Quinoa – Nutritional Profile and Benefits
Quinoa (pronounced as keen-wah) is an ancient grain, originated from the mountainous region of South America. Recently, it has gained good popularity for its significant nutrition profile and health benefits. This grain is a good blend of protein, vitamins, and minerals that are good for health. Even the UN has declared Quinoa as a highly nutritious food. With high nutrients, quinoa is indeed inexpensive to cultivate worldwide. Know some of the nutrition facts of Quinoa and why this is considered a powerful healing food and a tasty health booster added to diet!
Nutritional Profile of Quinoa
Having Quinoa as an alternative to your primary grain gives a balanced diet with enough needed protein, calcium, iron, and fiber. One cup of quinoa provides 8 grams of protein and 220 calories.
- Quinoa has high protein content with essential amino acids. It is a complete protein grain as it contains lysine.
- Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and is suitable for patients with gluten intolerance and celiac disease.
- It is a great source of fiber and has approximately around 5 grams of fiber per cooked serving. The insoluble fiber is a great choice to maintain digestive health.
- The nutrition benefits of Quinoa include heart health. Though it contains 4g of fat, there are no trans-fats.
- Quinoa contains oleic acid, which is a healthy monounsaturated fat. It also has alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. It decreases the risk of heart problems. The presence of ALA also reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels.
- As Quinoa has healthy fats, it is beneficial to reduce overall systemic inflammation, and thus leads to a decreased risk of chronic diseases.
- Quinoa contains high amount of Flavonoids – a specific type of antioxidant. This has disease-reducing benefits and the polyphenols in it prevents cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, cancer, and even diabetes complications.
- Antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol in Quinoa help reduce inflammation and risk of several chronic diseases.
- It is high in B-vitamins such as folate and riboflavin.
- Quinoa is a good source of magnesium and provides around 30% of the RDA. It also provides 15% of the RDA for iron, and so is an excellent food for iron deficiency.
- With enough protein content and high insoluble fiber, Quinoa is good food for weight loss. It keeps your satiety full.
The nutritional benefits of Quinoa are many. The recent hype about Quinoa is making it a healthy alternative to many other grains. The possibilities of making Quinoa recipes are endless. You can substitute for rice, pastas, soups, or even make dishes with Quinoa flour. Make sure to avoid processed Quinoa foods as they are refined and lose the benefits.