You’ll find it in the menus of healthy restaurants, in the health and gluten-free sections of grocery stores and in YouTube vlogs of healthy and easy recipes endorsed by nutritionists and fitness freaks. Notice a common theme here? Quinoa has been taking the health-food world by storm with the seeds being powdered, puffed, boiled and steamed. With only commercial grains like wheat, rice and corn being familiar to most of us, it’s hard to tell which new food-group trend is a fad and which isn’t.
Here’s what we know of quinoa’s origins in short. It is a purple-flower bearing plant that dates back to 3000-5000 BC when it was grown and domesticated by the people of America. A staple in most ancient civilizations, it was called the ‘mother grain’ by the Incas. Fast-forward to a few years later and cereals replaced the seed. Now that it has come back with a bang we’re looking at reasons why people have been replacing regular grains with Quinoa.
1. It’s A ‘Superfood’
Going by the definition of a superfood- food that’s high in nutrition and is good for health- Quinoa outdoes itself. High in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin E and antioxidants, Quinoa’s an easy alternative to having supplements and can be incorporated into a regular diet. It’s also rich in fiber which is extremely important for a healthy digestive system.
2. It’s A Complete Protein
For those on a plant-based diet, finding grains that are complete proteins, i.e that contain all 9 essential amino acids is hard. Quinoa tops the list of complete plant-based protein sources with 13 grams of protein per 100 grams of the seed.
3. It’s Versatile
Quinoa can be eaten in the place of rice, can be used instead of regular flour and can replace certain grains in regular food recipes including the Indian upma, dosa and daliya. It can also be puffed and eaten like popcorn and be cooked to make cutlets and pakodas. Quinoa flakes have also come out which replace traditional rolled oats and can be cooked the same way. It a nutty flavour that adds a twist to most recipes.
4. It’s Aids In Weight-loss
Quinoa is low in calories with approximately 200 calories per 100 gms but that’s not the only reason it’s touted as the grain/seed for those looking to lose some pounds. The high fiber in the grain helps keep the digestive system going good, thus reducing bloating and making you feel full while the high protein content keeps the cravings away for a long time as well. It also has a low glycemic index and is known to make one’s metabolism faster.
5. It’s Gluten-Free
Botanically, quinoa is related to Spinach, Chards and Beets. It isn’t technically a grain, since the part we do eat is the seed and this is why it’s gluten free. Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease, common, but often undiagnosed health-issues are the top reasons for going gluten-free today. Those with Dermatitis Herpetiformis- a skin related ailment are also advised to stay off of gluten. Many people, however, believe that a gluten-free diet is also a healthier diet compared to most other diets. Quinoa is a staple for a gluten-free diet.
Include this super-food into your diet now by heading to Qtrove.com