Food for Thought: Benefits of Quinoa

 

The nutritious superfood Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a relatively new food item in the United States – first cultivated here in the 1980s – but it has been a staple for more than 5,000 years for the Incas of the Andes mountains. There are several benefits to eating quinoa, aside from its delicious nutty flavor and crunchy texture:

It’s a complete protein: A complete protein is one that contains all nine amino acids, which humans need for a healthy lifestyle. It is rare to find a vegetarian source of a complete protein, because plants are typically incomplete sources of protein. Quinoa has about eight grams of protein per cup.

It’s a nutritional powerhouse: Aside from protein, quinoa has several other nutritional benefits – it is high in iron (15% daily value), manganese (58%), magnesium (30%), phosphorus (28%), riboflavin (12%) and fiber (5g/cup).

It’s gluten-free: Though quinoa is often prepared and used as a replacement for other grains, it is actually a seed, closely related to spinach and beets. It is completely gluten-free. Quinoa flour is also available for baking and cooking, and there are “pastas” made out of quinoa.

It’s low in fat: Quinoa has very little fat and no saturated fat, so it is a friend to healthy-eaters everywhere.

It’s a complex carbohydrate: Quinoa won’t spike your blood sugar like refined grains will.

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