Originated in the Andes of South America, quinoa is not yet quite prevalent but is gaining quickly in popularity as a highly nutritious hot cereal. It is a seedy whole grain that has a pleasant nutty flavor. Cooking quinoa in boiling water produces a creamy, fluffy porridge. However, though quinoa’s taste and texture are similar to grains, its plant origin and nutritional property are more related to that of beets, spinach and other leafy greens.
Low Fat, High Fiber and High Protein
Quinoa is one the best staple foods for weight loss. It is very low in fat calories and contains high levels of fiber and proteins. One cup of cooked quinoa is less than 200 calories with only 3 grams of fat. What’s better is that almost all of the fat in quinoa is unsaturated and is beneficial for your health.
Quinoa is less starchy than wheat or rice. Its carbohydrate content consists mostly of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Each cup of cooked quinoa can deliver more than 1/5 of your daily fiber needs. This property makes quinoa an ideal staple for people who are diabetic, overweight or have a predisposition for cardiovascular disorders.
Quinoa beats most other grains in terms of protein concentration. One cup of cooked quinoa gives you about 8 grams of protein. The further advantage is that the proteins in quinoa are made up of all varieties of essential amino acids, including lysine, which is not found in wheat or rice. Research have found that having quinoa can help you build leaner muscle mass and promote faster recovery after injuries or surgical procedures.
Faster Metabolism and Weight Loss
Besides its low-fat, high-fiber properties, the vitamin and mineral composition of quinoa is also extremely advantageous for weight loss success. Quinoa contains an abundance of B vitamins, which help promote faster metabolism and higher energy production. By taking these vitamins, you can raise your metabolic rate so that you burn more calories at rest. Plus, more fat is converted to energy than put in storage. Quinoa is also an excellent source of iron, which is needed for red blood cell production. Eating quinoa is an effective method to increase your blood oxygenation, giving you more vitality for better physical performance.
Quinoa has been hailed as a pro-heart food. Not only is it naturally cholesterol free, it is also concentrated with vitamin B6, folate and niacin, which all participate in blood cholesterol removal. The vitamin E in quinoa helps to protect your blood vessels from free-radical attacks and cholesterol damage, preventing the occurrence of atherosclerosis. Quinoa is also rich in magnesium. Magnesium regulates your blood pressure. A diet that is high in magnesium can significantly reduce your risk of hypertension. The combined efforts of these nutrients make quinoa a superfood for maintaining cardiovascular health and prevention of strokes and coronary heart diseases.
Quinoa contains an abundance of antioxidants. In addition to vitamin E, it is also high in zinc, copper and manganese. These antioxidants are highly active against microbial pathogens and can help prevent all sorts of infections and inflammations. Quinoa is also known to have anti-cancerous effects. Studies have shown that the antioxidants and phytonutrients in quinoa can help towards prevention and treatment of breast and liver cancers.