Healthstyle Blog

Have You Had Your Quinoa Today?

If you’re a fan of rice (I love my rice) and pasta but want to reduce your consumption of simple carbohydrates, quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) may be the substitute you’ve been looking for. Available at most grocery stores in white, red and black varieties, the nutrient-rich seeds are both creamy and crunchy when cooked and feature a delicate and somewhat nutty flavor that works well in many dishes.

While many refer to quinoa as a whole grain, it’s actually a pseudo-cereal. It is cooked and eaten like a grain, can be ground into flour like a grain, and has a similar nutrient profile to a grain—but it is not a grain. Its closest botanical relatives are actually beets, chard and spinach.

South America is responsible for most of the quinoa we eat here in the United States. Peru and Bolivia produced nearly 99 percent of all commercially grown quinoa in 2010. A crop that grows well in poor soil, the United Nations has declared quinoa a “super crop.” They believe it has great potential to feed the hungry of the world.

There are many reasons to feed it to your family as well. Here are a few to consider:

Quinoa is rich in protein. Just like eggs, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the amino acids including lysine. Lysine is essential for tissue growth and repair.

Quinoa contains loads of fiber. In fact, it contains almost twice as much fiber as most grains. Not only does fiber help you feel full longer, science has shown it can also reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and glucose levels, and relieve issues with constipation.

Quinoa has iron as well. Iron is essential for many reasons. It keeps our blood healthy, carries oxygen to our muscles and brain, helps to regulate body temperature, and aids in energy metabolism. Many people believe they can only get iron from red meat or dark, leafy greens. However, they can also get it from quinoa.

It’s gluten free and low in calories. One-quarter cup of dry quinoa has only 172 calories.

It’s low on the glycemic index. A complex carb with plenty to offer nutritionally, quinoa is low on the glycemic index. This means it won’t spike your blood sugar as your body digests it.

I hope you’ll try this super food today. Have you tried it before? How do you make your quinoa ? I love to mix mine with sugar snap peas and mushrooms. Please share your recipes. I would love to read about the exciting ways you make your quinoa.

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