Quinoa is a flowering crop grown largely for its edible seeds. People often think of quinoa as a cereal grain, but it isn’t. It is technically a seed prepared and eaten like a grain. Millions of consumers eat this pseudo cereal because of its high nutritional value. NASA is even considering of growing quinoa in space.
The following are six reasons quinoa is the called ‘Queen of all Superfoods’:
1. Contains Essential Amino Acids
Quinoa is one of the few gluten-free few plant foods that contain sufficient levels amino acids that the human body cannot produce. In particular, quinoa seeds contain 11 amino acids, although the human body only need nine. These are lysine, methionine, leucine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, cysteine, tyrosine, tryptophan, histidine, valine, and threonine.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They are needed to create structural proteins, as well as perform important biochemical reactions. The amount amino acid per serving differs across cultivation conditions. Generally speaking, the amino acid content in quinoa is high enough to meet the demands of the body.
2. Has High Proteins
Quinoa is made up of 14% protein, a level that is high for a plant-based food. There are several varieties of quinoa. The red and yellow varieties contain higher protein percentage (16%) than the white ones (14%).
According to American Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), a person needs 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body mass. A cup of quinoa (185 grams) can supply you with 8.14 grams of quality protein already. Vegans and vegetarians who need high-protein foods found significant benefits in quinoa consumption.
3. Rich in Antioxidants
Plants and vegetables may have vitamins and minerals but not all have antioxidants. Studies have proven the Quinoa contains significant amounts of quercetin and kaempferol, two powerful antioxidants that help protect against chronic conditions. For instance, kaempferol helps fight infection, lifestyle diseases (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular diseases), and cancer (e.g., skin and liver cancer).
4. High Fibre
Fibre has many health benefits. It promotes weight loss and aids in cholesterol and blood pressure regulation. A cup of quinoa gives 5.18 grams of fibre, which is equivalent to about 15.42% of your daily need, varying across sex and age. Nevertheless, this fibre value is higher in relation to other grains.
Also, research has shown that a diet rich in fibre is linked to decreased risk of dying from heart diseases and cancer. It, therefore, helps you live longer.
5. Exceptional Nutritional Value
For a non-grain plant food, quinoa has exceptionally high nutritional value. A cup of cooked quinoa gives you the following:
- 1.17 mg of manganese, which is equivalent to 35.05% of recommended intake for females and 27.43% for males. Manganese is needed for important metabolic functioning.
- 2.76 mg of iron, which is equivalent to 15.33% of RDA for females and 34.5% for males. Iron supports cellular functioning and contributes to high energy.
- 77.7 mcg of folate, which is equivalent to 19.43% of a normal person’s recommended dietary requirement. Folate is essential for DNA formation, hence, pregnant women are advised to feed on high-folate diets.
- 118 mg of magnesium, which is equivalent to 38.06% of women’s RDA and 29.5% for men. Magnesium is needed for above 300 enzymatic reactions and in cellular development.
Other essential nutrients found in a cup of quinoa include phosphorus (40.14% of RDA), copper (39.44%), Zinc (18.36% to 25.25%), vitamin B1 (16.5%), vitamin B6 (minimum of 17.54%), potassium (6.77%), and vitamin B2 (10% to 18.55%).
6. High in Carbohydrates, Low in Glycemic Index
This gluten-free superfood is perfect for people with gluten intolerance. It’s also suitable for people suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, because it’s high in carbohydrates but low in glycemic index.
A glycemic index signifies how fast a certain food can increase the blood sugar level. Quinoa only has a glycemic index of 53, which is considered low. As a comparison, brown rice has a glycemic index of 50, sweet corn has 60, and white rice has 89.
The average glycemic index for cereals ranges from 55 (rolled oats) to 81 (cornflakes). Quinoa is your perfect alternative to cereals. It keeps you full without compromising your nutritional requirements.
A cup of quinoa a day keeps your doctor at bay, so to speak. Muscle builders, athletes, and people under special diets find great value in quinoa. Health is an investment. Invest in quality quinoa, the Queen of all Superfoods, and experience changes in your overall vitality.