Quinoa: Use and Benefits
Quinoa is a traditional food of the Incas, which has recently become popular in our modern culture. The Incas have considered quinoa the healthiest food among grains. They even name it as a “mother of all grains”. One of the reasons that make quinoa the healthiest grain is its protein content. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein, which is twice as much as the quantity of protein in other grains. Quinoa is not only rich in protein; it is also highly nutritive especially in fiber and unsaturated fats. It is well known that foods high in fiber lower blood pressure and cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk for cardiovascular diseases. One study, published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2011, revealed that quinoa can prevent our bodies from diabetes and cancer. Quinoa is also considered as whole grain that can replace rice or wheat in our diet. We all know the benefits of whole grains, and quinoa as the whole grain can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. To get an idea how to prepare quinoa in a simple and easy way, the article “The Mysterious Little Round Pseudo-Grain Superfood: Quinoa” gives us some practical tips.
Quinoa: Use and Benefits
Cooked quinoa is excellent in casseroles and soups, stews, stir-fries, pilafs, or cold in salads. The seeds can be cooked in about 15 minutes.
Quinoa can be substituted for rice (for higher protein and fiber content) in many dishes. Try dry roasting quinoa in a pan or in the oven before cooking to give it a toasted, nuttier flavor. I often cook quinoa in free-range chicken broth for added taste.
Try a cold salad with cooked quinoa, and your favorite veggies chopped up. I like to add parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, chopped tomatoes, some sweet onion, and chopped zucchini. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, some sea salt and pepper and viola! a tasty nutritious salad.
Quinoa can also be a great breakfast substitute for oatmeal. It can be cooked and mixed with fruit, nuts, stevia, cinnamon, etc to your tastes. Have a couple whole eggs on the side for additional protein and healthy fats and you now have a perfect nutritionally balanced fat-burning breakfast!
Quinoa seeds can be sprouted and eaten as raw, live food for snacks or in salads and sandwiches. To sprout the seeds, soak about 1/3 cup seeds in a jar for 2 to 4 hours, then drain and rinse the seeds twice a day for 2 to 4 days. When the sprouts are about 1 inch long, place them near a window which will give them a vibrant green color. Another fascinating way of using quinoa is to “pop” the seeds in a dry skillet and eat them as a dry cereal.
According to the study at the University in Chile in 2009 that examined antioxidative abilities of quinoa, quinoa has a large amount of free phenols that diminish a quantity of free radicals in the blood stream. Quinoa also contains the whole spectrum of vitamin B, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, and folate. Because of its highly nutritious value and simplicity of preparation, adding quinoa into our everyday diet can make a huge change in our physical health. Quinoa is the food, easy to combine with meat and vegetables, which we can eat as a snack or a main meal. Together with a good exercising program, quinoa can boost our immune system and help us feel better.