What is Quinoa

iStock 000009102523XSmall 300x199 What is QuinoaQuinoa is used like a grain but it is not a grain, it is a seed that has huge health benefits. The nutritional value is superior when compared with popular cereals found on the market today.

  • It is a complete source of protein.
  • It provides a full spectrum of essential amino acids, in the proper amounts and proportions. These amino acids are phenylalanine, lysine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine and leucine.
  • It is high in magnesium which makes it great for maintaining cardiovascular health. Magnesium is known to relax blood vessels, reduce hypertension, and reduces the chance of developing heart disease and heart arrhythmias.
  • It contains a good amount of the essential iron and calcium.
  • It is high in manganese and copper which boosts antioxidant levels, helps to promote a healthy immune system, and helps red blood cells to remain healthy.
  • It is high in fibre therefore it helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly which in turn helps to reduce the chance of developing gallstones.

Needless to say, quinoa is very useful food for vegans, vegetarians, and people who are lactose intolerant.

It is also gluten-free, and is very easy to digest.

One cup of quinoa contains approximately 127 calories, 2 grams of fat, 23.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 4.5 grams of protein.

Not Sure How to Say Quinoa?

You will hear it pronounced in more than one way:

  • KEEN-wah
  • KEE-noh-ə)
  • kwi-NOH-ə

How to Prepare and Cook Quinoa

Quinoa is generally cooked the same way you would cook rice, and it can be used in a wide range of dishes.

It has a light, fluffy, creamy, crunchy texture (all these textures rolled into one dish) when it is cooked. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor and it a tasty and healthy alternative to white rice or couscous.

Cooking instructions suggest rinsing before cooking to remove the saponins. Removal of the saponin helps with digestion.

Cooking quinoa involves bringing two cups of water to a boil with one cup of grain. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. When cooked, it should be translucent and should be al-dente.

You can add vegetables and seasonings to taste. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for the water.

Quinoa is commonly used as a high-protein breakfast. You can mix it with honey, almonds, or berries for a truly healthy breakfast.

You can also use quinoa flour for wheat-free and gluten-free baking.

More Suggestions for Quinoa

Eat it as a breakfast porridge — just add nuts and fruit after it is cooked.

Add quinoa to soups, stir-fries, and casseroles.

Combine cooked, chilled quinoa with chickpeas, roasted red pepper, scallions and coriander.

Sprouted quinoa can be used in salads and sandwiches just like alfalfa sprouts.

The American Journal of Gastroenterology published a study that found that people who eat foods that are rich in insoluble fibre had a 17% lower risk of getting gallstones.

If you love your carbs and would rather have a healthier option to white pasta or rice, quinoa is a great substitute.