This nutritious seed was highly regarded in Incan culture, and was believed to provide stamina to warriors. While essentially unheard of decades ago in the U.S., quinoa has been gaining momentum.
More herb than grain, quinoa is proof that good things come in small packages, for it is tiny indeed. Therein lies its difficulty.
We treat quinoa as a grain, but Webster defines it as an Andean goosefoot raised by the Indians for its edible seeds. Quinoa is not a true grain in the botanical sense; close relatives include beets and spinach.
- Contains a good amino acid balance
- High in fiber
- High in complex carbohydrates
- High in lysine and essential vitamins
In fact, Quinoa is a nutrition treasure. It's protein content supplies all nine essential amino acids. Health protective compounds like polyphenols, phytosterols and flavonoids have also been found in quinoa. Quinoa is such a near perfect food, it's being considered as a crop for NASA's controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.
Quinoa offers all the health benefits attributed to whole grains, including reduced risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. An in vitro study published in an issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food evaluated 10 Andean grains, inlcuding quinoa, for potential type 2 diabetes-relevant antihyperglycemia and anti-hypertension activity. Results showed that quinoa was rich in the antioxidant, quercetin and had the highest antioxidant activity among the grains studied, leading the researchers to conclude that quinoa (in addition to other Andean grains) has the potential to be a dietary strategy to manage type 2 diabetes and associated hypertension.
Quinoa is a gift to soup, as it functions as a thickener that doesn't become gummy or pasty. Have some at hand if you've added a little too much water to soup. You'll increase your nutrition as well.
The grain Quinoa has 160 calories per quarter cup uncooked, 10 percent of your daily Fiber and about as much protein as in an ounce of fish. At 8 milligrams of iron per half cup, quinoa is a good source of iron as well as Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Zinc.
See also: Quinoa: Exotic Super Grain