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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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10 Benefits of Quinoa

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.

Quinoa

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.

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TOP 10 VEGETARIAN SOURCES OF PROTEIN

One of the most common myths about the vegetarian diet is that after ditching meat it becomes nearly impossible to meet the suggested guidelines for protein intake.

The USDA recommends that women get about 46 grams of protein a day and men get about 56. Some people, like athletes and pregnant or breastfeeding women, may need more, according to WebMD.

But, thanks in part to initiatives like Meatless Monday, this year, Americans are expected to eat 12 percent less meat and poultry than five years ago, USA Todayreported.

While protein is essential to growth, building muscle, the immune system and heart and respiratory functions, MSNBC explains, meat-free protein has the benefit of generally being lower in calories and fat than the animal variety.

Whether you’re a vegetarian , or not there are lots of tasty meat-free sources of protein that also pack additional health benefits. Read through the list of the top 10 vegetarian sources of protein below and tell us your favorite in the comments.

1. Spirulina
Spirulina is 65-71 percent complete protein compared to beef, which is only 22 percent, and lentils, which is only 26 percent.
In addition to being protein-rich, spirulina is an excellent source of vital amino acids and minerals easily assimilated by your body. You would need to consume only two tablespoons of spirulina as a protein substitute for a meal.

2. Hemp
Protein Content: Seeds, 6 g per ounce; Milk, 2 g per cup
If you’re allergic to soy, or just freaked out by its estrogenic activity, hemp products are your next best bet. Sold as a dairy alternative or as seeds, hemp is one of very few plant proteins that supply you with all the essential amino acids, acids your body can’t produce on its own to build muscle and create more protein. The fatty acids in hemp seeds and hemp milk also boost your immune system, and the crop itself is highly sustainable, growing as fast as 10 feet in 100 days and naturally requiring very few pesticides.

3. Chia Seeds
Protein Content: 4 g per ounce
Though the protein content isn’t as high as some other vegetarian foods out there, chia seeds pack a huge nutritional punch. For starters, they’re an incredible fiber resource with nearly half (11 g) of the amount you need every day in a single ounce. That helps fill you up and eat fewer calories. They also contain 18 percent of your daily calcium requirement, more than triple that of milk, which helps your bones. Chia seeds have no flavor, so you can add a tablespoon to any food you wish to without altering its flavor, and unlike flax, chia seeds don’t need to be ground in order for your body to absorb all the nutrients.

4. Quinoa
Protein Content: 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185 g) contains 8.14 grams of protein.
Quinoa is perhaps one of the most perfect non-animal sources of protein on the planet. What makes quinoa (pronounce keen-wah) unique is that it is the only plant based source of complete protein. “Complete” means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health. It is also a wonderful option for those that follow a gluten free diet, since it is completely gluten free.

 


5. Tempeh
Protein Content: A firmer, chewier cousin of tofu, a half-cup serving of this soybean-based bite has 15 grams of protein. 
Fermented foods ought to be part of everyone’s diet, vegetarian or not. Tempeh is one that is chewy and delicious, even to die-hard burger fans. It’s healthy and a much better bet than heavily processed tofu or “mock meats” that are brimming with poor-quality modified proteins, sodium, chemicals and starchy fillers. In my opinion it doesn’t compare nutritionally or in taste to a juicy steak but as vegetarian options go it ain’t half bad.

6. Almonds and Almond Butter
Protein Content: (between 6 and 8 grams, per handful).
When adding a handful of nuts to your salad for protein, go with almonds. Almond butter is less toxic and allergenic than peanut butter, although the protein amounts are similar by comparison. Still, this is about quality protein, not necessarily the amount. 

7. Veggies
Yep, good old greens will pack a protein punch. One cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein. The same serving of French beans has about 13 grams. Two cups of cooked kale? 5 grams. One cup of boiled peas? Nine grams. 

8. Lentils and Beans
A cup of iron-rich lentils packs 18 grams of protein, almost as much as three ounces of steak. One cup of chickpeas, contains 15 grams of protein, as does a cup of black or kidney beans. 

9. Organic, Plain, Greek Yogurt (not vegan)
Protein Content: 15 to 20 g per 6-ounce serving
All dairy products are good sources of protein. A glass of milk provides you with 8 g, but Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse, with twice the protein and half the sugar and carbs of regular yogurt. In fact, Greek yogurt contains the same protein as a three-ounce serving of lean meat. Top that with a handful of nuts and you could get half of your daily protein intake at breakfast. 

