Nutrition facts and health benefits

Quinoa has gained great popularity as a health food in the United States and other Western countries, although people have been cultivating it in South America since ancient times (1).

In fact, hundreds of years ago, the Inca people considered this ancient grain a sacred food.

In the past two decades, quinoa’s popularity has grown exponentially with the high demand for easy-to-grow, nutritious, and gluten-free grain alternatives.

Quinoa is not only nutrient dense, but may provide health benefits as well.

This article discusses 8 health benefits of quinoa and offers tips on how to incorporate it into your diet.

Quinoa is a grain crop grown for its edible seeds. These seeds are what we call quinoa – pronounced KEEN-Wah.

Although it is usually grouped with cereal grains, such as oats and barley, quinoa is actually a false grain (2).

In other words, it is basically a seed that is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain. Other examples of false grains include buckwheat and amaranth (2).

There are many types of quinoa, including red, black, and white (3).

Here’s a nutrient breakdown for 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa (4):

  • Calories: 222
  • protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 3.55 g
  • carbohydrates: 39 grams
  • the basic: 5 grams
  • Folic acid: 19% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the daily value
  • Vitamin E: 8% of the daily value
  • copper: 39% of the daily value
  • iron: 15% of the daily value
  • Zinc: 18% of the daily value
  • Manganese: 51% of the daily value
  • magnesium: 28% of the Daily Value
  • Potassium: 7% of the daily value
  • Phosphorous: 22% of the Daily Value

Quinoa is a good source of a number of important nutrients, including folic acid, magnesium, zinc and iron.

They are also rich in fiber and protein, nutrients that play an important role in helping you feel full (5).

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Quinoa is an edible seed that is becoming increasingly popular. It’s loaded with several important nutrients, including fiber, protein, folic acid, and magnesium.

The health effects of real foods go beyond the vitamins and minerals they provide.

For example, quinoa contains many plant compounds that may benefit health in many ways.

Two particularly well-studied flavonoid plant compounds are quercetin and kaempferol. These are the main flavonoids found in quinoa (6).

Quercetin and kaempferol have anti-inflammatory qualities and act as antioxidants in the body, which means that they help protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals (6).

Consuming more foods rich in flavonoids such as quinoa may help promote overall health and protect against some diseases and deaths in general (7).

By including nutritious foods like quinoa in your diet, you will significantly increase your total intake of these and other antioxidant compounds.

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Quinoa contains flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

Another important benefit of quinoa is its high fiber content.

One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contains 5.18 grams of fiber. This is about 18% of the current daily value of 28 grams (4).

Quinoa contains more fiber than many other common grains, such as brown rice.

For example, one cup (195 grams) of cooked brown rice contains 3.51 grams of fiber, which is 1.67 grams less than the same serving size of quinoa (8).

Adding high-fiber foods like quinoa to your diet can help support digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut (9).

In addition, eating a diet rich in fiber can support a healthy weight for you. Fiber helps promote feelings of fullness. Pairing high-fiber foods like quinoa with foods high in protein can help you feel full and may help keep your portion sizes in check (9).

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Quinoa is rich in fiber, an important nutrient for health. Adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet can help support gut health, maintain body weight, and more.

Some people with gluten intolerance, including those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, need to avoid foods containing gluten (10).

People who follow a gluten-free diet need to choose gluten-free alternatives to gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, and rye.

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and is a nutritious option for people who want or need to cut gluten from their diet.

Unlike gluten-free products made with refined ingredients, quinoa is a good source of nutrients often lacking in gluten-free diets, such as (11):

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Quinoa is naturally gluten-free. Using it in place of processed gluten-free foods can increase the nutritional value of your diet when you avoid gluten.

Quinoa is a good source of protein, providing 8 grams per cooked cup (185 grams) (4).

Quinoa is often referred to as a complete protein. This is because it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own.

However, experts are of the view that quinoa should not be considered a complete protein because it contains low amounts of some amino acids, such as lysine (12).

For this reason, experts have suggested that quinoa is considered an “almost complete” protein, not a complete protein (12).

Either way, quinoa is a good source of protein — and incorporating quinoa into your diet can help you meet your daily protein needs.

This is especially true for those who follow vegetarian diets, such as vegetarians. You can prepare a protein-rich vegetarian meal in no time by combining quinoa, beans, tofu, and mixed vegetables.

