Benefits of Quinoa
Koo-In-Noa?…Kee-In-Noa?…Q-In-Noa? Huh…what? No, it’s pronounced Keen-Wah. Chenopodium quinoa or simply quinoa, contrary to popular belief, is not a grain, but a seed. It is grown in South America, the U.S. and several European countries, in commercial quantities. Touted as a superfood due to its nutritional content, quinoa has several benefits which we will look into.
Nutritional Content So, I’m not going to list everything, just the essentials. In 100 g (120 calories) of cooked quinoa we have approximately:
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 2 g
Carbohydrates: 21 g
Total Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Sugar: 0.9 g
It has less total protein than chia seeds and not as nutrient dense, but it still contains all 8 essential amino acids (take note vegetarians). It is a good substitute for rice due to the lower carb content and is mostly gluten-free.
Cholesterol and triglycerides In animal studies where rats were fed a high fructose diet, quinoa was shown to inhibit decrease of HDL cholesterol (the good kind), reduce LDL cholesterol (bad kind), reduce glucose levels and reduce triglyceride levels.
Antioxidants Quinoa contains polyphenols and flavanoids. Sprouting, which involves soaking in water and allowing the seeds to germinate, increases this content. These antioxidants scavenge free radicals which can lead to decreased cardiovascular health and increased risk of cancer.
Gluten free This is good news for people with celiac disease and those who avoid gluten for other dietary reasons.
Contains Riboflavin Research has shown benefits of riboflavin in cardiovascular disease, cancer and cataract prevention in elderly people. Further studies need to be done conclusively identify the mechanisms at work.
Summary Quinoa can make a healthy addition to your diet and is a good substitute for rice, if you’re watching your carbs. Due to its amino profile, it can help vegetarians fulfill their essential amino acid content. It is also gluten-free for people with gluten sensitivity problems.
P.S. The healthy goat has a hard time pronouncing Keeeen-meh-eh-eh-eh. Hell, he has a hard time pronouncing anything.
 Quinoa; botany, production and uses. Bhargava, Atul and Shilpi Srivastava. CABI Publishing, 2013
6 thoughts on “Benefits of Quinoa”
This is a short but informative article on what I would agree is correctly classified as a superfood. You have provided a lot of good information especially to someone like me who knows very little about this seed. I have heard of quinoa and always thought it was a grain. Recently, I have been trying to eat healthier and quinoa could be a good substitute for white rice and pasta, two foods I love. After reading the article and seeing all of the nutritional value this food has, I am wondering if you cook with it and if so, do you have any recipes you could share?…Dennis
I do use it occasionally…but I don’t know any recipes off the top of my head. I just go online and look stuff up or buy it outside.
Nice article. I have never heard of quinoa before. I will definitely have to look for this. I have been tryin to eat healthier and exercise more, so I’m looking for anything thats healthy, and even trying new stuff I never heard of. Very informative thanks for the post. Can you buy this in grocery stores? Or would they have this in the weight loss stories?
Most health food stores and some groceries have it.
There was a time when I tried to incorporate quinoa in my diet because of how good it is for you, but I can’t seem to enjoy it. It’s too hard of a texture for me.
Do you have any tips on how to make me like it more? Maybe a seasoning or something.
I eat jasmine rice daily. It has a nice taste. I enjoy it more than brown rice since it’s much softer. (I know it isn’t as healthy).
Well seasoning won’t change the texture. Quinoa generally will take on the flavor of the foods and seasoning you cook it with. Try rinsing the quinoa before cooking to get rid of the bitter tasting saponins. Most prepackaged quinoa are already rinsed…but not all.
As for texture…You might want to boil it longer…approx. 15 mins.