Like kale, quinoa is one of those trendy foods that we hear about quite a bit in health communities over the past few years. Quinoa’s roots can be traced back thousands of years, but we are seeing it become more common in everyday eating. These grains have been shown to have a lot of health benefits, and most people eat them cooked instead of raw. No matter how you prepare quinoa, you are doing yourself a favor by eating this superfood.
So why has quinoa become so popular, and are these health benefits all they are cracked up to be? We can tell you that there is a lot to like about quinoa and its benefits. Let’s take a look inside quinoa, showing you all of the positives that come with it, and why you should be incorporating more of it into your diet.
Packed with Minerals
It seems that people weren’t quite sure just how nutritious quinoa could be until recently, though many should be aware. In a 3.5 ounce serving of quinoa, you can get almost your daily recommended amount of manganese. Not only that, but there is a significant amount of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. While there isn’t an overwhelming amount of potassium (12 percent of recommended value), it’s still a good source.
With all of those minerals come a lot of vitamins, too. Thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E and choline are all found within quinoa. When cooked, quinoa is mostly made up of water, making it very easy to digest. Add in the fact that there is no gluten and about 15 percent of your recommended fiber intake, and quinoa is one of the friendliest foods for your digestive system.
People aren’t just eating quinoa because it brings in a lot of nutrients, but it’s also to lose weight. While raw quinoa can contain more than 300 calories for a 3.5 ounce serving, cooking it will drastically reduce the calories. When you cook quinoa, you are reducing the amount of calories to about 170. This makes for a perfect side dish (or even a snack) without breaking your calorie budget.
Since quinoa is also higher in fiber than many other grains, it is going to help you feel full for longer to avoid cravings. Controlling your blood sugar is another big part of losing weight and boosting your metabolism, which quinoa can do. Quinoa is very low on the glycemic index, allowing your body to metabolize food much more efficiently while avoiding sugar crashes throughout the day.
Since quinoa is one of the most iron-filled grains that you can find, you can help out your bloodstream and brain by eating more of it. When you have enough iron in your system, your body is able to supply oxygen to muscles more efficiently, while also getting more oxygen to your brain. This will help you feel less dragged down and anemic, giving your body a more normal feeling throughout the day.
Iron isn’t the only thing that your muscles need, as protein plays a big part in strengthening and maintaining your muscles. Quinoa has all of the essential amino acids that your body needs, and one serving has more than 14 grams of protein. The other minerals to be found in quinoa will also help your body control calcium more efficiently while strengthening your bones and organs.
There has been a growing trend throughout the world of people that are eating diets that don’t contain glutens. It has been estimated that less than one percent of people have celiac disease that prevents them from ingesting gluten, while there are millions of others that have chosen to stay away from glutens without having an illness.
That’s one of the main reasons why quinoa has seen such a surge in popularity, as it is one of the rare grains that doesn’t contain glutens. It’s a healthy alternative to some of the gluten free snacks that we see in the form of potato chips or other normally unhealthy foods that people are eating just because it says gluten free. Quinoa also has a lot antioxidants, and since it is also high in fiber, there aren’t many people that will feel negative effects for their digestive system.
If you are looking to improve your heart health (and many of us are), you can do that with quinoa. It will help to prevent heart diseases while controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure, which are often associated with heart disease. The high magnesium level is beneficial for heart health and blood pressure with just one serving. Magnesium also helps to prevent diabetes, which is another positive for your heart.
Quinoa has also been found to help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, while providing all of the healthy fatty acids that your heart needs to pump blood more efficiently. Quinoa is filled with flavonoids that help with this, increasing the lifespan of study participants that ate a healthy amount regularly.
Quinoa is one of the highest rated foods when it comes to antioxidants. This will help your body fight off free radicals that are responsible for a lot of brain and heart diseases. If you can keep those two organs healthy, you are setting yourself up for a very long and healthy life.
Summing it Up
There are many foods out there that tend to lose most of their nutrients when they’re cooked, but that’s not the case for quinoa. Instead, the only thing you’re really losing from quinoa is calories, which makes it a very versatile superfood. It makes for a great snack or small meal to help boost your metabolism throughout the day, and most people think it tastes pretty great.
There aren’t really any negatives when it comes to eating quinoa unless you are really watching your calorie intake. There are quite a few carbohydrates in quinoa, but that’s only a problem if you are on the Atkins Diet. The price might be a bit high as growers try to keep up with the ever increasing demand for quinoa, but that is only a slight negative that doesn’t have to do with the food itself.
All in all, eating quinoa is going to be very beneficial for your health. It might not be as tasty as a candy bar or a bag of potato chips, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run. The hardest part will be trying to figure out how to pronounce the name correctly.