Perhaps you’ve been hearing about Quinoa and are curious as to all of the benefits that can be had by eating it. It’s a truly fascinating food, and worth taking a closer look at its different features and what it can provide for you. It’s been known in health circles for quite some time now, but has only received attention from the mainstream in recent years. Once you see what it can do you’ll probably be adding it to your meals on a regular basis, and we’ve got you covered with our list of 101 Quinoa Recipes.
1. Contains All Amino Acids
One of the most impressive qualities of Quinoa is its protein make-up. It’s not animal source of protein but boasts some pretty good numbers. The protein alone would be enough to eat it, but it contains all 8 of the amino acids that your body needs to truly function at its best. There are supplements out there that you can buy to get all of those amino acids in one place, or you can start eating Quinoa daily to get them from a natural food source.
2. High in Fiber
The fiber content in Quinoa is what gets many people interested in eating it. If you have trouble thinking of ways to increase your fiber and have resorted to buying and eating fiber bars or fiber fortified cereals to get the job done, you might be better off getting a supply of Quinoa. It contains a fifth of how much fiber you need each day in every one cup serving. That’s pretty impressive considering that most Quinoa recipes are filled with other foods like black beans that have a good amount of fiber so you can get a substantial portion of your fiber needs met in one meal.
3. High in Iron
For those that have trouble keeping up with their iron needs, Quinoa can be a big help with that, and it also is a tastier option than taking an iron supplement. In just a one cup serving you’re getting 15% of how much iron you need each day. That’s a good boost to your system and can assist with any deficiencies. Getting enough iron is good for your brain and your muscles, and having the right amount will prevent anemia. Consider these other iron-rich veggies if you’re concerned about your iron levels.
4. High in Magnesium
Magnesium doesn’t get as much attention as some other vitamins and minerals do, but it’s still an important mineral that your body needs in order to help prevent things like osteoporosis and heart disease, while helping to balance blood pressure and helping with diabetes. You can get one third of your RDA of magnesium from just one full serving of Quinoa. That’s pretty impressive since many foods only contain a trace amount of it, or none at all. If you feel like your levels could use a boost, try these other foods that are high in magnesium.
5. High in Riboflavin
Riboflavin is also known as Vitamin B2, part of the family of B Vitamins and responsible for providing much needed antioxidants to assist the body with a number of functions. It also helps with enzyme performance and oxygen delivery throughout the entire body. It’s a pretty important vitamin. Six percent of your daily needs per 100 grams of Quinoa might not sound like a lot, but many foods contain a bit of riboflavin, so it adds up throughout the day, Quinoa just gives it a nice contributing boost.
6. Rich in Manganese
Manganese is something you definitely don’t want to go without for any stretch of time, and with Quinoa you won’t have to because it provides almost half of what you need in just one serving. The symptoms of being low on manganese include having high blood pressure levels, high cholesterol levels, neurological problems, hearing impairments, and more. The number one cause of running a manganese deficiency is not eating enough foods that are rich in it. That’s why making Quinoa a part of your lifestyle is a good idea.
7. Contains Lysine
One special amino acid that Quinoa contains is called Lysine. Lysine is usually found in sports supplements by those trying to add lean muscle to their body. It’s been said to also help strengthen the immune system, so Quinoa is great to eat during those months when everyone seems to be getting sick. It’s also been proven to help raise serotonin levels, which is a way to help you feel more relaxed and get into a calm state. Instead of using a supplement to get it, you can simply start eating more Quinoa.
8. Has Antiseptic Properties
During the processing of Quinoa there are saponins which are removed from it and then reused as an antiseptic, as well as a detergent. This shows just one more aspect of this superseed. There is some misperception as to what Quinoa is exactly, whether it’s a grain or a seed. The part that is edible is the seed, which makes it great for grain-free diets and diet plans. But the plant that it grows on is grain-like which causes the confusion. There are many benefits to the plant, and it shows just how versatile it can be, much the same way aloe can be eaten, and used to treat the skin.
9. Supports a Gluten-Free Diet
When you’ve gone gluten free either for medical reasons or for dietary ones, you’ll quickly find out that while there may be more GF options than there were a decade ago, there is still a lot of room for more products. In the meantime you can stay gluten-free by using Quinoa. It’s not a grain, it’s a seed, and it doesn’t contain any wheat or gluten in it, so you can feel free to enjoy it in loads of different Quinoa recipes without worrying if it’s going to upset your system.
