In our world where grains of every kind—gluten-free or not—turn to sugar when you eat them, quinoa is a fabulous superfood you should make part of your diet. With its high fiber content and good quality protein, plus a wide variety of powerful health-giving compounds—from polyphenols, saponins and phytosterols to free radical scavengers—it’s not only yummy, but a great meat-free food to grace your table. It has very little carb content compared to all those stodgy grains and is far lower on the dangerous glycemic index.
Although it’s spelled “kwin-OH-a” you pronounce quinoa’s name as “KEEN-wa”. It has been a staple of South American diets for an amazing 4000 years. But not until 50 years ago did curious scientists start to investigate the nature of this food and discover that it comes as close as any other in the plant kingdom to supplying a vast array of the essential nutrients we humans need to thrive. This seed is high in magnesium to calm the body and reduce blood pressure. It brings you an abundance of good quality fiber when you eat it. Quinoa also contains a lot of anti-inflammatory compounds.
It is safe to eat even if you have delicate digestion, inflammatory bowel trouble, celiac disease or gluten intolerance. And it’s brimming with important minerals and vitamins from magnesium, zinc and phosphorous to vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folate. This makes quinoa an excellent choice for people savvy enough to go for foods that are low on the glycemic index, low-carb dieters, vegans, and all of us who need to increase our fiber intake.
Studies continue to report that eating quinoa brings us all sorts of health-promoting effects. It can help reduce high blood pressure, alleviate cardiovascular troubles, promote cellular energy production and act as a pre-biotic. Thanks to its high level of bio-active compounds, many also believe this unique natural food has the potential to help lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart conditions. At the University of Milan, researchers discovered it also satisfies your appetite far better than, say, wheat or rice. It promotes a sense of fullness, helping to alleviate your desire for more food and helping to halt weight gain.
The seeds of quinoa can also help reduce most of the negative effects that come from fructose on your lipid profile and glucose level. To discover what this wonderful non-grain can do for you, you need to know how to prepare and use it in your life. After all, the proof of any pudding is in the eating. And there is an art to preparing it.
Make sure the quinoa you buy is fresh and organic. Most of the stuff in supermarkets is neither, so shop in good, reliable organic food stores. Read labels carefully to check for both before you buy. Stale quinoa is dusty and can taste “dead” since it has lost so much of its goodness through food processing or just sitting on shelves for too long.
Courtesy Leslie Kenton