Quinoa : The Super Grain of The Future
Healthy Living

Quinoa : The Super Grain of The Future

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 5 Aug 2014 - 17:10.

Going the organic way, embracing the nature-fresh produce is the way to go. We have heard experts say before, "watch what you eat, pick the right food to keep yourself in good shape". What does that mean, food that has few calories and more nutritive value? Well, that’s exactly what the new grain called Quinoa, that nature has blessed us with. Quinoa is touted to be the super grain for its amazing nutritional benefits.

Originated in the Andes of South America, quinoa is not yet quite prevalent but is gaining popularity as a highly nutritious cereal. Known as the "supergrain of the future", it has a plethora of health benefits. It is a pseudo-cereal (a non-grassy plant used in much the same way as cereals and grains with a similar nutritional profile). The seeds of pseudo-cereals can be milled and ground into flour just as other grains and cereals. Quinoa is an excellent example of functional food that aims at lowering the risk of various diseases.

The minerals, vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants contribute to nutrition that helps in protecting cell membranes with proven good results in brain neuronal functions.

Nutritive value of Quinoa

Quinoa, Nutritional value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient Database)

Principle

Nutrient Value

%age of RDA

Energy

368 Kcal

18.5%

Carbohydrates

64.16 g

49%

Protein

14.12 g

35%

Total Fat

6.07 g

20%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

7 g

18.5%

Folates (B9)

184 µg

46%

Niacin (B3)

1.520 mg

9.5%

Riboflavin (B2)

0.318 mg

24%

Thiamin (B1)

0.360 mg

30%

Vitamin A

14 IU

0.5%

Vitamin E

2.44 mg

17%

Sodium

5 mg

<1%

Potassium

563 mg

12%

Calcium

47 mg

5%

Copper

0.590 mg

65.5%

Iron

4.57 mg

57%

Magnesium

197 mg

42%

Manganese

2.003 mg

87%

Phosphorus

457 mg

65%

Selenium

8.5 µg

15%

Zinc

3.10 mg

28%

Carotene-β

8 µg

--

Crypto-xanthin-β

1 µg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

163 µg

--

Health Benefits of Quinoa:

Quinoa is rich in antioxidants : Quinoa contains the antioxidant phytonutrients quercetin and kaempferol. Additionally, quinoa has a great deal of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients as well. This can promote tissue growth and repair as well as fight disease and infection. The antioxidants are highly active against microbial pathogens and can help prevent all sorts of infections and inflammations.

Complete amino acids: The body requires nine essential amino acids to build muscle and body tissue. Quinoa is one of the few foods that contain all nine,making it a truly protein-rich food. Further it also contains lysine which is essential for tissue growth and repair which is not found in wheat or rice.  

Rich in protein: Unlike many other grains, quinoa has a large amount of protein per serving. Because quinoa is so rich in amino acids, it is a very good source of protein, particularly for vegetarians. One serving can have as much as 20 percent protein, about 50 percent protein, more than wheat and more than 2.45 times that of rice. Presence of all nine amino acids makes it a completely protein-rich food.

Gluten free : If you suffer from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, quinoa will be a part of your daily diet as, it is gluten-free. However, it’s unrelated to wheat, making it the perfect substitute for pasta, wheat flour, oatmeal, and so much more. You can grind, boil, bake, steam, and even fry quinoa. A new study, published by The American Journal of Gastroenterology, looked at the in vivo (in the living organism) effects of quinoa and found that celiac patients can not only tolerate but improve on a diet including quinoa.

High in fiber: Quinoa has double the fibre found in most grains, so it will help keep you regular. Quinoa is a source of insoluble and soluble fiber that contains roughage which can aid in digestion.  The insoluble fiber content in quinoa can help digestive disorders like diverticulosis or haemorrhoids.  Fiber has also been clinically shown to reduce cholesterol levels.

Benefits in diabetes: Quinoa is an outstanding addition to a diabetic diet. In a study it was found that quinoa helped reduce the levels of blood sugar in rats fed on a high-fructose diet. Intake of quinoa can help you to maintain the glucose levels. This is due to the fact that it’s rich in complex carbohydrates, that slows the digestion and keep you satiated for longer period of time.

Good source of riboflavin: Quinoa has a significant amount of riboflavin known to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.

High in calcium: Quinoa also has a great deal of calcium in comparison to other grains. Due to its high calcium content, it’s popular for vegans and individuals who are lactose intolerant.

Rich in magnesium: Its high magnesium content benefits those with osteoporosis by improving bone health, controls symptoms of asthma, regulates blood sugar and maintains a healthy heart. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and therefore alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control.

Promotes cardiovascular health: Quinoas high protein and carbohydrate content, low glycemic index, presence of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are all significant in promoting heart health. Studies have found that people (both middle-aged and young) who consumed sufficient quinoa have reduced risk of heart diseases. The combined effects of these nutrients make quinoa a superfood for maintaining cardiovascular health and prevention of strokes and coronary heart diseases.

Tips for using Quinoa:

  • Rinse before using: Always rinse quinoa before using as Quinoa has a naturally bitter coating called saponin. Saponin is easily removed by rinsing quinoa with water prior to consuming.
  • Quinoa can be added to your salad, soups, energy bars, smoothies and porridge
  • It is best stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated. It can be used in 3- 6 months.

Reference:

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.