Quinoa (kin-wah) is a grain like crop derived from South America and used as a staple food diet in many South American countries. It is high in protein, has essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus & iron, with the 8 essential amino acids required for good health and repair. There are over 120 different varieties of quinoa available, but the most commonly cultivated and commercialized ones are white (sometimes known as yellow or ivory) quinoa, red quinoa, and black quinoa. Quinoa flakes and quinoa flour are increasingly available, usually at health food stores.
Health benefits of quinoa:
It’s a unique grain providing greatest health benefits
Rich source of proteins: Most of the grains are deficient in two important amino acids lysine and isoleucine but on contrast quinoa has significantly greater amount of both lysine and isoleucine and hence can be considered as good Protein Source.
Provides good fats; quinoa provides about 25 to 28% of oleic acid (it is good for heart health) and about 4-5% alpha linolenic acid.
Rich source of antioxidants: The antioxidant flavonoids; quercetin and kaempfrol are found in plentiful in quinoa.It is a very good source of fiber.It is gluten free.It has low GI (glycemic index) which makes it suitable for diabetic patients and it will help in keeping blood sugar levels stable.
Make sure to rinse it well before cooking as quinoa grown with bitter coating called saponins. Although quinoa which is available in market already has this coating removed but still it will be good to was it properly.
How to enjoy it:
- Mix nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and eat as breakfast porridge.
- Use quinoa based noodles.
- Use sprouted quinoa in salad and sandwiches.
- Quinoa flour can be used for making pancakes / bread and muffins.
- Add quinoa to your soup.