Healthy eating does not have to be complicated, dull or exorbitant. Are you planning to give up meat but worry about meeting protein requirements? Do you want to go the vegan way but are unsure where to begin? Or do you just want to eat a bit more healthily? Whichever is the case, this 'super crop' called quinoa pronounced as 'keen-wah' can help. Quinoa is gluten-free and nutrient-rich. It can also serve as an excellent substitute for your usual carbohydrates. Read on to find out more about its health benefits.
Even though quinoa is not a cereal grain, it still counts as a whole food grain. And for the size, it packs quite a punch when it comes to fulfilling our nutritional needs. These are some of the health benefits you can count on with quinoa.
1) High in nutrition: The Inca Empire termed quinoa the "mother of all grains" due to its high nutritional value. Once considered sacred, it has reached superfood status and is available in all the major food health stores. They are readily available in red, black and white types. One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa can give you approximately 8 grams of protein; 5 grams of fibre, along with manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, copper, iron, zin and potassium. It also has vitamins B1, B2 and B6. And that's not all. It also has small amounts of calcium, niacin (great for skin repair!) and vitamin E. There's a reason why NASA scientists want to grow this in space!
2) A rich source of antioxidants: Compared to other gluten-free grains consisting of corn, rice or potato flour, quinoa promises to be a far healthier and rich source of antioxidants. According to research, it may help in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, certain cancers and eye disorders.
3) Low Glycemic Index hence, suitable for blood sugar control: Consuming food with a high GI index like rice and pasta stimulates hunger, which may contribute towards obesity and Type II diabetes. Quinoa has a GI index of 53, which is low, especially when compared to other grains. It is the ideal choice within the carbohydrate category if you aim to keep your insulin levels in control.
4) Help lose weight: Losing weight can be easy if you create a calorie deficit by boosting metabolism or reducing appetite. Easier said than done? No reason to lose sleep over this. Quinoa is here to the rescue. Being a high source of protein, it keeps you satiated for a long time and enables you to increase metabolism simultaneously. Hence, this can help you get closer to your weighing scale victories.
5) Gluten-Free and Good for the gut: Not only is quinoa naturally gluten-free therefore safe for consumption by those who have celiac disease. Research on rats suggests that this tiny grain can help protect the gastrointestinal tract. However, there is a need for more study on humans. Still, its anti-inflammatory abilities make it the right choice for the gut.
Apart from having these fantastic health benefits. It is also easy to incorporate into your daily diet. What's more, it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare. And can be included in salad, soup or as a side dish with a curry of your choice. So, get creative and see the difference with this one tiny change on your plate. Start now and thank yourself later.
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