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Quinoa generally grows to a height between 1m to 3m in length, producing grains every year that can grow in various colors such as white, yellow, pink, orange, red, brown, and black. It technically isn’t a cereal grain, but a pseudo-cereal, actually, it is basically a ‘seed’ which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain. The grains can be consumed whole as well as in the form of a flour. Quinoa is the world’s most popular ‘superfood.’It provides various health benefits, some of which are discussed below.
Quinoa has antioxidant properties that help in protecting the heart, liver, kidney, lungs, and pancreas against oxidative stress. When compared with other pseudocereals, such as amaranth, quinoa has higher antioxidant activity. Some of the antioxidants found in quinoa include total phenolics, polyphenols, and anthocyanins. Sprouts of quinoa have also shown significant antioxidant activity.
The Quinoa plant has been highly regarded for its high protein value, not because it has very high protein, but rather because it is a source of essential amino acids like lysine, methionine, and tryptophan, all of which cannot be synthesized in the body.
Quinoa seeds can be beneficial in regulating blood glucose levels and blood cholesterol levels. A study on high fructose-fed rats indicated that the consumption of quinoa seeds can help in reducing the adverse effects of fructose on both the glucose level and lipid profile.
The amount of calcium found in quinoa is similar to that of dairy products, but it has been pointed out that those who are intolerant of dairy products can eat quinoa. Calcium is very important for the bones, brain, and nervous system.
Quinoa is a pseudocereal that contains high-quality proteins and carbohydrates with low glycemic value, along with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as antioxidants. It is also considered good for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in the future. Trials on young and middle-aged people confirmed a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Quinoa contains insoluble fiber, which helps to improve the digestive process and facilitates healthier bowel movements. This further helps in reducing the risk of flatulence, bloating, pain, constipation, and gas.
The fiber found in quinoa also helps in reducing the risk of gallstones. The consumption of quinoa helps in reducing the secretion of bile juice, which aids in the formation of gallstones.
Magnesium is one of the trace elements found in quinoa. The dietary intake of magnesium provides benefits, including the control of asthma, increased bone health, a reduced risk of osteoporosis, an increase of heart health, and the regulation of blood sugar levels.
A study found that a high intake of wheat, oat, spaghetti, rice, and oat spaghetti induced more eating. On the other hand, alternatives, such as pseudocereals like quinoa and amaranthus, did not induce more eating. This is particularly important for those who want to control their diet and who want to lose weight. Consuming quinoa will reduce the excess intake of food, thereby promoting healthier weight.
Quinoa is naturally free of gluten and using it instead of typical gluten-free ingredients can increase the antioxidant and nutrient value of a gluten-free diet. Studies have shown that by using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free ingredients like refined tapioca, potato, corn and rice flour, it can dramatically increase the nutrient and antioxidant value of the diet. Quinoa is a suitable ingredient for a gluten-free diet, for people who don’t want to give up staples like breads and pasta.
Quinoa can be used variously such as, an ingredient in other main dishes, in various salads in cooked or raw form. It can also be consumed as a cereal with milk for breakfast. Add this superfood to your diet and reap its benefits.
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