12 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Quinoa (Plus Delicious Recipes)
Did you know...
The quinoa plant dates back 3,000 to 5,000 years BC when it was first domesticated by the peoples of America, according to existing historical evidence.
Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire. They referred to it as the "mother of all grains" and believed it to be sacred.
It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only became trendy and reached "superfood status" a few years ago.
This grain has become popular among health-conscious people for its numerous benefits, including large amounts of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.
It is also high in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and various antioxidants.
There are 3 types of quinoa:
White quinoa is the most common form available in stores. It is also called “ivory quinoa”.
Despite the common supply of white quinoa, red quinoa holds its shape after cooking a little bit better than white quinoa. This makes it more suitable for cold salads, where a distinct grain is particularly desirable.
Black quinoa, on the other hand, is a bit sweeter and earthier than both and it keeps its striking black color when cooked.
Quinoa is not actually a grain at all. We cook and eat quinoa like many other grains, but botanically speaking, it is a relative of spinach, chard, and beets. The part we eat is actually the seed, cooked like rice, which is why quinoa is gluten free.
Quinoa is one of the most popular health foods in the world.
It is rich in protein, and one of the few plant foods containing all 9 essential amino acids.
Health benefits of quinoa include, but are not limited to:
● A composition of an exceptional balance of protein, fat, and oil as well as its vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids, making it a highly nutritious food.
● Quercetin and Kaempferol - two flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and antidepressant effects.
● Rich in fiber - helps reduce the risk of a number of health conditions such as constipation, heart disease (by lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol), and hemorrhoids.
● High in essential amino acids - it offers all essential amino acids in a healthy balance, including Lysine, which is considered a "complete" protein.
● Has a low glycemic index - quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is under the 55 required to be considered a food that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
● Rich in magnesium - which helps the body prevent such diseases as osteoporosis and heart disease, while helping balance blood pressure.
● Rich in iron - which is essential for brain function and muscles as well as for preventing anemia
● Rich in manganese - The symptoms of being low on manganese include having high blood pressure levels, high cholesterol levels, neurological problems, hearing impairments, and more. The number one cause of running a manganese deficiency is not eating enough foods that are rich in it. That’s why making quinoa a part of the lifestyle is a good idea.
● Packed with potassium - increased potassium intake is important for managing
hypercalciuria and kidney stones and is likely to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
● Supports weight loss - due to the fact that it is rich in protein which increases metabolism and reduces appetite. High content of fiber helps to increase feeling of satiety.
● Has anti-inflammatory properties - contains many anti-inflammatory nutrients including saponins.
● Improves heart health - by providing heart- healthy monosaturated fat through its oleic acid content as well as alpha-linolenic acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Quinoa has a subtle nutty taste that makes it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen.
QUINOA STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
● 3 cups cooked quinoa
● 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles
● 1 cup corn kernels
● 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
● 1/2 cup petite diced tomatoes
● 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese - organic
● 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
● 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
● 1 teaspoon cumin
● 1 teaspoon garlic powder
● 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
● 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
● Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
● 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Spoon the filling into each bell pepper cavity.
5. Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes.
6. Serve immediately.
BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST QUINOA
● 2 cups 2% milk - grass fed
● 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
● 1 vanilla bean, seeded
● 2 cups cooked quinoa
● 1 cup blueberries
● 1/4 cup sliced almonds
● 1 tablespoon honey
1. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together milk, cinnamon and vanilla bean seeds.
2. Scoop the quinoa evenly into serving bowls.
3. Serve immediately with milk mixture, topped with blueberries, almonds and a drizzle of honey
● 1/2 cup raw pistachios
● 8 ounces green beans and/or wax beans
● 4 ounces sugar snap peas
● Kosher salt
● 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh tender herbs (such as parsley, chives, basil, tarragon, and dill)
● 1/3 cup olive oil
● 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
● 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
● Freshly ground black pepper
● 2 small or 1 large head of broccoli, florets chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
● 2 cups pea shoots (tendrils)
● 1 cup cooked quinoa (from about 1/3 cup raw)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Toast pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
3. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
4. Meanwhile, cook green beans and sugar snap peas in a pot of salted boiling water until no longer raw but still very crunchy, about 2 minutes.
5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water and let sit until cold, about 3 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and thinly slice into bite-size pieces.
6. Blend herbs, oil, vinegar, mustard, and 2 tablespoons toasted pistachios in a blender, adding water by the tablespoonful if dressing is too thick, until smooth and the consistency of heavy cream.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Toss beans, peas, broccoli, pea shoots, quinoa, and remaining toasted pistachios in a medium bowl to combine.
9. Drizzle salad with dressing and toss again to nicely coat everything
10. Season with salt and pepper.