Why Is Everyone Quinoa Crazy?
America has had an obsession with quinoa for several years. It’s on almost every menu, but I still run into a lot of people that don’t know what it is, let alone why it’s healthy. Here is a quick low down on why you should add it to your pantry.
It’s a complex carb! The American Heart Association recommends limiting carbohydrates in your diet to complex carbs. These types of carbs are healthier because they contain more nutrients and they are slower digesting, which means they supply a lower more steady release of glucose into the blood stream. Quinoa is a great complex carb that is packed with nutrients.
It’s a complete protein! One of the beautiful aspects of quinoa is that it has a lot more protein than other grains, and it is a complete protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids, which other grains and plant foods often lack. Having a higher protein content helps those looking for ways to increase their protein intake, especially those trying to find non-animal sources, because it is difficult to find plant based complete proteins.
It’s gluten free! For those looking to cut gluten from their diet, this is a great starchy alternative. One word of caution for those individuals that are exceptionally sensitive to gluten, it can be processed in facilities that also process other grains, so be careful of cross contamination.
It's packed with nutrients! It contains over 50% of the daily recommended amount of magnesium and manganese, along with being a great source of iron, B-vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E. It also contains small amounts of Omega 3, and quinoa has almost double the fiber content of other grains, containing both soluble and insoluble fiber.
It's anti-inflammatory! It contains anti-inflammatory plant compounds called flavonoids, specifically quercetin and kaempfero, which have been found in studies to also have anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-depressant, and anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation in the body has been linked to a host of diseases, ranging from cancer to arthritis and autoimmune diseases. These flavonoids act as anti inflammatory agents and help combat the diseases at their source, inflammation. (Find out how to beat inflammation with Apple Cider Vinegar)
It's easy to cook! Quinoa is so much faster to cook than rice or other grains. The ratio of water to quinoa is the same as rice - one cup quinoa to two cups water. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil and reduce heat, cooking until tender, around 15 minutes depending upon the type (use the specific cooking directions on the quinoa box). It's so simple! The grains sprout during cooking, which adds to the health benefits - making the nutrients more easily absorbed and digested.
Bottom Line - Quinoa is the perfect complex carb, with a healthy dose of complete protein that helps keep the glycemic index low, and it contains tons of healthy nutrients! It packs a powerful nutritional punch in a tiny little grain, and it’s easy to cook! It's a winner for sure!