Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Health Benefits of Quinoa

Today, I’m welcoming Susan Myers to Healthy Body, Happy Spirit. Her guest post examines the health benefits of quinoa, a super grain that has become super popular. Stay tuned to the end for links to some of Susan’s yummy quinoa recipes.

Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa Nutrition Facts –What Makes Quinoa Such A Healthy Food

You’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard mention of Quinoa, the super grain from South America. As we start to explore the nutritional facts of quinoa, you will see that this is a very good thing. By the way, quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah and was prized by the Inca in Peru. That’s not surprising since it sustained them for over 5000 years.

This grain is a complete protein, which is one of the reasons why it has been used for such a long time. This means that it has all the amino acids we need, including one named lysine. In fact, quinoa has quite a bit of this important amino acid. 

Amino acids are needed by your body to create proteins that are then used in repairing and building muscle fibers. In our current diet, many of us get most of our protein from animal products. Only a handful of grains and other plant based foods contain all the different types of protein blocks we need. That’s why quinoa is considered a super food and is also often called the mother grain.

Quinoa is also good for you because it is full of fiber and low in sodium and cholesterol. It’s full of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Niacine, Iron, Magnesium, Phosperous, and Manganese. In other words it is packed with important vitamins and minerals while still being surprisingly low in calories. No wonder it’s a superfood.

With all that fiber and protein, it is a great food to include when you are trying to lose some weight since both of those nutrients help keep you full longer. You can cook it instead of rice, potatoes, pasta and other white starches. It’s better for you and you won’t have to worry about sugar cravings later.

Not only is quinoa a very versatile grain – you can make breads, puddings, and pilaf-like side dishes out of it, or just serve it like a breakfast porridge – it is also gluten free, making it a great choice for anyone suffering from celiac disease. It’s also delicious on salads and gives a plain old plate of lettuce and vegetables some extra texture and flavor.

Still on the fence about quinoa and why you should eat it? Consider the health benefits you can expect from this superfood. It can help remove dangerous free radicals from your body through the antioxidants that can be found in it, and is also good for your heart. It contains lignans which help protect your heart. Add to that the fact that it is a whole grain; it’s not surprising that it is considered so healthy.

And now I would like to invite you to start cooking with quinoa. Take this easy quinoa muffins recipe for example. As I mentioned, quinoa is a gluten free grain, making it perfect for anyone living a gluten-free lifestyle. As are these delicious gluten free oatmeal cookies.

By Susanne Myers 

Interested in cooking with quinoa? Try this great cook book: 500 Best Quinoa Recipes: 100% Gluten-Free Super-Easy Superfood.

Have you grabbed your FREE guide to optimal nutrition yet, Eating For Success? 

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