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Quinoa is a good source of protein and can help you meet your daily protein needs.

Many people do not get enough of some important nutrients.

For example, studies show that many children and adults do not get enough vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, potassium, iron, and magnesium (13And 14).

Additionally, studies estimate that 95% of American adults and children do not consume the recommended amount of fiber. Not getting enough fiber can affect your health in several ways (15).

Quinoa is rich in fiber, as well as many vitamins and minerals that are low in many people’s diets.

Eating quinoa regularly can help you meet your needs for magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber and folic acid, a vitamin that is especially important during pregnancy due to its role in fetal growth and development (14).

It’s important to note that quinoa contains antioxidants, including:

  • saponins
  • tannins
  • phytic acid

It can bind to certain nutrients such as iron and magnesium and reduce their absorption (16).

However, by rinsing, soaking, or sprouting quinoa before cooking, you can reduce the anti-nutrient content and make these minerals more bioavailable (16).

Quinoa is also rich in oxalates. This may cause concerns if you have frequent kidney stones because oxalate can contribute to this condition (17And 18).

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Quinoa is very high in minerals, but it also contains some anti-nutrients such as saponins and phytic acid. Rinsing, soaking, and sprouting helps reduce these anti-nutrient compounds.

Some studies suggest that eating quinoa can benefit certain aspects of health.

In a 2020 study of 40 older adults, participants ate 0.5 ounces (15 grams) of quinoa flour biscuits daily for 28 days.

By the end of the study, participants who ate the quinoa crackers had significantly lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol and body weight than those who ate the wheat cracker (19).

Additionally, studies have found that eating quinoa and quinoa products may benefit (20And 21):

  • blood sugar regulation
  • fullness
  • body weight
  • triglyceride levels

In a 2017 study of 50 overweight or obese people, participants consumed 1.8 ounces (50 grams) of quinoa daily for 12 weeks.

Those who consumed quinoa had significantly lower triglyceride levels compared to the control group and the group that consumed 0.88 ounces (25 grams) of quinoa daily (21).

Although these findings suggest that quinoa has a positive effect on metabolic health, it is your diet and lifestyle as a whole that is most important when it comes to reducing your risk of disease.

Eating a diet rich in nutritious foods like quinoa, vegetables, fruits, fish and beans is a smart way to protect your health and reduce disease risk factors, such as high levels of blood fats and high levels of blood sugar.

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When enjoyed as part of a well-rounded diet, quinoa can help support overall health and may improve some disease risk factors, such as high levels of blood fats.

Although it is not a direct health benefit, the fact that quinoa is easy to incorporate into your diet is still important.

Quinoa is also delicious and goes well with many foods.

Depending on the type of quinoa, it may be important to rinse it with water before cooking it to get rid of the saponins. These ingredients are naturally found on the outer layer and can have a bitter taste.

However, some brands have already been rinsed out, making this step unnecessary. Additionally, you can buy sprouted quinoa, which has a low antinutrient content and can help improve nutrient absorption (16And 22).

You can buy quinoa at most health food stores and many supermarkets.

How to cook quinoa

It can be ready to eat in as little as 15-20 minutes. To cook it:

  1. Rinse 1 cup (170 grams) of quinoa thoroughly using a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Put 2 cups (240 ml) of water in a pot and set the heat to high.
  3. Add the washed quinoa with a pinch of salt.
  4. Boil for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Enjoy.

It should have absorbed most of the water by now and had a fluffy appearance. If done correctly, it should have a mild, nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch.

You can easily find many different recipes for quinoa online, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes.

You can use quinoa in both sweet and savory recipes.

For example, you can try making delicious quinoa, vegetable salad topped with feta cheese, and grilled chicken. Or make a sweet breakfast porridge with cooked quinoa, coconut milk, fresh fruit, walnuts, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey.

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Quinoa is widely available, and you can use it in many different dishes, including both sweet and savory options. Just be sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove compounds called saponins – these can taste bitter.

Quinoa is growing in popularity in Western countries, but people in South America have been eating this ancient grain for thousands of years.

It is technically a seed and is considered part of a small group of grains called pseudocereals, along with amaranth and buckwheat.

It’s a smart carbohydrate choice because it’s rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and protein. It’s also gluten-free, delicious, versatile, and incredibly easy to prepare.

Quinoa is a great carbohydrate choice to include in your diet.

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