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QUINOA

Quinoa is a superfood that has outstanding qualities for a pseudo-grain. It is considered a complete protein source, which means that you get all of the amino acids you need for healthy cellular functioning and day to day life. This protein packed food contains antioxidants that function as an illness preventative as well as a treatment for different ailments. Its nutrition quality rivals other carbohydrates like rice (both white and brown!), cereals and pastas. Not only does it have them beat by being a complete protein, but it also has quality vitamins and minerals that can benefit everyone.

Table of content
1Health Benefits of Quinoa
2Disadvantages of Quinoa
3Top 100 Quinoa Recipes
4Quinoa Recipes in Video
5About Quinoa
6Quinoa VS Brown Rice
7History of Quinoa
8Q&A About Quinoa
9Nutritional Information
10Research
11Quinoa VS Brown Rice

1. Health Benefits of Quinoa

What is a complete protein?

A complete protein is a food that contains an adequate amount and proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids that are necessary for dietary needs.

What makes quinoa a complete protein?

Quinoa contains all 9 of the essential amino acids in adequate proportions, making it a complete protein. This is unusual for most plants and grains. Plants are typically high in amino acids, but are not always balanced. Quinoa is high in the amino acids lysine and isoleucine, which most grains do not contain in high enough amounts. This causes most other grains to be disqualified as complete proteins.

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are the basis of all life processes.

What are the 9 essential amino acids?

The 9 essential amino acids are body cannot produce include: Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine.

Why are they important?

Amino acids are involved in every metabolic process your body has. There are 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce, and so we have to get them from the food we eat.

What happens if you don’t get enough of the essential amino acids?

If your body does not get enough amino acids your body can no longer make proteins. Your body will start to break down the protein that you already have, and will have trouble repairing any issues and also increase your susceptibility to disease.

Quinoa contains quality protein:

Quality protein means that the protein source is highly digestible and contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs for optimal health. This protein is found in meat product, it is rare for plants to contain quality protein. Quinoa has all of the 9 essential amino acids, and has a very high quantity of the amino acid Lysine, which is a compound that most grains lack. This acid is important in the formation of collagen, which is crucial for our bones, skin, tendons and cartilage. Some studies have suggested that athletes benefit from quicker recovery while using lysine as a protein supplement. This could be important news in regards to quinoa for vegan and vegetarian athletes who need to get quality protein from plant sources.

 

2. Disadvantages of Quinoa

What is gluten-free?

Gluten-free is essentially a diet that does not contain gluten. Gluten is a protein substance in cereal grains that helps foods maintain their shape and elasticity.

What strains of quinoa aren’t gluten-free?

There are over 1,800 different varieties of quinoa, and the majority of them are not in the popular market. In a study that examined 15 different strands of quinoa, 4 cultivars appeared to contain celiac-toxic properties. Out of these 4 strains, 2 of them appeared to have enough of the epitopes to activate the immune response from people with Celiac Disease. However, all 4 of these strains with the epitope were still considered below the “gluten-free” maximum level. Meaning, that all 4 of these strains are still considered “gluten-free”.

Should people with Celiac’s disease avoid quinoa?

The Celiac Disease Foundation considers quinoa a gluten-free and safe grain. However, there are a lot of different strains of quinoa, and they aren’t all gluten-free. One  study that monitored the blood level of 19 celiac patients showed that quinoa was not only safely tolerated by the subjects, but it also improved their health conditions.

Is quinoa still a good gluten-free source?

Yes, quinoa is still an exceptional “gluten-free friendly” source. If have a severe aversion to gluten, you may want to be careful, however the Celiac Disease Foundation still gives quinoa approval. Quinoa is more beneficial than many other gluten-free sources because its nutritional content is similar or better than many whole grains. Click here for more benefits.

3. Top 100 Quinoa Recipes

4. Quinoa Recipes in Video

Quinoa is a nutritional super food that makes for a perfect main dish, or can spice a dish up by adding a boost of nutrients. This ancient pseudo-cereal is very beneficial for your health, and quick to cook. Try some of these recipes and integrate quinoa’s benefits into your life

5. About Quinoa

What is quinoa?

Quinoa is a species of goosefoot that is found in the Andes. It is a pseudo-cereal that has a complete protein balance and is known as being a “super grain”, despite not being a true grain. While quinoa is technically a seed, it is termed a pseudo-cereal. Pseudo-cereals are like cereals in the fact that they can be used like grains, however; they are not of the grass family. A cereal is defined as “any plant from the grass family that yields an edible grain”.

What kinds of quinoa can you buy?

