A lot of health-conscious folks rejoiced when quinoa became the new trendy health food as they now have a healthier substitute to rice, bread, potatoes, or pasta. Quinoa is filling, highly affordable, and packed with lots of great nutrients, so while it isn’t necessarily low in carbs, they’re still awesome source of nourishment.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced as keen-wah), is often mistaken as a grain but in reality, it is actually a pseudocereal and chenopod. This makes it similar to buckwheat in some aspects, as well as beetroots and spinach, albeit distantly. It was originally grown in the Andean regions of some Southern American countries and cultivated for its edible seeds, although its leaves can also be eaten.
7 Reasons to Eat Quinoa
As mentioned earlier, quinoa is packed with lots of the good stuff, making it a popular health food as of late. But why should you incorporate it to your diet? Here are some good science-approved answers.
- Rich in Nutrients
For a seed, quinoa is brimming with nutrients. Here’s a list of what you can get in a single serving of this health food with how it fills your daily nutritional needs:
- Zinc (13%)
- Phosphorous (28%)
- Iron (15%)
- Magnesium (30%)
- Manganese (58%)
- Calcium (3%)
- Vitamin B6 (11%)
- Folate (19%)
- Riboflavin (12%)
- Thiamin (13%)
- Vitamin E (6%)
- Dietary fiber (21%)
- Protein (16%)
- Packed with Fiber
As noted earlier, quinoa is rich in fiber. It can provide 21% of your recommended dietary allowance, which is already a great contribution in meeting your daily needs. Due to this, you can enjoy the many benefits of having ample amounts of fiber in your system such as the following:
- A fiber rich diet can also help you keep your digestive track in great shape. Quinoa assists in preventing diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Consuming at least 7 grams of fiber on a daily basis can lessen your odds of having a stroke. Quinoa has 5.2 g of fiber in every serving, so you only need to add a bit more to diminish your stroke risk.
- Prevents constipation and normalizes bowel movements. Excreting bodily waste can be done without fuss with this high-fiber diet inclusion.
- Ideal for People with Gluten Intolerance
Gluten is widely found in many staple foods today, making it necessary for those who have gluten intolerance to find alternatives to gluten-loaded foodstuffs.
As quinoa is a seed and not a grain, it is one of the most popular gluten-free options for those with Celiac disease and others with gluten issues. This allows patients who can’t process gluten have a major source of energy without having to risk their health.
- Can Help in Managing Diabetes
Diabetics have some of the most particular diets, as they are in constant watch of their blood sugar. This means they can’t even gorge on fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods as these food items can also contain high amounts of natural sugar.
However, quinoa is deemed as a healthy option for diabetics because:
- As it is also rich in fiber and contains all the amino acids to make a protein, it is also effective in keeping blood sugar levels in check.
- Quinoa is also low on the list of the glycemic index, which means it won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar, like other food items.
- It is rich in magnesium. Every serving contains 118g of this nutrient, which can help keep your body’s magnesium levels at an optimum, therefore improving insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation.
- Ideal for Folks who are Trying to Lose Weight
While quinoa isn’t a low-carb and low-calorie food, it is still a great diet food for these reasons:
- Although, it does have 222 calories in one serving, it’s still a lot less than other carbohydrates.
- Being low in the glycemic index, quinoa will also keep your blood from spiking and eventually crashing, which is the common cause for craving sugars and simple carbohydrates. This will help you avoid eating sweets and starchy food that are easily stored by the body as fat.
- It is largely satisfying. Most diets fail because people still crave for other foods, which is basically how the body signals the brain that it needs certain nutrients. As quinoa is packed with nutrients like fiber and protein, you get to feel fuller, which will satiate you.
- Great Source of Protein
As mentioned earlier, quinoa is also rich in proteins. In fact, it is one of the rare plant foods that contain all nine amino acids to make a protein, making it an excellent source of this nutrient. It actually contains 8 grams of protein per cup, which is a lot more and of better quality than what other grains can offer. But why should it matter if quinoa has a lot of proteins in it? Here are some answers:
- Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body cannot store proteins, so you’ll need to consume a good amount of it on a regular basis to keep supplying your body of this macronutrient. Incorporating quinoa in your diet can get that job done easily.
- Proteins are essential building blocks of bones, hair, nails, skin, muscles, and blood, so you need to get a lot of it.
- This makes quinoa a great source of proteins for vegans and vegetarians. As most folks rely on meat to get their daily protein requirement, quinoa’s high protein content makes it an excellent alternative for these conscious eaters.
- Very Tasty and Easy to Introduce to Your Diet
This isn’t exactly a health benefit, but you should also know that quinoa is very tasty, with its lightly nutty flavor. Adding it into your diet can also be a breeze, as it is very versatile and can substitute a wide range of food items.
How to Enjoy Quinoa
So, how do you eat quinoa? You can eat it as is, since it already has its own flavor that’s easy to fall in love with. You can also use it as a stuffing to vegetables or as a substitute to other grains. Quinoa is also great for breakfast, drizzled with some maple syrup or topped with a fried egg. There are tons of ways how you can prepare it without breaking a sweat, so rest assured that quinoa won’t cause much of a hassle should you decide to add it on your diet.