Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’) is an ancient grain domesticated by the folks of South America. A pseudocereal, it is highly nutritious. Quinoa, as many other ancient grains, has not been altered or genetically modified in any form and has the natural ability to survive in harsh conditions. As it can grow with little water, it is environment-friendly.
Quinoa, is a complete source of protein, with 9 amino acids necessary for a healthy diet. It is a superfood known for its incredible nutrition. Loaded with natural protein, fiber and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization hails it as “the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids, trace elements, and vitamins and contains no gluten”.
Here are 6 remarkable health benefits of quinoa
- Quinoa is a nutritious grain: Here are the nutritional facts of quinoa (per100g)
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It also comes with 222 kcal and 4 grams of fats and in addition to this, it also contains traces of Omega-3 fatty acids (per100g).
- Quinoa contains bioactive compounds called Quercetin and Kaempferol: Quinoa is rich in flavonoids such as Quercetin and Kaempferol. These flavonoids are potent plant antioxidants. In fact, the Quercetin content of quinoa is higher than typical high quercetin foods like cranberries. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant It also helps neutralize free radicals and is believed to help fight aging and many other diseases.
- Quinoa has high fiber content compared to other grains: Quinoa has high fiber It has 1.5 grams of soluble fiber per 100 grams. Soluble fiber in quinoa helps reduce blood sugar level and bad cholesterol, and it increases fullness and helps with weight loss.
- Quinoa is a natural gluten free food: A gluten-free diet suits many people. Quinoa is not made of refined starch such as tapioca, potato, corn and rice flour. Therefore, including quinoa in your diet can elevate nutrients and anti-oxidant values for you.
- Quinoa is a protein-rich food: Quinoa contains about 9 essential amino acid and is thus a “complete” protein food.
- Quinoa is rich in minerals: A modern diet is incomplete without minerals and quinoa is rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. Although absorption of these minerals can be a little difficult as it contains phytic acid that binds these minerals. You can reduce the phytic acid content by soaking or sprouting the quinoa before cooking.
Apart from all these health benefits, quinoa is delicious to consume and can easily be incorporated into your diet. Here is a Nutrient Dense Spicy Quinoa Recipe.
There is a lot of potential for farmers of Meghalaya to grow quinoa, as this grain has incredible nutritional benefits and is grown organically. There is an upsurge of quinoa import into the European Union and it reached 20,038 tons in February 2016, which is why there is hope for farmers to grow quinoa. It is a win-win for consumers who are health conscious and for farmers looking for better returns.
Do you think quinoa can improve the livelihood of the farmers?
Yes. While rice and wheat consumptions are coming down, people need alternative grain. Quinoa can fill that gap and provide better revenue. At present farmers are getting four times more revenue for quinoa compared to rice. The prices may come down in future but the better variety of seeds improve the yields and provide good revenue for farmers. Moreover, quinoa needs less water and it does not a highly fertile soil either. In fact, it can even grow in salty soils. India needs some one million tons of Quinoa in the years ahead. Thus, quinoa can surely improve the live hood of farmers. – Dr. Srinivas Rao, a biotech and life science scientist
Read more of – Dr Srinivas Rao expertise on quinoa
Do you know of any health benefit of quinoa? Share it us in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!