Quinoa: 9 Health & Nutritional Benefits

Quinoa: 9 Health & Nutritional Benefits
Quinoa - Health and Nutritional Benefits

"Quinoa is a good source of protein, fiber, iron, copper, thiamin and vitamin B6," said Kelly Toups, a registered dietician with the Whole Grains Council. It’s also "an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and folate." Toups emphasized that a "'good source' means that one serving provides at least 10 percent of the daily value of that nutrient, while 'excellent source' means that one serving provides at least 20 percent of the daily value of that nutrient."

Often used as a substitute for rice, quinoa is commonly considered to be a grain and is usually referred to as such, but is actually a seed. "The yellowish pods are the seed of a plant called Chenopodium quinoa, native to Peru and related to beets, chard and spinach," wrote Nicole Spiridakis in a story for NPR. When cooked, quinoa is soft and fluffy, with a slightly nutty taste. It can also be made into flour, flakes and various foods like pasta and bread, according to the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council.

White Quinoa, Red Quinoa, and Black Quinoa
White Quinoa, Red Quinoa, and Black Quinoa

1. Contains All Amino Acids
One of the most impressive qualities of Quinoa is its protein make-up. It’s not animal source of protein but boasts some pretty good numbers. The protein alone would be enough to eat it, but it contains all 8 of the amino acids that your body needs to truly function at its best. There are supplements out there that you can buy to get all of those amino acids in one place, or you can start eating Quinoa daily to get them from a natural food source.

2. High in Fiber
The fiber content in Quinoa is what gets many people interested in eating it. If you have trouble thinking of ways to increase your fiber and have resorted to buying and eating fiber bars or fiber fortified cereals to get the job done, you might be better off getting a supply of Quinoa. It contains a fifth of how much fiber you need each day in every one cup serving. That’s pretty impressive considering that most Quinoa recipes are filled with other foods like black beans that have a good amount of fiber so you can get a substantial portion of your fiber needs met in one meal.

3. High in Riboflavin
Riboflavin is also known as Vitamin B2, part of the family of B Vitamins and responsible for providing much needed antioxidants to assist the body with a number of functions. It also helps with enzyme performance and oxygen delivery throughout the entire body. It’s a pretty important vitamin. Six percent of your daily needs per 100 grams of Quinoa might not sound like a lot, but many foods contain a bit of riboflavin, so it adds up throughout the day, Quinoa just gives it a nice contributing boost.

4. Contains Lysine
One special amino acid that Quinoa contains is called Lysine. Lysine is usually found in sports supplements by those trying to add lean muscle to their body. It’s been said to also help strengthen the immune system, so Quinoa is great to eat during those months when everyone seems to be getting sick. It’s also been proven to help raise serotonin levels, which is a way to help you feel more relaxed and get into a calm state. Instead of using a supplement to get it, you can simply start eating more Quinoa.

5. Rich in Manganese
Manganese is something you definitely don’t want to go without for any stretch of time, and with Quinoa you won’t have to because it provides almost half of what you need in just one serving. The symptoms of being low on manganese include having high blood pressure levels, high cholesterol levels, neurological problems, hearing impairments, and more. The number one cause of running a manganese deficiency is not eating enough foods that are rich in it. That’s why making Quinoa a part of your lifestyle is a good idea.

6. Has Antiseptic Properties
During the processing of Quinoa there are saponins which are removed from it and then reused as an antiseptic, as well as a detergent. This shows just one more aspect of this superseed. There is some misperception as to what Quinoa is exactly, whether it’s a grain or a seed. The part that is edible is the seed, which makes it great for grain-free diets and diet plans. But the plant that it grows on is grain-like which causes the confusion. There are many benefits to the plant, and it shows just how versatile it can be, much the same way aloe can be eaten, and used to treat the skin.

7. Supports a Gluten-Free Diet
When you’ve gone gluten free either for medical reasons or for dietary ones, you’ll quickly find out that while there may be more GF options than there were a decade ago, there is still a lot of room for more products. In the meantime you can stay gluten-free by using Quinoa. It’s not a grain, it’s a seed, and it doesn’t contain any wheat or gluten in it, so you can feel free to enjoy it in loads of different Quinoa recipes without worrying if it’s going to upset your system.

8. Helps You Avoid Getting Fat
The fiber in Quinoa helps the body get rid of unneeded fat, while also helping you to eat less by making you feel fuller longer. This will help you eat less overall, as well as help your digestive system process. The overall result is that if you have a problem with overeating, or a sluggish digestion, Quinoa can help on both counts. The results of adding Quinoa to your diet can typically be felt right away, as you start to feel lighter both by not eating as much, and having more regularity than you currently do.

9. Helps Lower Cholesterol
It’s the fiber once again that provides the benefits here, this time helping to lower your cholesterol. Many people resort to cholesterol-lowering drugs, and it’s always important to listen to your doctor’s advice. But with dietary changes and you doctor’s guidance you can avoid or reduce the amount of medication you have to take to keep your cholesterol in check. Quinoa makes it easy since it’s can be used in a myriad of ways, and you won’t feel like you’re eating a special diet of any sort, or missing out on the foods you love.


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