Many ask me, “is quinoa a pasta?” And the answer is no. And it’s not a wheat or a grain. So what is this thing we call quinoa, 21st Century super-food?
Quinoa is actually a seed from a vegetable related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. And it has earned its stature as a 21st century super-food because it tastes great, is high-protein, and it’s also gluten-free.
7 Health Benefits of Quinoa-
1. High in protein — in fact, quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat and moreso than rice, millet or wheat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
2. Twice as much fiber as most grains. The American diet falls way short of the daily recommended levels of fiber. Fiber helps your cells to naturally detoxify, lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, and is often associated with losing weight.
3. Contains Iron. There are many benefits of iron. It aids in neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, enzyme activity and energy metabolism. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and carries oxygen from one cell to another which is especially vital for brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen.
4. A good source of riboflavin (B2), lysine, magnesium and manganese. B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells. This is especially great news for migraine sufferers. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also supports transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. The antioxidant Manganese helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.
5. It’s alkaline-forming — our bodies are ripe for disease when we shift from our natural alkaline balance to one that is more acidic
6. It only has 172 calories per ¼ cup dry quinoa.
7. It is a complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index. This is again good for weight management.
For a few inspirations on how to make a meal with quinoa, check out these recipes I found on cookinglight.com, including the one in the picture I’ll be trying tonight — kale-quinoa-cherry salad.