10. Eggs (not vegan)
Protein Content: 6 g per egg
There’s a reason the incredible, edible egg is such a popular breakfast choice. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value, a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs, of any food, including beef. And the yolks contain vitamin B12, deficiencies of which are common in vegetarian diets and can cause attention, mood, and thinking problems while raising blood homocysteine levels, a risk factor for heart disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

To get the healthiest eggs, find a local producer whose chicken flocks are small and feed off of grass, bugs, and organic grain; studies have shown that E. coli and salmonella contamination in eggs is directly related to the size of the flock.

Sources: 
http://www.mindbodygreen.com…
http://abcnews.go.com/…
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com….


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12 Top Vegan Iron Sources

Melissa Breyer   August 7, 2011

If you are a vegan, what is the first argument you hear from meat-eating advocates? Well the sarcastic ones might say something about plants having feelings too, but the most popular rebuttal usually has something to do with iron. And yes iron is an essential mineral because it contributes to the production of blood cells. The human body needs iron to make the oxygen-carrying proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin. But just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean your going to wither away with anemia.

However, anemia is not something to be taken lightly. (Although I realize I just did.) The World Health Organization considers iron deficiency the number one nutritional disorder in the world. As many as 80 percent of the world’s population may be iron deficient, while 30 percent may have iron deficiency anemia. The human body stores some iron to replace any that is lost. However, low iron levels over a long period of time can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms include lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, dizziness, or weight loss. So here’s the 411 on iron: how much you need, where you can get it, and tips to maximize its absorption.

Iron Requirements
The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following:

Infants and children
• Younger than 6 months: 0.27 milligrams per day (mg/day)
• 7 months to 1 year: 11 mg/day
• 1 to 3 years: 7 mg/day
• 4 to 8 years: 10 mg/day

Males
• 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
• 14 to 18 years: 11 mg/day
• Age 19 and older: 8 mg/day

Females
• 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
• 14 to 18 years: 15 mg/day
• 19 to 50 years: 18 mg/day
• 51 and older: 8 mg/day


Non-animal iron sources:
Eating red meat and organ meat are the most efficient ways to get iron, but for vegans, obviously, that’s not going to happen. Here are 12 plant-based foods with some of the highest iron levels:

Spirulina (1 tsp): 5 mg
Cooked soybeans (1/2 cup): 4.4 mg
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
Quinoa (4 ounces): 4 mg
Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp): 4 mg
Tomato paste (4 ounces): 3.9 mg
White beans (1/2 cup) 3.9 mg
Cooked spinach (1/2 cup): 3.2 mg
Dried peaches (6 halves): 3.1 mg
Prune juice (8 ounces): 3 mg
Lentils (4 ounces): 3 mg

Tips to get the most iron out of your food:

Eat iron-rich foods along with foods that contain vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron.

Tea and coffee contains compounds called polyphenols, which can bind with iron making it harder for our bodies to absorb it.

Calcium also hinders the absorption of iron; avoid high-calcium foods for a half hour before or after eating iron-rich foods.

Cook in iron pots. The acid in foods seems to pull some of the iron out of the cast-iron pots. Simmering acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, in an iron pot can increase the iron content of the brew more than ten-fold. Cooking foods containing other acids, such as vinegar, red wine, lemon or lime juice, in an iron pot can also increase the iron content of the final mixture.

source: care2.com
 


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10 Foods High in Calcium

By Dr. Edward F. Group III DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
Guest Writer for Wake Up World     20th February 2013

We all know that we need adequate amounts of calcium in our diet for strong bones and teeth. And while most people associate calcium with the consumption of cow’s milk, although recent research reveals a different story. Although homogenized and pasteurized milk does have high amounts of this important mineral it is not well absorbed or utilized in the body, milk products also often contain high levels of toxins, such as bovine growth hormones and antibiotics. The good news is that there are many other great foods high in calcium that are easy to incorporate into your daily diet. I must note however that raw organic goat or cow milk is a good source of calcium.

1. Sesame Seeds
These white little seed-wonders are very high in calcium, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. Raw sesame seeds possess almost 1000 mg of calcium per 100g serving. Tahini butter, a popular sesame seed-based nut butter has 426mg per 100g serving.

