), which are chemical compounds that help reduce the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Acts as a prebiotic. Quinoa acts as a prebiotic that feeds the microflora (good bacteria) in your intestines.
Is gluten free. Quinoa is gluten free and safe for those with gluten intolerance.
Quinoa is increasing in popularity, but you still won’t find it in many grocery stores. Look for it in more progressive grocery stores and in health food stores. You can also buy it online.
Jim Plummer is a longtime health and fitness enthusiast. His website, http://www.functional-fitness-facts.com, contains information, advice, and resources that will help you get more fit and healthy. Visit his website and pick up your free fat loss report.