Think Quinoa Is Bad For You? Think Again | The Daily Dish

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Think Quinoa Is Bad For You? Think Again

1 Comment | Written on July 7, 2017 at 10:45 am , by

If you’re a food enthusiast, a health nut, or a hipster, quinoa is probably not a novelty to you. You might even be as obsessed as I am. But to those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s only a matter of time before you hop onto the quinoa trend. Or, at the very least, understand why you should consider including quinoa in your diet, and I can help you with that.

Quinoa-Is-Packed-With-Potassium

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In order to truly comprehend the importance of quinoa, we need to go back in time to learn a little bit about its history.

Quinoa originated about 4,000 years ago in the era of the most powerful civilizations in Latin America. For many societies, it was viewed as the mother of all grains, or chisoya mama. The Incans even had an annual ceremony for the planting of the first quinoa seeds of the year. The plant thrived during this era and spread beyond Incan territory, yet everything changed with the arrival of the Spaniards.

INCA

Source: Natural Actives

Determined to force the Incas into submission, the Spaniards destroyed their quinoa fields since their society revolved around it. Only a scarce amount of quinoa survived up high in the mountains which later became the prominent food source for the current Andean population.

Now, with the rise of vegetarianism, veganism, and just an overall health consciousness, quinoa has become the new food trend due to its nutritional value.

In your classic meat-rice-veggies meal, quinoa has overthrown rice and replaced it as the king of all grains — even though it’s technically not a grain. Quinoa plants are grown as grain crops, but humans only eat the seeds rather than the grain itself.

So, why have we substituted it for rice? To figure that out, we have to take a look at the health benefits of the grain itself.

Colored_quinoa_Genebank_INIA_Juliaca

Quinoa is considered a pseudo-cereal, which basically means it is cooked, eaten, and holds a similar nutritional profile to cereal grains. Yet, its nutritional value is much superior than most other foods similar to quinoa.

In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared quinoa as a “superfood,” or a healthy, nutrient-rich food — A classification that is not often given to grains.

So now, you might still be wondering, “What exactly is so healthy about quinoa?” so let me give you the facts.

Unlike most grains, quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein, like animal proteins. For vegetarians and vegans, eating quinoa is an excellent source of the protein that is often difficult to find in other foods.

On a gluten-free diet, people also experience this problem since they heavily rely on gluten-free grains that are nutritionally inadequate, but since because quinoa is naturally gluten-free; they are better able to meet their nutritional needs.

Freekeh Quinoa Brown Food Rice Brown Rice Grains

Quinoa is also a great source of fiber. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 15-25 grams of fiber, which is twice the average grains’ fiber content. Although quinoa’s fiber is insoluble, it causes people to feel fuller; its high fiber content slows the rate at which food leaves the stomach, leading to an overall decrease in calorie intake and, eventually, weight loss.

Yet, quinoa is not only healthy because it can lead to some weight loss. It can also help reduce the risk and prevent a lot of illnesses.

Quinoa is heart healthy because it does not have any trans-fats, only healthy fats. These fats decrease the risk of any heart-related problems, such as a heart attack, and can reduce blood pressure levels. Quinoa’s richness in flavonoids, or antioxidants, can also help prevent illnesses such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and even cancer.

We often lack a lot of essential nutrients because most of what we eat is mostly processed, low-nutrient foods. However, because quinoa is not a refined or processed food, its vitamins (calcium, iron, potassium, etc.) remain intact, and eating it becomes beneficial to us.

Although eating quinoa doesn’t solve all of the US’s current health problems, it’s a step in the right direction. Call me an optimist or an idealist, but I just really like quinoa.

If you’re looking for ways to include quinoa in your diet, check out these recipes! 

Veggie Packed Quinoa Bowl

Quinoa Stuffed Raw Peppers

Creamy Chicken Quinoa Casserole

One Response to “Think Quinoa Is Bad For You? Think Again”

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