A staple of the ancient Incas who revered it as sacred, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is not a true grain, but a seed. Surprisingly, it is related to spinach and Swiss chard. If you’re not already enjoying this delicious food, here are 7 reasons to start.
1. Unlike most grains quinoa is a complete protein. Most grains lack one or more of the essential amino acids, making them incomplete. Quinoa packs an amino acid punch.
2. Quinoa is rich in nutrients, including: manganese, iron, magnesium, B-vitamins, and fiber.
3. In studies, quinoa is a proven aid for migraine sufferers, likely due to its magnesium and riboflavin content. Magnesium helps relax muscles and riboflavin helps reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells.
4. Like its grain counterparts, quinoa lessens the risk for heart disease and helps with heart arrhythmias.
5. It contains the building blocks for superoxide dismutase—an important antioxidant that helps protect the energy centers of your cells from free radical damage.
6. It cooks in under 20 minutes, making it a much healthier alternative than white rice and much faster than most whole grains.
7. It is versatile. Add coconut or almond milk to cooked quinoa for a delicious hot breakfast “cereal.” Add cooked vegetables like onions, red peppers, and squash with a few herbs for a delicious meatless meal. Or, add finely chopped onion, cucumber, green peppers, tomatoes with some oregano and lemon juice for a delicious and satisfying take on Greek salad.
8. It is gluten-free for anyone suffering from celiac or autoimmune disorders.
9. It’s a good source of the amino acid tryptophan. You know, the one that helps with melatonin production which helps improve sleep quality.
10. Quinoa is high in lysine, which helps with tissue repair and growth. It also helps ward off cold sores.
11. Quinoa is rich in fiber, which may help protect against gallstones, according to the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
12. It may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes thanks to its magnesium stores. Magnesium helps activate over 500 enzymes in your body, including those involved in insulin secretion and the body’s use of sugar.
How to Cook Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
1-1/2 cups water or stock
Add the quinoa and water or stock to a small pot. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
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