10. Low on the Glycemic Index
Quinoa clocks in at 53 on the Glycemic Index, which limbos under the 55 required to be considered a food that helps to stabilize your blood sugar. This makes it a good food if you’re trying to prevent getting diabetes, and you can combine it with any other foods that are also low on the GI scale so that you can nourish yourself without having to worry about spiking your blood glucose levels. Some diets, like the Paleo diet, consider a ranking of 53 high, so it’s all a matter of perspective and what your end goal is.
11. Contains Flavonoids
There are flavonoids in Quinoa that are typically only found in other foods like berries, and the levels that it contains are pretty substantial. These flavonoids can help with things like cardiovascular disease and inflammatory conditions. This means that if you are at risk for heart disease or just want to do your best to prevent it, you can start eating more Quinoa and be doing a great service in this regard. And if you have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions you should start adding more of it to your diet right away for potential relief.
12. Helps You Avoid Getting Fat
The fiber in Quinoa helps the body get rid of unneeded fat, while also helping you to eat less by making you feel fuller longer. This will help you eat less overall, as well as help your digestive system process. The overall result is that if you have a problem with overeating, or a sluggish digestion, Quinoa can help on both counts. The results of adding Quinoa to your diet can typically be felt right away, as you start to feel lighter both by not eating as much, and having more regularity than you currently do.
13. Good Source of B Vitamins
When compared to other grains, Quinoa has a better B Vitamin profile than most. Technically it’s a seed, not a grain, but it most often gets compared to grains because of the way it is cooked and the texture it has when eaten. The B Vitamin family helps with plenty of processes that the body goes through each day, and it’s important to stay topped up on them. Vitamin B12 alone has a host of benefits that can’t be overlooked, so you definitely don’t want to run a shortage on it.
14. Potentially Anti-Inflammatory
Recent research is showing that Quinoa may be an anti-inflammatory food. But you don’t have to wait for the research to confirm what many are already saying to be true. So many people report getting relief from their inflammatory conditions after they start eating Quinoa. There are several vitamins and minerals that it contains, but it is the phytonutrients, those that help battle back free radical damage with their antioxidant effect, that are the prime suspect for what’s causing the help in this area. It’s not very often that a food has this amount of healing properties, which makes it a bona fide superfood and one of the healthiest foods you can eat.
15. Helps Lower Cholesterol
It’s the fiber once again that provides the benefits here, this time helping to lower your cholesterol. Many people resort to cholesterol-lowering drugs, and it’s always important to listen to your doctor’s advice. But with dietary changes and you doctor’s guidance you can avoid or reduce the amount of medication you have to take to keep your cholesterol in check. Quinoa makes it easy since it’s can be used in a myriad of ways, and you won’t feel like you’re eating a special diet of any sort, or missing out on the foods you love.
16. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
The fiber levels in Quinoa have a direct effect on your blood pressure, in addition to the other benefits listed. The thing that prevents most people from getting enough fiber each day is that many of the sources are not considered very appetizing. But quinoa has a very delicate flavor, so you can mix it with just about any food you enjoy and you’ll get the flavor from that without the Quinoa getting in the way. It’s a very easy way to keep your blood pressure levels in check, without turning your world upside down.
17. Helps Balance Blood Sugar Levels
It’s not always eating foods that are sugar-free, or eating portion sizes that are considered small by American standards. Adding Quinoa to a meal will help you keep your blood sugar levels in a happy place while at the same time getting your taste buds to agree. If you have a specific food or recipe that you normally can’t have, see if adding Quinoa to it brings it down to the point where you can enjoy it without any trouble. If you find that you respond well to it you can start using it in more and more of your classic recipes.
18. Supports Weight Loss Efforts
If you’re on a diet you’ll probably be allowed to eat Quinoa on it. Some diets might say that you can’t have bread, or that you should avoid all wheat and grains. But that’s where Quinoa comes in handy, as it’s not a grain, contains no wheat, and bread made with Quinoa is likely not the bread they’re talking about. Because of its high protein content and great fiber levels, it gives a one-two punch to your weight loss goals, and has a host of other vitamins and minerals to keep you topped up and feeling good. The protein and amino acids will help with any weight training you’re doing, and the fiber keeps things moving internally.
As you can see, it just makes nutritional sense to start eating more Quinoa. You’ll end up feeling better, having more energy, and potentially losing weight just by switching other foods for Quinoa. Quite frankly, foods like rice and noodles just can’t measure up as a side dish for all sorts of foods, and you’ll be getting a broader nutritional set from Quinoa than you would from other foods. It’s not as hard to make as you might think, so be sure to check out our guide on How to Cook Quinoa so you can start tonight.
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