Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods.
Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids.
It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
These are the 11 health benefits of quinoa:
1. Very nutritious
These days, you can find quinoa and products made with it all over the world, especially in health food stores and restaurants that emphasize natural foods.
There are three main types: white, red and black.
This is what they look like:
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Fiber: 5 grams.
- Manganese: 58% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
- Folate: 19% of the RDA.
- Copper: 18% of the RDA.
- Iron: 15% of the RDA.
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
- Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
- Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E.
Quinoa is non-GMO, gluten-free and usually grown organically. Even though technically not a grain, it still counts as a whole grain food.
2. Contains the plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol
The health effects of real foods go way beyond the vitamins and minerals we’re all familiar with.
There are thousands of trace nutrients in there, some of which are extremely healthy.
This includes interesting molecules called flavonoids, which are plant antioxidants that have been shown to have all sorts of beneficial effects on health.
Two flavonoids that have been particularly well studied are quercetin and kaempferol, and they happen to be found in large amounts in quinoa
These important molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects.
By including quinoa in your diet, you will significantly increase your total intake of these (and other) important nutrients.
3. Very high in fiber, much higher than most grains
Another important benefit of quinoa is that it is high in fiber, a range of between 10 and 16 grams of fiber, per every 100 grams.
This equals 17-27 grams per cup, which is very high, more than twice as high as most grains, however boiled quinoa contains much less fiber, gram for gram, because it absorbs so much water.
Soluble fiber can help reduce blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, increase fullness and help with weight loss .
4. Gluten-free and perfect for people with gluten intolerance
A gluten-free diet can be healthy, as long as it is based on foods that are naturally gluten free.
The problems arise when people eat “gluten free” foods made with refined starches instead.
These foods are no better than their gluten-containing counterparts, because gluten free junk food is still junk food.
5. Very high in protein, with all the essential amino acids
Protein is made out of amino acids. Some of them are termed “essential” because we can not produce them and need to get them from the diet.
If a food contains all the essential amino acids, it is seen as a “complete” protein.
The problem is that many plant foods are deficient in certain essential amino acids.
However, quinoa is an exception to this, because it contains all the essential amino acids. For this reason, it is an excellent source of protein.
With 8 grams of quality protein per cup, quinoa is an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
6. Has a low glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar control
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels.
It is known that eating foods that are high on the glycemic index can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity.
Such foods have also been linked to many of the chronic diseases that are so common today, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is considered low.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that it is still pretty high in carbs, so it is not a good choice for a low-carb diet.
7. High in important minerals like iron and magnesium
There are many nutrients in the modern diet that people tend to be lacking in.
This is particularly true of some minerals, especially magnesium, potassium, zinc and (for women) iron.
Interestingly, quinoa is very high in all 4 minerals. It is particularly high in magnesium, with one cup having about 30% of the RDA.
8. Has beneficial effects on metabolic health
Given the high amount of beneficial nutrients, it makes sense that quinoa could lead to improvements in metabolic health.
Using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free breads and pastas significantly reduces blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels.
9. Very high in antioxidants
Quinoa also happens to be very high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals and are believed to help fight aging and many diseases.
10. May help you lose weight
In order to lose weight, we need to take in fewer calories than we burn.
It is known that certain properties of foods can facilitate this process, either by boosting metabolism (increasing calories out) or reducing appetite (lowering calories in).
Interestingly, quinoa has several such properties.
It is high in protein, which can both increase metabolism and reduce appetite significantly.
The high amount of fiber should also help to increase feelings of fullness, making you eat fewer calories overall.
11. Easy to incorporate into the diet
The last one is not a health benefit, but still incredibly important.
It is the fact that quinoa is very easy to incorporate into your diet.
It is also tasty and goes well with many foods.
You can buy quinoa in most health food stores and many supermarkets.
It can be ready to eat in as little as 15-20 minutes and there are dozens of delicious ways to use quinoa.
Why you should try quinoa
At the end of the day, quinoa is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet. That is a fact.
Source: Authority nutrition