2. Chia Seeds
Many people are unaware that chia seeds are very high in calcium (as well as the beneficial Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids needed for health). A 3.5 ounce serving can provide about 631mg of calcium.

3. Dark Leafy Greens
From greens to spinach to kale, getting our calcium from dark green leafy vegetables is a an excellent health choice. Spinach ranks very high in calcium, with 56mg of calcium per cup. A 100g serving of collards packs a 145 mg calcium punch. One cup of steamed bok choy has around 158 mg of the mineral. Kale ranks in with 139mg of calcium and the spicy mustard green has 103mg of calcium per 100g serving.


4. Quinoa
A light and healthy whole grain, one cup of cooked quinoa offers approximately 60-100 mg of calcium, not to mention a high amount of potassium, zinc and protein.

5. Blackstrap Molasses
This is an excellent sweetener for teas and baked goods. High in multiple vitamins and minerals, one tablespoon of this thick dark molasses will give you 172 mg of your daily calcium needs. Try it in your morning cup of organic tea or coffee.

6. Oranges
One cup of freshly-squeezed organic orange juice offers approximately 72 mg of calcium. Not to mention plenty of vitamin c, which will significantly improve the amount of calcium your body absorbs. Besides vitamin c and calcium, oranges are also a great source for potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene.

7. Beans
Many common beans are high in calcium. Winged beans possess 442mg of calcium per 100g serving. Many white beans are very high in calcium. Most white beans have approximately 175mg of calcium per serving. Navy beans are also a great source of calcium, with 127 mg per cup. These beans make an excellent soup base, when our bones most need the support of calcium.

8. Broccoli
One cup of these green florets offers approximately 74 mg of calcium, along with 120mg of Vitamin C which will help your body absorb the calcium. Broccoli also contains a high amount of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate and dietary fiber.

9. Dried Fruits & Nuts
Many dried fruits are high in calcium. In fact, eating five dried figs per day gives you 135 mg of calcium. Almonds are also extremely high in calcium. Raw, or ground into nut butter, almonds hold 266mg of calcium per 100g.

10. Dried Herbs
Who would have thought that adding dried herbs to your dishes would increase your calcium intake? Dried savory spice holds a whopping 2132mg of calcium per 100g serving. Other dried herbs that are calcium rich include dill, basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano, poppy seed, mint, celery seed, sage, parsley and rosemary.


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Top 7 Sources of Plant-Based Protein

BY RICH ROLL     APRIL 11, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only possible to optimize your health on a plant-based diet; when done right, I actually recommend it. 

But where do you get your protein?

I field this question constantly. Despite deeply ingrained but misleading conventional wisdom, the truth is that you can survive without meat, eggs and dairy. Believe it or not, you can actually thrive, and never suffer a protein deficiency. Because no matter how active your lifestyle, a well-rounded whole food plant-based diet provides more than enough protein to satisfy the body’s needs without all the artery-clogging saturated fats that dominate the typical American diet.

I speak from experience. As a vegan endurance athlete, I place a high tax on my body. And yet my plant-based diet has fueled me for years without any negative impact on building lean muscle mass or recovery. In fact, at age 45 I continue to improve and am as fit, healthy, and strong as I have ever been.

Here’s a list of my top-7 plant-based foods high in protein:

1. Quinoa: 11g Protein / Cup

A grain like seed, quinoa is a high protein alternative to rice or pasta, served alone or over vegetables and greens. It provides a good base for a veggie burger and is also a fantastic breakfast cereal when served cold with almond or coconut milk and berries.


2. Lentils: 17.9g  Protein / Cup

Delicious, nutritious and super easy to prepare. Trader Joe’s sells them pre-cooked and I’m not afraid to just eat them cold right out of the package for lunch or a snack on the run.

3. Tempeh: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces

A fermented soybean-based food, tempeh is a healthy protein-packed alternative to it’s non-fermented cousin tofu. It makes for a great veggie burger and doubles as a tasty meat alternative to meatballs in pasta, or over brown rice and vegetables.

4. Seitan: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces

An excellent substitute for beef, fish and soy products, one serving provides about 25% of your RDA of protein. But not for those with gluten sensitivities, as it is made from wheat gluten.

