In recent years, quinoa has reached a surging popularity as one of the worlds most popular health foods.
Quinoa is a high-protein, gluten-free plant food that contains nearly all of the essential amino acids. High protein content alone is enough to garner the attention of most gym bros.
Quinoa is essentially a seed, but for nutritional purposes, it is considered a whole grain food.
The versatility of quinoa is wide. It can be eaten with meat, vegetables, fruits, and also as a breakfast food.
Although quinoa has only become really popular in recent years, it’s been a staple in the diets of South American countries long before.
So, let’s dive right into the benefits of quinoa.
The 8 Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa is grown for its edible seeds. Although, it is not a cereal grain but a pseudocereal. Meaning that it is a seed which is prepared in a similar fashion to grain as well as eaten in the same way.
Nutritional Content of Quinoa (per 1 cooked cup):
- Protein — 8 grams
- Carbs — 39 grams
- Fat — 4 grams
- Fiber — 5 grams
- 222 calories
The high fiber content that is present in quinoa can be highly beneficial to those who struggle with keeping their appetites under control as well as improving your bowel movement.
2. Low Glycemic Index
When dieting down, consuming carbs that have a high glycemic throughout the day will increase the presence of insulin throughout the body which could lead to fat gain.
By consuming carbs that have a low glycemic index, you’ll be able to keep your blood sugar levels down to a minimum, as well as your body fat.
However, when comes to post-training, consuming a low GI carb like quinoa will not provide as many benefits to you as consuming a high GI carb would.
3. Easily Incorporated Into Your Diet
When it comes to dieting, most of have a pretty boring meal plan, day after day. There’s only so much rice one can eat.
By adding some quinoa to your already prepared chicken and rice dish, you’ll be able to add versatility as well as some of the nutritional benefits of quinoa.
Or even yet, it could be thrown into a salad for some added texture.
4. High in Fiber Content
As noted earlier, quinoa is quite high in fiber content which brings about many health benefits.
A study looked at four different variants of quinoa and found that there was between 10-16 grams of fiber per every 100 grams of quinoa. However, the quinoa was uncooked.
This means that the fiber content decreases a little when cooked. It decreases down to about 1.5 grams per 100 grams of cooked quinoa.
5. It’s Gluten-Free
A gluten-free diet can be a positive step to take towards living a more healthy lifestyle, as long as the foods included in your gluten-free diet are naturally free from gluten and have not been made with refined starches.
These “gluten-free” foods may be free of gluten but they can still be just as unhealthy for you.
Studies have shown that by replacing your typical gluten-free foods with quinoa, the antioxidant and nutrient value of the meal or diet can increase drastically.
6. Contains Nearly All Amino Acids
As we already know, amino acids are the building blocks for protein and making gains. Without them, we’d have a pretty challenging time adding any sort of muscle gains to our frames.
With that being said, some amino acids are called essential and non-essential amino acids. Some are labeled as essential because our bodies are unable to produce these amino acids and so we have to get them through our diets.
Foods containing all the essential amino acids are called complete protein sources. This is solely due to the fact that they are complete with essential aminos.
Many plant foods are deficient in some nutrients and amino acids, specifically, lysine.
Although quinoa falls in the same boat, it is an exception due to the fact that it contains nearly all of the essential amino acids and is nearly a complete protein source.
This also makes it the obvious choice over other grain foods — the higher protein content as well as higher quality protein.
7. High In Iron and Magnesium
With all the fast-food joints available for our use and the array of processed foods that are around, most of the population lack certain minerals in their diets. The minerals that are mainly absent are magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium.
Quinoa contains all 4 of these minerals but contains more magnesium than the other minerals. One cup of quinoa contains around 30% of the RDA. Quinoa contains about 15% of the RDA for iron and 13% for zinc.
However, quinoa also contains something called phytic acid, which binds these minerals and negatively affects the absorption of them.
The effects of phytic acid can be reduced by soaking the quinoa before cooking it and thus making the mineral more available for absorption.
8. Contains High Amounts of Quercetin and Kaempferol
Quinoa contains flavonoids, plant antioxidants that have many benefits on our overall health.
There are two flavonoids in which quinoa is quite rich in — kaempferol and quercetin. Quinoa is actually higher in quercetin content than cranberries, which are a high-quercetin food.
These flavonoids are known to have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and anti-cancer effects. However, the studies were conducted in animal studies. That’s not to say that you can’t reap those benefits by adding quinoa to your daily diet.
Quinoa is an amazing food to add to your diet. Not only will it help to satisfy your caloric needs, it will keep your health in chech and ensure that your body functions as well as it was created to function.
Quinoa is higher in fiber and most other nutrients and minerals than your typical grain foods, which is a big point to consider when adding it to your diet. By the looks of it, you can’t go wrong by including quinoa into your daily meal plan.
Make the switch and never look back, all while reaping the health benefits of its properties.