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Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: March 9, 2021
If you didn’t already know, most quinoa enthusiasts are pretty biased, and when we say biased we mean this in the best way possible. What’s the fun of loving something and not being able to be totally in love with it. For most self-proclaimed addicts out there, life simply cannot be imagined without even a little of this fun and exciting little seed.
Quinoa is easily finding a place on the plates and in the hearts of addicts every day. Quinoa has impacted the lives of many and given them something to smile about every day and it positively impacts the health of many persons all around the globe. In essence, quinoa has helped thousands of people stay on track with their diets every time they’ve fallen off the wagon.
Read on as we dive into the top 10 quinoa facts that have inspired the non-believers of this ancient grain and all the newcomers as well.
What Is Quinoa Exactly?
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Quinoa is 100% gluten-free, it’s a whole protein, and it’s a whole-grain carbohydrate. In essence, more people are indulging in the rave about quinoa since it provides so many benefits to its users. However, most people are often confused when it comes to determining if quinoa is a whole grain or not.
From a technical point of view, quinoa comes from the Chenopodium quinoa plant and it’s actually a seed. This makes it a grain and not really a seed. Whole grains are those like barley and oats and usually come from grass extracts rather than plants. However, the manner in which it is consumed is similar to that of a whole grain.
Due to this, the nutritional world considers quinoa to be a whole grain. So, if you’re interested n getting more technical, quinoa is deemed as a pseudocereal. Pseudocereals are used to describe foods that are eaten and prepared in the way that whole grains are prepared and eaten. However, they are botanicals that result from grasses.
Even though the colloquial term is whole grain, that is slightly untrue.
Top 10 Quinoa Facts
- Most people believe that quinoa is a grain but it isn’t. Quinoa is actually a seed and it’s related to spinach and beets.
- When compared to white rice, quinoa has twice the dietary fiber.
- Quinoa is a complete protein since it has a complete range of nine essential amino acids.
- There are 8 grams in one cup of cooked quinoa.
- Quinoa cooks in under 15 minutes which is much faster than traditional brown rice which cooks in double the time.
- One daily serving of quinoa will provide you with your daily magnesium needs.
- While quinoa seems relatively new to most people, quinoa has been part of diets around the globe for over 4000 years.
- Over 80% of the worlds quinoa growth comes from Bolivia and Peru
- Quinoa contains four times more iron than brown rice.
- Quinoa has fortified minerals that contribute to building strong bones and fighting colds.
6 Proven Health Benefits Of Quinoa
1. Filled With Nutrients
Quinoa was one of the most important food sources from the era of the Incan Empire and they often referred to it as the mother of all grains. This was due to their belief that it was very sacred. Even though quinoa recently became a trend food, it was long known as a superfood. One cup of cooked quinoa contains the following nutrients:
- 8 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fiber
- Contains 58% of the daily recommended allowance of manganese
- 30% of the recommended daily dose of magnesium
- 19% of the daily folate content
- 28% of the phosphorous needed
- Quinoa supplies the body with 18% of the copper that is needed daily
- Users can benefit from 15% of iron that is given
- 13% of the recommended daily dose of zinc
- 9% of the recommended dose of potassium
- More than 10% of daily dosage for B1, B2, and B6
- Users can also benefit from the smaller amounts of vitamin E, calcium, and B3
2. Filled With Other Plant Compounds (Kaempferol And Quercetin)
Besides the thought of vitamin and mineral benefits, real foods provide users with thousands of trace elements. In essence, when quinoa is consumed, it provides thousands of trace elements and it even offers flavonoids that positively impact your health. These two flavonoids are known as kaempferol and quercetin.
When compared to other high-quercetin foods, quinoa has much more than other foods. Quercetin has tons of important anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-depressants molecules. So when quinoa is included in your diet, you will benefit from the antioxidants.
3. Higher In Fiber Than Other Grains
Quinoa has a massively high fiber content. Scientific studies have indicated that quinoa has up to 16 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of quinoa. Hence, each cup of quinoa is packed with 27 grams of fiber.
This whopping amount of fiber is more than twice as much as typical grains. However, when quinoa is boiled, the fiber content decreases since it absorbs water. While the overall fiber content is insoluble, quinoa still has a heaping serving of soluble fiber which leaves users benefiting from 2.5 grams in each cup. Soluble fiber is better for reducing cholesterol, helping with weight loss, increasing fullness, and reducing blood sugar levels.
4. 100% Gluten Free
Roughly a third of the American population are working each day to avoid gluten in their diets. However, most people run into problems when they switch to gluten-free foods that are filled with refined starches. From a simple point of view, foods that contain refined starches are not better than those laced with gluten.
Thus far, researchers are looking into substituting other ingredients with quinoa for those who are not interested in giving up foods such as pasta or bread. When quinoa is substituted for gluten-free ingredients such as rice flour, corn, and potato, it drastically increases the antioxidant and nutrient value of daily diets.
5. Filled With Essential Amino Acids
Since quinoa is filled with essential acids it is considered as a complete protein. When foods contain the full range of essential amino acids, they’re deemed as a complete protein. The main problem with plant-based foods is that most don’t contain some essential amino acids.
In the case of quinoa, you never have to worry because it’s filled with all of the essential amino acids that you need daily. This makes quinoa an excellent protein source and it has more protein than regular grains. As previously mentioned, quinoa contains roughly 8 grams of protein. So if you’re looking for a plant-based protein source, quinoa is the perfect option for you.
6. Quinoa Is Good For Controlling Blood Sugar Levels Since It Has A Low Glycemic Index
If you didn’t already know, the glycemic index gives an accurate measurement of how quickly certain foods raise your blood sugar levels. When you consume foods that are high on the glycemic index chart, they contribute to obesity and stimulate hungry sometimes beyond your control. Foods that are high on the glycemic index are directly linked to type 2 diabetes and even heart disease.
Quinoa has a relatively low glycemic index rated at 53. However, it should be noted that it has a high carb count. So if you’re sticking to a low carb diet, you’ll need to be cautious.
As we conclude, we’ve just looked at the top 10 quinoa facts. We have also looked at the top 6 health benefits of quinoa and how it can impact your daily diet. Quinoa is considered a superfood since it’s packed with tons of minerals and vitamins. So if you’re looking to clean up your diet, incorporating quinoa daily is an excellent place to start.