The Health Benefits of Quinoa
How quinoa will benefit you
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a type of cereal, actually a seed of a leafy plant (it is not derived from the family of grasses and therefore is not a true cereal). It originates from South America. The Incas called it 'the mother of all grain' (though technically it is not a grain).
It is unique because it is entirely gluten-free, contains all the essential amino-acids (unlike most other plants), is high in protein, very high in fiber, and an excellent source of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, Vitamin E and other anti-oxidants. It does not contain cholesterol./p>
It is therefore an excellent food with many health benefits
It is a superfood.
It can be cooked, fried, steamed or even eaten raw.
- Quinoa can be used as a replacement of other sources of gluten
One of the most interesting fact about quinoa is that it is a totally gluten-free food. People who cannot eat gluten because they suffer 'gluten intolerance' or celiac disease (reaction of the immune system to the intake of gluten which can affect the digestive system, bones, muscles) can eat quinoa to replace the common gluten sources (wheat and related grains) and aid in the management of gluten intolerance while maintaining a proper energy intake.
- It improves digestion and weight loss
While further investigation is still needed, it has been shown that quinoa extracts or seeds added to the diet can modify absorption of fat and energy intake. This effect could potentially be helpful to manage diets rich in fat, as well as medical problems related to increased fat intake, so common in our modern societies. Thus, it may lower the risk of developing gallstones by reducing the production of excess bile. Quinoa can therefore potentially help optimize digestion and energy intake and expenditure, and assist in managing your body weight and fat content. The high fiber level is excellent for the digestive system.
- It is rich in high quality proteins.
Quinoa is very rich in high quality proteins, making quinoa an exceptional source for proteins. A high intake of these proteins has been shown to positively influence health by reducing illnesses related to aging, repairing tissues of the body from the daily breakdown of tissues by the body, potentially reducing the risks of cancers, and strengthening the immune system. It is an optimum way to increase your intake of plants proteins, of great benefit your health. It is excellent therefore for vegetarians and vegans.
- It has a very high mineral content
Quinoa is also rich in various minerals especially magnesium. It is also rich in calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, managanese and phosphorus. As it is rich in calcium, it contributes to strong bones and teeth. To get the best out of quinoa you should soak the quinoa for a while before cooking it. This is because it also contains an acid that tends to bind the minerals which are therefore not readily released (so not all absorbed).
- It is a powerful anti-oxidant
Quinoa has one of the highest anti-oxidant concentrations of any food. This is helpful in combatting disease and aging.
- It helps you feel satisfied for longer after a meal and more energetic
The carbohydrates (polysaccharides) in quinoa are complex sugars which keep you feeling satisfied longer after the meal, tend to stop sudden rapid increase in blood sugar levels, and with anti-oxidant properties may also play a role in the regulation of the immune system. As quinoa is rich in such carbohydrates, more energy is produced by their digestion.
- It is rich in fiber
This too contributes to feeling of satiety (feeling satisfied for longer after a meal), is very helpful for digestion, contributes to weight loss and may play a role in reducing the risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal woman.
- It can contribute to reduction in cholesterol levels
The fiber in quinoa combines with cholesterol from the liver; the liver then replenishes the supply by drawing cholesterol from the blood, thus lowering the blood level.
- It may help reduce stress and headaches
The magnesium and B vitamins relax the blood vessels, potentially contributing to lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and reducing pain of migraine. This may also potentially be helpful for asmatics.
- It reducest the risk of asthma in children
Some studies have shown that eating quinoa (and other whole grains) may reduce the risk of developing asthma in childhood by as much as 50%.
Quinoa therefore is an excellent supplement to your diet which will undoubtedly benefit your health in many ways, including the health of your heart, your digestive system, your immune system and your general overall health. It is ideal to add to a weight loss program.
The gluten-free diet: safety and nutritional quality. Saturni L, Ferretti G, Bacchetti T. Nutrients. 2010 Jan;2(1):16-34. doi: 10.3390/nu20100016. Epub 2010 Jan 14.
Quinoa extract enriched in 20-hydroxyecdysone affects energy homeostasis and intestinal fat absorption in mice fed a high-fat diet. Foucault AS, Even P, Lafont R, Dioh W, Veillet S, Tomé D, Huneau JF, Hermier D, Quignard-Boulangé A. Physiol Behav. 2014 Apr 10;128:226-31. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.02.002. Epub 2014 Feb 15.
Effect of quinoa seeds (Chenopodium quinoa) in diet on some biochemical parameters and essential elements in blood of high fructose-fed rats. Paśko P, Zagrodzki P, Bartoń H, Chłopicka J, Gorinstein S. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Dec;65(4):333-8. doi: 10.1007/s11130-010-0197-x.
Incorporation of whole, ancient grains into a modern Asian Indian diet to reduce the burden of chronic disease. Dixit AA, Azar KM, Gardner CD, Palaniappan LP. Nutr Rev. 2011 Aug;69(8):479-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00411.x.
Antioxidant and anticancer activities of Chenopodium quinoa leaves extracts - in vitro study. Gawlik-Dziki U, Świeca M, Sułkowski M, Dziki D, Baraniak B, Czyż J. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jul;57:154-60. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.03.023. Epub 2013 Mar 26.
Characterisation of phenolics, betanins and antioxidant activities in seeds of three Chenopodium quinoa Willd. genotypes. Tang Y, Li X, Zhang B, Chen PX, Liu R, Tsao R. Food Chem. 2015 Jan 1;166:380-8. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.06.018. Epub 2014 Jun 14.
Antioxidant and Immunoregulatory Activity of Polysaccharides from Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). Yao Y, Shi Z, Ren G. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Oct 23;15(10):19307-18. doi: 10.3390/ijms151019307.
Quinoa seeds leach phytoecdysteroids and other compounds with anti-diabetic properties. Food chemistry. Nov 15 2014;163:178-185. Graf BL, Poulev A, Kuhn P, Grace MH, Lila MA, Raskin I.
Chemical characterization, antioxidant, immune-regulating and anticancer activities of a novel bioactive polysaccharide from Chenopodium quinoa seeds. International journal of biological macromolecules. Jun 2017;99:622-629. Hu Y, Zhang J, Zou L, Fu C, Li P, Zhao G.
Prebiotics and the health benefits of fiber: current regulatory status, future research, and goals. The Journal of nutrition. May 2012;142(5):962-974. Brownawell AM, Caers W, Gibson GR, et al.
Nutritional and health benefits of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). Journal of Cereal Science. 2016(69):371-376. Navruz-Varli SS, Nevin.