Quinoa: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, and Dietary Tips
September 23, 2022
Quinoa is a nutritious grain that is quickly becoming a staple in kitchens around the world. With its high protein and fiber content, and its gluten-free and vegan-friendly status, quinoa is an excellent choice for those looking to improve their overall health and wellness.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of quinoa, including its nutrition facts and dietary tips. We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to cook quinoa perfectly every time, as well as tips for incorporating quinoa into your diet.
Whether you’re looking to try quinoa for the first time or you’re already a fan, this article is packed with valuable information and inspiration to help you get the most out of this nutritious grain.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a seed that is commonly used as a grain in cooking. It is considered a superfood due to its high nutritional value, including a wealth of protein, fiber, and essential minerals. Quinoa is also gluten-free, making it an excellent alternative for those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Nutrition Facts about Quinoa
If quinoa makes so many people happy, it is partly thanks to all the good things it contains. It’s simple: in addition to being very healthy, it is one of the most nutritious plants in the world.
So, what are the nutritional values that we talk about so much?
It is an excellent source of protein
If quinoa is so popular with vegetarians, it’s mainly because of its protein. Not only is it very rich in protein, with a content of about 13 grams per 100 grams, but it also contains all the essential amino acids, which is very rarely the case in foods of plant origin.
However, as their name suggests, these amino acids are necessary for the proper functioning of our body. The problem is that it can’t produce them on its own, so it needs food to get its necessary dose.
This makes quinoa a very good alternative to meat and fish, which also contain all the essential amino acids.
But that’s not all. The proteins present in quinoa would be more easily assimilated by the body than those contained in the majority of legumes. In short, when it comes to protein, quinoa is a no-brainer!
It is high in fiber
With between 10 and 16 grams of fiber per 100 grams, quinoa contains much more than most cereals. For comparison, rice contains less than 2 grams!
However, there is a downside because, although it contains both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber, the latter is present in a minority of quinoa. However, they are the ones that provide most of the fiber-related benefits.
It has a high mineral content
Quinoa is particularly rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
However, it is important to note that it also contains phytic acid, a substance that can reduce the absorption of minerals by the body. Fortunately, it is possible to get rid of a lot of this acid when cooking quinoa. To do this, simply soak it in water before cooking.
Also, if you consume quinoa for the iron it contains, consider eating it alongside foods that contain vitamin C, such as peppers, cabbage, and citrus fruits.
You can either mix them with quinoa or eat them separately, but always within an hour before or after your consumption of quinoa.
It does not contain gluten
Quinoa is a great alternative to wheat and other cereals for people who are gluten intolerant.
This is all the more true since quinoa is not only found in the form of seeds. Indeed, it is also sold in flour, to replace conventional flour in all your preparations, as well as in the form of flakes, to eat for breakfast instead of cereals.
Besides all this, quinoa is rich in vitamins, especially those of group B, and antioxidants. Finally, it has a low glycemic index, which increases the feeling of satiety and helps prevent diabetes.
Nutritional Value of Quinoa
One of the most notable benefits of quinoa is its impressive nutritional profile. In just one cup of cooked quinoa, you can get:
8 grams of protein
5 grams of fiber
30% of your daily recommended value of magnesium
15% of your daily recommended value of phosphorus
10% of your daily recommended value of folate
Quinoa also contains small amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, potassium, and B vitamins.
What are the health benefits of quinoa?
Thanks to all these nutritional values, there are many reasons why consuming quinoa is good for your health. Here are some of its benefits.
Quinoa helps in weight loss
Quinoa can be a perfect slimming ally for several reasons.
On the one hand, thanks to the proteins and fibers it contains, it promotes a feeling of satiety and therefore helps to fight cravings and avoid eating too much.
On the other hand, it has a low glycemic index and, again thanks to its richness in protein, it helps the body burn more calories.
Quinoa improves digestion
Thanks to the fibers it contains, quinoa helps to fight against digestive disorders. Indeed, fibers have a positive effect on intestinal transit, which helps to regulate it. Thus, it helps to avoid constipation and bloating, among others.
Quinoa fights diseases and aging
Quinoa has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that help strengthen our immune defenses. In addition, thanks to its richness in antioxidants, it helps neutralize free radicals, which allows it to fight certain diseases also to fight against aging. Indeed, free radicals, which come from poor diet and pollution, among other things, are the cause of premature aging of the body.
Quinoa fights bad cholesterol
The soluble fibers it contains prevent the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine, which helps reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. It also has a beneficial effect on blood pressure and the cardiovascular diseases that can result from it.
Quinoa soothes migraines
The magnesium it contains promotes the relaxation of blood vessels. However, this is often what is at the root of migraines.
Quinoa prevents aging of the skin and makes it more beautiful
Quinoa also has many positive effects on the skin.
By fighting against free radicals, the antioxidants it contains help prevent the breakdown of skin cells and skin aging. In addition, the iron and vitamin B2 present in quinoa help increase the elasticity of the skin and, thus, prevent the formation of wrinkles.
Besides that, quinoa also helps fight acne, reducing sebum production and cleansing the skin of impurities. Finally, it helps to repair damaged tissue, for example following acne or an injury.
How to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa is a versatile and nutritious grain that is easy to cook and can be used in a variety of dishes. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to cook quinoa perfectly every time.
Rinse the quinoa: It is important to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove any bitter compounds that may be present on the surface of the seeds. Simply place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under running water for about a minute.
Measure the quinoa and water: For every cup of quinoa, use two cups of water. Add the quinoa and water to a medium-sized saucepan.
Add salt: For flavor, add a pinch of salt to the saucepan.
Bring to a boil: Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan with a lid.
Simmer: Let the quinoa simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Do not lift the lid during cooking, as this can cause the quinoa to become dry and overcooked.
Fluff with a fork: Once the quinoa is fully cooked, remove it from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, use a fork to fluff the quinoa and separate the grains.
Serve: The quinoa is now ready to be served as a side dish or used as a base for salads, soups, stews, and more.
Dietary Tips for Incorporating Quinoa into Your Diet
Quinoa is a nutritious and versatile grain that can be easily incorporated into your diet. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Use quinoa as a base for salads: Quinoa makes a great base for salads and can be combined with a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and cheese. Simply cook the quinoa, let it cool, and add it to your salad for a nutritious boost.
Replace rice with quinoa in stir-fries and casseroles: Quinoa can be used as a healthy alternative to rice in stir-fries and casseroles. Simply cook the quinoa according to the instructions above and use it as you would use rice.
Add quinoa to soups and stews: Quinoa can be added to soups and stews to increase their protein and fiber content. Simply cook the quinoa and add it to your soup or stew during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Use quinoa as a gluten-free alternative in baked goods: Quinoa flour can be used as a gluten-free alternative in baked goods, such as cakes, breads, and muffins. Simply replace a portion of the wheat flour in your recipe with quinoa flour.
Make quinoa bowls: Quinoa bowls are a delicious and nutritious meal that can be easily customized to suit your preferences. Simply cook the quinoa, add your favorite veggies, protein, and sauce, and enjoy.
Quinoa is a nutritious and versatile food that offers a variety of health benefits. As a naturally gluten-free grain, it is a great alternative for those with gluten sensitivities. It is high in protein, and essential nutrients, and low in carbohydrates, making it a great addition to any diet.
Whether you use it as a substitute for rice or pasta, add it to soups and stews, or mix it with other grains, quinoa is a delicious and easy food to incorporate into your meals. With its numerous health benefits and versatility in cooking, it is no wonder why quinoa has become a staple food in many cultures.
So, add quinoa to your grocery list and enjoy its many benefits today!