The trend of eating gluten-free food has initiated the intake of quinoa. It is pronounced as “keen-wa” and now it has gained popularity as a superfood. This is a starchy grain and is a healthy alternative of wheat. This seed was originally grown in South America. The natives of Peru, Chile and Bolivia like Incas had consumed quinoa as a staple food. There are two varieties of quinoa available, one is brown or red in colour and the other is dull white.
Quinoa- Nutrition Facts
The modern people of the US and UK have acclaimed quinoa as being a perfect alternative source of carbohydrates, the regular ones being rice, wheat and couscous. Quinoa is not actually a food grain like the ones it replaces, it belongs to the family of beetroot, chard and spinach.
This one has a slightly bitter taste when cooked. It grows a white curly part when they are softened. This one contains twice as much protein than rice and barley. Also, it is packed with minerals like manganese, calcium and magnesium. A few vitamins of B group, vitamin E and dietary fibre are also found in quinoa. When cooked, it becomes soft with a slight crunch. It contains a nutty flavour, and it can multitask as breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Health Benefits of Quinoa:
The researches have proved that quinoa is rich in phytonutrients and it prevents different kinds of diseases in the human body. Also, there is an omega-3 fatty acid that is famous for being heart-healthy. A monosaturated fat is also present in quinoa and in a higher amount than the regular cereal grains. It comes filled with nine essential amino acids, which is a rare feature among grains.
There are a few health benefits that quinoa offers for the regular eaters. These are:
1. Weight Loss
If you are following a disciplined diet and trying to lessen your weight, then quinoa may come handy for you. As this grain is high in fibre, and that too insoluble fibre, it aids at weight loss. The other compound found in quinoa, 20- hydroxyecdysone helps in weight control. It burns more calories and helps the body to absorb less fat from the food intake of a person.
2. Osteoporosis Prevention
Bone health is not only the concerns of people who have aged past fifty. This can be an issue with the people of every age and we all need to conscious about our bone strength from a young age. Quinoa contains a huge amount of magnesium which in turn makes the bones strong. The mineral works best for bone formation. Also, this grain quinoa has an ample amount of protein so it works like building blocks for the bones. The nine essential amino acids contained by quinoa also help in bodybuilding as the amino acids are not originated in human bodies.
3. Heart Protection
There is soluble fibre present in quinoa that makes it much useful for the heart. The soluble fibre get mixes with the bile acids, and the jelly-like substance is good for the bowel system. In this process, the cholesterol of the body is utilized by the liver and this process the cholesterol gets used up, which is helpful for heart. Thus you can understand that the quinoa helps to lower the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
The chance of coronary heart disease also gets lessened and you can get a healthy heart by consuming quinoa regularly at a measured dose. Also, the heart-healthy monosaturated fatty acid like oleic acid and 8% of alpha-linolenic acid are found in quinoa which again helps to keep the heart condition good.
4. Better Skin
As we already know, quinoa is rich in the vitamin B complex. This vitamin group is responsible for anti-ageing benefits. Also, the darkening of the skin is reduced by the presence of vitamin B complex as it reduces the deposition of melanin under the skin. The vitamin B group also interacts with the other vitamins and thus produces the healthy looking supple skin. The presence of tyrosinase inhibitors in quinoa again works on pigmentation and decreases it. Niacinamide or vitamin B3 in quinoa works on redness and soothing so the inflamed skin gets better and does not break out in acne.
Vitamin A is also present in quinoa. This vitamin is called the mother of all vitamins and it acts like one too. The cause of anti-ageing is vitamin A, and it also reduces the fine lines. It keeps the skin young, and you will get Vitamin A in quinoa. Early ageing is almost always called by the free radicals which can be fought with the help of quinoa. The antioxidants present in the grain, keep you stay young by the skin. The anti-ageing properties of quinoa along with natural protein helps your skin to get free from the sun damages too. It enhances the elasticity and keeps the skin even-toned.
5. Fights Cancer
Regular consumption of quinoa is necessary if you are fearing early death by cancer. As we have specified that quinoa is super rich in antioxidants and it helps to fight cancer as well. The free radicals and harmful substances can get checked by the properties present in quinoa.
6. Metabolism Improvement
As we have known by far, that quinoa is rich in various nutrients. All these nutrients work together to boost your metabolism and it definitely offers a better solution for your system. Along with metabolism boosts, it reduces appetite and that way you are prevented from taking extra calories in.
7. Fights Diabetes
Quinoa is a form of complex carbohydrate, which takes more time to get depleted in the body. The time it takes to get soluble helps the blood sugar level to be stable. Quinoa is a food that comes with a very low glycemic index. Along with all the amino acids to make protein, quinoa works perfectly to keep the blood sugar level in control.
The fibre present in quinoa does keep a check on the blood sugar level and that also eradicates the weight gain and chronic condition related to diabetes. The presence of magnesium and potassium in quinoa makes it a superfood for the high blood pressure patients, as these minerals always help to keep the blood pressure at a low level.
8. Better Digestion
Quinoa comes with a huge amount of fibre in them, and as a result, the food in your stomach gets churned by the presence of the fibre. The digestive tract walls are activated this way and absorption of nutrients is promoted. Also, the fibre does not let constipation happen and the bowel movement through the large and small intestine is processed smoothly. Thiamine, one vitamin from the vitamin B group, helps the body to produce hydrochloric acid. This acid is produced in the stomach and it intensifies digestion. Riboflavin present in the quinoa helps to build the digestive tract walls more strongly and glutamic acid, which is one of the amino acids, keeps the mucosal lining of the stomach in good health.
9. Good Hair
The scientists have been successful in extracting hydrolyzed protein from the quinoa. This is a natural substance which protects the hair follicles. Not only this, the amino acids that are present in quinoa repairs the damaged hair and enhances the growth of new hair follicle. There are humectants in quinoa which takes care of the scalp, and also keeps the hair protected by layering the hair with a thin layer, so the hair does not come to close contact with the dust or heat. Vitamin E present in quinoa helps to prevent the breakage of the hair and also the natural oil balance is maintained in the scalp.
10. Rich in Plant Compounds
Other than vitamins and minerals, there are other kinds of nutrients found in quinoa. Plant antioxidants like flavonoids offer various benefits for the human body. There are two special kinds of flavonoids named quercetin and kaempferol, those are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antidepressants and comes with many more qualities. So regular quinoa consumption can take care of many regular health benefits.
Quinoa is gluten-free and perfect for the people who are born with gluten intolerance. The protein content in quinoa is pretty high and essential amino acids are always found here. The low glycemic index makes it easy for diabetes patients too. This is full of antioxidants, helps in metabolism-boosting and rich in fibre. It can be consumed in different form like flour, flakes or in grains. You will find plenty of recipes including quinoa and surely intake of these magic grains will benefit you in multiple ways.