Have you heard of quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah)? It’s a food gaining popularity in the United States for its incredible health benefits. if you don’t see a wide variety of this seed in your grocery stores yet, give it some time. It will be all over the place before you know it.
Sometimes Referred to as “The Mother of All Grains”
Quinoa has been a staple of the South American diet for centuries. There are 120 different kinds of quinoa, but the most popular are the white, red and black varieties.
There has been little research on quinoa, but the research that has been done reveals quinoa’s incredible nutrient content. Who knows what other wonderful things this tiny seed can do for our health!
What’s So Good About Quinoa?
Aside from it having a really great name, quinoa has more fiber, minerals, protein and antioxidants than most grains out on the market today! Although quinoa is technically a seed, it is a great grain substitute. It is also gluten-free, and the best news for diabetics is that quinoa has been shown to maintain blood sugar levels.
Quinoa Health Benefits
Here is a basic nutritional breakdown of cooked quinoa per cup in comparison to cooked, white, medium-grain rice per cup:
Calories – quinoa will give you about 222 calories while white rice clocks in at 242.
Total Fat – although white rice has less than one gram of fat, quinoa has four grams of healthy fats that help to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.
Sodium – the only advantage white rice may have over quinoa is its zero sodium content. Quinoa contains 13mg of sodium.
Total Carbs – when it comes to carb control, quinoa is a hands down winner. White rice has 53 grams of carbohydrates with only one gram allotted to fiber. Quinoa will enrich your diet with 14 less grams of carbohydrates, with five of those grams giving you 21% of your daily recommended fiber.
Protein – quinoa provides a surprisingly high amount of protein for a “grain.” Quinoa will give you seven grams of fiber. White rice will only give you four grams.
Vitamin A – white rice gets no points in these categories. Quinoa will give you 10% of your vitamin A intake.
Calcium: – white rice will give you about 1% your daily value of calcium. Quinoa surpasses white rice once again with 4% of your calcium value in its little seeds.
Quinoa is also low on the glycemic index, so it won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar when you eat it.
How To Prepare Quinoa
Similar to rice, quinoa is very easy to prepare. Boil two cups of water and stir in a cup of quinoa. Cover the pot and let the quinoa simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. That’s it! Feel free to add seasonings to give quinoa a desired flavor because like rice, quinoa is bland on its own.
There are few cooking limitations when it comes to quinoa. You can use it as a side, make it into a salad, or add it to soups, stews and chilies!