Quinoa is one of those superfoods that will never go out of style. Though referred to frequently as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed or “pseudo-cereal” that is cooked and eaten similarly to a grain.
Its health benefits are incredible and it takes roughly 15 minutes to cook, making quinoa an ideal superfood to add to meals and recipes. Read on to find more about this superfood!
Health Benefits of Quinoa
Rich in vitamins and minerals – Quinoa is a highly nutritious food. Just one cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 58% of the daily recommended amount of manganese, 30% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium, 28% of the daily recommended amount of phosphorus and 15% of the daily recommended amount of iron.
It also contains folate, copper, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
A good source of protein – Quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the fact that it contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need.
These amino acids are deemed “essential” because our bodies cannot make them, which means that we need to get them from our diet. Quinoa is a terrific non-meat source of these essential amino acids.
Contains Antioxidants – Quinoa is rich in flavonoids, plant antioxidants that provide numerous health benefits.
These flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.
High in Fiber – Quinoa is high in fiber, which can help reduce blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and aid in weight loss.
Fiber helps you to feel fuller longer, which leads to less cravings and can help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Low Glycemic Level – Quinoa registers low on the glycemic scale with a glycemic index of 53.
It is well known that eating foods with a high glycemic number can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity.
A Gluten-Free Food – Those with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease can eat quinoa due to it being naturally gluten-free.
Though there are other gluten-free foods that can be used, replacing quinoa with those foods helps to contribute nutrients that you may not be getting from other gluten-free foods.
Aids In Weight Loss – It’s low glycemic level as well as high amount of fiber make quinoa a terrific food to add to your diet if you are trying to lose weight.
Other diet foods tend to be low on the nutrient scale sometimes, but quinoa supplies a large amount of nutrients so that while you are dieting you are not also depleting yourself of essential vitamins and minerals.
Adding Quinoa Into Your Diet
Quinoa can easily be added into anyone’s diet. The simplest way to use it is as a swap for rice or pasta, however quinoa can also be swapped with oats to be used as a porridge, added to smoothies for extra bulk and nutrients, or added to soups and stews such as the one below!
Quinoa Veggie Soup
Vegetarian and gluten-free
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 (32-ounce) container vegetable broth
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 tablespoon thyme
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a stock-pot over medium heat
- Add the onion, garlic and carrots and sauté until onions are translucent
- Stir in the zucchini, tomatoes, beans, broth and seasonings
- Allow soup to come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft
- Add the cooked quinoa and spinach, stirring well
- Allow soup to simmer for 5 more minutes
- Serve warm