- Quinoa can be used as a whole grain or ground into flour.
- Quinoa is a rich source of fiber.
What is quinoa?
This is the right time to learn about this nutrient-rich grain, for 2013 has been declared as the International Year of Quinoa by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This pseudograin, related to beets and tumbleweed, has been chosen as the food of the year because of its very high nutritive value and biodiversity. It is expected that this food may play an important role in achieving food security all over the world. This whole grain is the staple food of the people living in high Andes and is fast becoming popular in U.S and other countries.
Whether used as a whole grain or ground into flour, this grain retains its nutrient richness. Unlike many other grains, quinoa has a complete protein composition providing all nine essential amino acids. Thus it is also complete protein source. It is also a very good source of healthy fats, particularly heart-healthy monosaturated fatty acids. To add to the innumerable benefits, this grain is abundant in gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, folate, copper and phosphorous. It provides a good amount of calcium, the much needed mineral. Phytonutrient properties are also impressive in quinoa and this grain provides a number of antioxidants like vanillic acid, hydroxybenzoic acid and ferulic acid. Thus, when compared to many other grains normally used by us, nourishment obtained from quinoa is much better.
Talking of the health benefits, including quinoa in the daily diet is reported to lower inflammation levels in fat tissues. It is a rich source of fiber, and consumption of quinoa would help in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Studies report that quinoa has the ability to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol while maintaining the levels of good, HDL cholesterol. Diets rich in this grain is expected to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Moreover, this grain can be the ideal substitute for wheat in gluten allergy. This grain has a low allergy potential and high digestibility.
This grain should ideally be cooked before eating as the raw grain might give a weird taste. It can be cooked directly or dry roasted before cooking in water. Quinoa flour can be mixed with others while preparing bread, muffins and other products, and add to the nutritive value. Cooked quinoa with nuts and fruits can make a good breakfast. Use noodles made of quinoa or add it to your favorite vegetable soup. Sprouted form of the grain is equally delicious and nutritious. Ready to try this ‘superfood’?