5. Beans (Black, Kidney, Mung, Pinto): 12-15g Protein / Cup

I love beans. Great on a veggie burrito, in chili and soups, on salads or over rice with vegetables, beans of all varieties are a daily staple of my diet.

6. Spirulina: 6g Protein / 10 grams

A blue-green algae, spirulina is a highly bioavailable complete protein containing all essential amino acids. At 60% protein (the highest of any natural food), it’s a plant-based protein powerhouse that finds it way into my Vitamix blends daily.

7. Hemp Seeds: 16g Protein / 3 Tbsp

With a perfect ration of omega-6 and omega-3 EFA’s, hemp seeds are another bioavailable complete protein rivaled only by spirulina. A simple and great addition to a multitude of dishes, from breakfast cereal to salads to smoothies to vegetables and rice.


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Top 3 Superfoods for Increased Energy, Stamina and Power

By: Maddy Lucier     July 29, 2011

Eating quality calories at every meal can be difficult, but for athletes it’s necessary to do so as often as possible to reap maximum performance benefits on the field and in the weight room. Getting adequate amounts of protein is important for gaining lean mass, but it’s not the only nutrient needed to build up muscle tissue. Your body’s largest energy supply comes from carbohydrates.

The following three superfoods—so-called because of their carb content and remarkable nutritional properties—are great sources of energy and extremely easy to incorporate into your diet, either in a carb-loaded meal before a workout or in a post-workout snack.

Quinoa
With 39 grams of carbs per cup, quinoa should be considered a staple. Commonly considered a grain, it’s actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa is high in fiber [eight grams per cup], iron [important in oxygen production and flow to muscles], zinc, vitamin E, selenium and even protein—containing all of the amino acids essential for muscle growth. Its nut-like protein protects against muscle fatigue, containing particularly high levels of the amino acid lysine [required for tissue growth and repair], riboflavin [essential for proper energy production and sturdy metabolic function in brain and muscle cells] and magnesium [relaxes the blood vessels and promotes cardiovascular health]. Bonus: quinoa also has high levels of manganese—a key nutrient and antioxidant that helps your body synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol.

Like rice, quinoa is quick and easy to prepare, taking only 10 minutes on the stove; and it can be eaten by itself or mixed with vegetables. Tasty tip: once cooked, sprinkle parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese on top. It also makes a great breakfast food, mixed with a little milk, nuts, fruit and/or cinnamon.


Sweet Potatoes
The best Thanksgiving carbohydrate to eat all year round, one sweet potato will fill your “orange food” quota for the week, delivering approximately 41 grams of carbs, depending on size. Packed with calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin E [one of the few fat-free sources of this vitamin], sweet potatoes have more beta carotene than any other fruit or vegetable. With a remarkably low glycemic index, they are digested and absorbed gradually for sustained energy throughout a workout.
To prepare, simply pierce the potato with a fork a few times and pop it into the microwave for three to five minutes. Or for sweet potato fries, cut the potato into thin slices; place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt; and roast them in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, until browned.
Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash and orange bell peppers.

Watermelon
Berries pack an incredible amount of antioxidants in a small package, but watermelon, although it’s often overlooked, delivers more bang for your buck. Best eaten in its peak season of summer, watermelon is 92 percent water—great for hydrating and flushing impurities from the body—yet it supplies extensive amounts of nutrients, very few calories and 12 grams of carbs per medium slice. Possessing anti-inflammatory properties, watermelon has loads of antioxidants, as well as potassium, vitamins A, C and B. It’s most notable and concentrated nutrient, however, is the cartenoid lycopene, of which it contains 40 percent more than tomatoes. Lycopene is widely recognized as a cancer-fighting compound, and its antioxidant function helps protect cells [including muscle cells] from oxygen damage. Bonus: L-Citrulline in watermelon converts into another amino acid, L-arginine, which is partially responsible for increased blood flow and may play a role in making certain proteins and pumping them through the body.

source: stack.com


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8 Health Benefits of Quinoa

Diana Herrington     April 11, 2012

Quinoa is a Powerfood Vegetable Seed!

Although referred to as a grain, it is actually a seed from a vegetable related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Quinoa is pronounced keen-wa not kwin-o-a.

