Quinoa isn’t just some hipster food, it’s actually incredibly nutritional and versatile. It’s a grain that’s grown and the seeds are eaten. It’s not quite a grass and not quite a cereal, but it’s related to other healthy vegetables like spinach and beetroot.
A common ingredient in vegetarian food, there’s no reason why carnivores and herbivores alike can’t enjoy quinoa. It can be served alongside meat, used in a wide range of cuisines, and it has a huge number of benefits. Here are the top ten reasons why you should start eating quinoa today.
1. It has an amazing nutrient breakdown
Ever wondered what quinoa actually offers you? This is a breakdown of the nutritional value of quinoa. Each percentage relates to your recommended daily allowance and the quantity is just one cup.
- Potassium – 9%
- Zinc – 13%
- Iron – 15%
- Copper – 18%
- Folate – 19%
- Phosphorus – 28%
- Magnesium – 30%
- Manganese – 58%
The same cup also contain five grams of fiber and eight grams of protein. All of this is much more than you’d get with a lot of other foods and it even gives you a vitamin boost containing vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E.
2. It’s low in calories
Not only is it good for you, it’s really low in calories, too–this makes it ideal if you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy body weight. One cup of quinoa is just 22 calories and contains only four grams of fat.
3. It’s versatile
Quinoa being versatile means it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. It goes well with pretty much any food you imagine and, just like couscous, you only need to cook it with water. Two cups of water and one cup of quinoa boiled for around 20 minutes will give you a healthy snack and it can be combined with any spices and vegetables you like to create a satisfying meal. It even works as a great side dish with steak and other meats.
Because it contains protein, it’s also fantastic for weight lifting and body building.
4. It keeps your blood cells healthy
With such a large amount of iron, quinoa can help keep your red blood cells healthy. Iron is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and the iron itself carries oxygen from cell to cell. Without it, brain function would suffer, muscles would suffer, and we would suffer with overall poor health. In short, quinoa gives you access to a mineral that is essential for your whole body to function properly and if you’re lacking iron in your current diet incorporating quinoa into your food will solve that problem and help give your body access to all the oxygen it needs.
5. It contains more fiber than many other grains
Out of all the grains that people regularly eat, quinoa is one of the best for its fiber content. Fiber is an essential nutrient that does much more than regulate your bowel movements–it actually keeps the heart healthy by reducing the risk of developing diabetes and helping reduce your blood pressure. It even lowers cholesterol and helps manage levels of glucose in your blood. It’s an essential part of our diet and quinoa gives you access to more of it than most other grains. A simple switch from one grain to quinoa can significantly improve your health with very little effort at all.
6. It’s rich in magnesium
Magnesium doesn’t seem like something we should have in our bodies, but it performs an essential function–relaxing our blood vessels. This allows blood to flow freely throughout the body, it reduces the chances of developing high blood pressure (which is not helped by restricted blood flow and vessels), and can even prevent migraines–which is great for those looking for a natural solution.
As if that all isn’t enough, magnesium helps prevent diabetes (Type 2), it improves transmission of nerve impulses, it aids detoxification within the body, and assists with the growth of healthy bones.
7. It’s full of antioxidants
Antioxidants prevent oxidizing damage within the body and quinoa is loaded with them. These essential antioxidants within quinoa help prevent aging allowing us to live healthier for longer. They also assist the body in the fight against a great range of diseases and, out of most cereals and legumes, quinoa wins on the levels of antioxidants it offers.
8. It helps you lose weight
By being so low in calories, and so filling, quinoa helps you lose weight. It’s high in protein which increases your metabolism and allows the body to break down foods more efficiently by separating what it needs and what it doesn’t. The protein also means that quinoa makes you feel full and reduces your appetite meaning you’ll be less likely to binge on chocolate and cakes after a meal.
9. It has a low glycemic index
This probably doesn’t mean much to a lot of people–so, in short, this means that it can help maintain your blood sugar levels. This is why quinoa is so great for preventing Type 2 diabetes, as we have already discussed. When you eat foods that are higher up on the glycemic index, your body feels the need to eat more–however, the lower it is, the less likely you will continue to feel hungry after eating.
A lot of the junk food we love is right up at the top which is why it’s so easy to binge eat without even thinking about it.
10. It’s gluten free
If you’re gluten free, quinoa is perfect for you. Many people are gluten intolerant now and quinoa is a grain that these people can eat without worrying about stomach upsets. Foods that are gluten free by their nature are better for you than foods that have been designed to be gluten free–so ditch the man-made gluten-free foods and choose quinoa instead.