White Quinoa Also called golden quinoa, this is the most common quinoa. This is the mildest tasting quinoa and cooks the fastest. It is typically the least crunchy.
Red Quinoa This vibrant quinoa is gaining popularity for its stunning color. This red quinoa may need a little more cooking time, but has a crunchier and nuttier flavor than white quinoa. This quinoa is typically ideal for salads because it holds its shape best.
Black Quinoa This quinoa takes the most cooking time and has the crunchiest texture. It has a earthier and sweeter taste in comparison to white quinoa.
Tricolor Quinoa Essentially a mix of the three main colors of quinoa.
Quinoa Flakes This quinoa is the most quickly prepared and typically used for breakfast cereals. They are created through steaming the entire grain kernel. They can be used for an instant breakfast.
Quinoa Flour This is one of the most nutritious grain flours available. It is a great flour substitute.
Sprouted Quinoa This quinoa has already been germinated and has increased nutrients.

6. Quinoa VS Brown Rice

While we know brown rice is a healthy staple carbohydrate, quinoa may have it beat in nutritional benefits. While quinoa is not a true grain, like rice, it has all the properties that classify it as a true whole grain. Quinoa is quicker to cook, taking almost half the time as brown rice, and is exceptional in its vitamins and minerals. While one serving of cooked brown rice contains 6 less calories, and less than half the fat in quinoa, it can’t compete in its protein and micronutrients. Besides, the fat in quinoa is all good fat, meaning it is the macronutrient you need to have healthy brain function. It has almost double the the protein, almost double the fiber, and four times the iron found in brown rice. While brown rice is a healthy low calorie and low fat carbohydrate, quinoa is more of a complete food.

7. History of Quinoa

Origins of Quinoa

Quinoa began being cultivated in Bolivia, Chile and Peru nearly 5,000 years ago(1). The main origin of quinoa appears to be Lake Titicaca between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes Mountains. The area surrounding this lake is said to be the birthplace of the Incas and it holds the greatest biological diversity of quinoa.

The Incas called quinoa Chisaya mama: the mother of all grains. Quinoa was the primary staple of the Incan diet, a factor that was important enough to deserve rituals  and ceremonies in its honor. A food bestowed from the Gods, Quinoa was a life source. Legend has it that the Incan emperor would sow the first quinoa seeds of the season with a golden implement to show respect for the plant.

Quinoa has been discovered in ancient tombs in Tarapaca, Arica, Chile, Calama and different areas of Peru. Pottery from ancient Tiahuanaco, one of the most primitive Incan cultures, culture has shown the quinoa plant  displayed in artistic forms. These archaeological discoveries indicate quinoa’s importance to ancient civilizations.

8. Q&A About Quinoa

How do you pronounce quinoa?

Keen-wah.

What does quinoa taste like?

Quinoa can differ in taste depending on the strand of quinoa as well as the way it is prepared. If quinoa is not washed, it has a bitter taste from its natural coating of saponin. Typically, quinoa has a nutty taste, but different varieties can taste closer to rice or couscous.

How is quinoa different than amaranth?

Quinoa is not the same as amaranth. Quinoa is related to amaranth in their scientific classification down to the family level, but then they branch away from each other. Quinoa is a goosefoot, which is now considered a part of the amaranth family, however; it has molecular differences.

What is quinoa related to?

Quinoa is related to spinach, swiss chard and beets in its family tree!

9. Nutritional Information

This is the nutritional information for one cup of cooked quinoa! The nutritional information can slightly vary in different colored, so check the box of the quinoa you are cooking with. One thing that can alter the micro nutrients in quinoa is if your quinoa is pre-rinsed or polished. Pre-rinsed or polished quinoa removes the saponin coating of the seeds, which removes the bitter taste from the quinoa. This can slightly change some of the nutrient content of the seed. Most quinoa is already pre-rinsed to save the consumer an extra step!

11. Quinoa VS Brown Rice

While we know brown rice is a healthy staple carbohydrate, quinoa may have it beat in nutritional benefits. While quinoa is not a true grain, like rice, it has all the properties that classify it as a true whole grain. Quinoa is quicker to cook, taking almost half the time as brown rice, and is exceptional in its vitamins and minerals. While one serving of cooked brown rice contains 6 less calories, and less than half the fat in quinoa, it can’t compete in its protein and micronutrients. Besides, the fat in quinoa is all good fat, meaning it is the macronutrient you need to have healthy brain function. It has almost double the the protein, almost double the fiber, and four times the iron found in brown rice. While brown rice is a healthy low calorie and low fat carbohydrate, quinoa is more of a complete food.