8 Health Benefits of Quinoa:

1. High quality protein with the nine essential amino acids, the protein balance is similar to milk. At 16.2 to 20 percent protein, it has is more protein than rice (7.5 percent), millet (9.9 percent) or wheat (14 percent).

2. Great source of riboflavin. Riboflavin has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.

3. Inca warriors had more stamina and quicker recovery time by eating these quinoa seeds, making it a truly ancient powerfood.

4. Antiseptic. The saponins from quinoa are used to promote healing of skin injuries in South America.

5. Not fattening! Only 172 calories per 1/4 cup dry (24 of the calories from protein and only 12 from sugars, the rest are complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats).

6. Gluten-free. Since it is not not related to wheat, or even a grain, it is gluten-free.

7. Alkaline-forming. Although it is not strongly alkaline-forming, it is comparable to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains.

8. Smart Carb: It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar.


Trivia:

In South America they use the saponin removed from the quinoa as detergent for washing clothes.

The sticky, bitter, soapy film of saponins also keeps birds from eating the quinoa seeds off of the bushes. Scientists decided to create quinoa that didn’t have saponins and guess what? The birds ate it all.

Stalks of the plant are used in preparing bleach or dyes, and dried stalks are used as fuel.

“Eat quinoa, food of the 21st century.”  These are the words written on the cover of each issue of an Argentinean science magazine called Temas.

I love the light flavor of quinoa. It is easy to digest and is not sticky or heavy like grains, making it a wonderful summer grain-like food.

 


7 Tips for Eating or Cooking:

Always rinse quinoa. Place quinoa in a strainer, then run cold water over it until the entire soapy residue has been washed away. You can taste test a few seeds; if they still have a bitter taste, run more cold water over them. Extra removal can be made by rubbing the seeds while rinsing with water. (Read why under: Use and Safety on page 4)

There are three main varieties: light yellow, red, and black.

Make quinoa porridge for breakfast, add it to your salad at lunch, substitute if for brown rice with your vegetables and make a yummy quinoa pudding.

Use quinoa flour in your gluten-free baking.

Even the leaves of the quinoa plant are edible; they taste similar to spinach, chard and beets.

Sprout quinoa; simply soak the quinoa in water for 12 hours, then keep it moist in a jar.

Quinoa can even be popped like popcorn and is very popular with Peruvian children.


History:

Quinoa was considered sacred by the Incas; they called it the “mother seed.” The Inca civilization in South America grew it in the high altitude of the Andes.  It was their staple food for 5,000 years.

The Spanish conquistadors almost wiped quinoa out by making it illegal for the Indians to grow.  They did not see how useful it is.

Finally in the 1980s two Americans discovered this nutrient-rich food and began growing quinoa in Colorado.


Quinoa Nutrition:

Nutritional Value of Quinoa (100 grams)

372 calories

Proteins 11.49 grams

Fat  4.86 grams

Carbohydrates  71.2 grams

Calcium  66 milligrams

Iron   8.5 milligrams

Vitamin  1 gram

Vitamin C  1 gram

Thiamin  0.24 grams

Riboflavin 0.23 grams

Niacin 1.40 grams


Source: Bethzabe Iiguez de Barrios. Mil Delicias de la Quinua. Oruro, Bolivia: (Editora Quelco, 1977), p. 29.


Interesting facts:

More than 200,000 pounds are gown each year in the US Rocky Mountains.

Quinoa is the whitest and the sweetest tasting when grown above 12,500 feet. When it is grown at lower elevations, it is more bittersweet in taste.

Quinoa thrives at altitudes of 9,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level and survives on as little as two inches of rainfall.

Use and Safety:

Quinoa, though highly nutritious, is actually coated with the toxic chemical saponin; you must rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Saponins can be challenging to the immune system and stomach. Commercial processing methods remove much of the bitter soapy saponins coating quinoa seeds, but it is best to rinse again to remove any of the powdery saponins that may remain on the seeds. Like any good foods, we need variety so do not eat it every day. A few times a week is good enough.

Although quinoa is not a commonly allergenic food and does not contain lots of purines, it does contain oxalates. This puts quinoa on the caution list for an oxalate-restricted diet. 

How to Store:
It is best to store quinoa in an airtight container. If stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for three to six months.

Recipes: 
Cooking Quinoa: How to cook quinoa the fast and easy way.
Deluxe Quinoa Pudding is easy to make and delicious.

source: care2.com