Did you know that the year 2013 has been declared “The International Year of the Quinoa”? This declaration was pronounced by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – so not just some arbitrary or fly-by-night organization. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a grain-like food that is swiftly gaining the reputation of being a superfood. Quinoa has been singled out by the FAO due to its extremely high nutritive content. Some of the amazing properties of quinoa that make it so nutritious are:
- Extremely high concentration of flavonoids (in particular quercetin and kaempferol) – even higher than berries like cranberries and lignonberries. These are highly anti-inflammatory, reducing all types of inflammation-related problems, including obesity.
- Contains high amounts of heart-healthy fats (monounsaturated fat and Omega-3)
- Quinoa is a very high-nutrient, but LOW-CALORIE food
- Though most grains are considered fairly low in protein, quinoa (not technically a grain, but a vegetable seed) is high in good quality protein and contains all essential amino acids.
- Quinoa contains twice as much fiber as other grains.
- Quinoa is high in iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin, manganese and is gluten-free.
- It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar
Now that you know some of the benefits of eating quinoa (there are many more), here’s how to incorporate it into your daily diet.
- Cook it and use it anywhere in place of rice. Simply put 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water into a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer on low until all the water is absorbed. Then substitute it for rice in any of your favorite dishes.
- Add some nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa, and serve as a healthy porridge for breakfast.
- Add to any soup that you are cooking to make it a super-soup!
- Get some ground quinoa flour and add it to your favorite cookie recipe. Note that if you substitute ALL of the flour for quinoa flour, the result will be a heavier product.
- Mix it with other grains such as barley, add some tomatoes and peppers and some light dressing for a nice grain salad.
If you don’t already have any quinoa recipes in mind, or want to try something new, you can find 15 delicious quinoa recipes at Cooking Light.
Quinoa has a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked which is quite pleasant. It is great as a substitute for rice with chili, or served with fish or chicken. It also makes excellent salads!
Incorporating quinoa into your diet is actually very easy, and the benefits of doing so are extremely obvious. So next time you cook, cook with quinoa!