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Quinoa, also referred to as “superfood” or “super grain” is getting popularity in recent years for its health benefits.
Often used as a substitute for rice, quinoa is actually a seed that is eaten as a grain. It comes from the plant Chenopodium quinoa, and both leaves and seeds of this nutritious plant are edible. Low in calories and high in energy, quinoa benefits the human body in many ways.
This super nutritious food contains an adequate amount of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and various vitamins and minerals. Let us deep dive, into details of quinoa nutrition and health benefits.
Benefits of Quinoa
Contain Healthy Plant Compound
While talking about quinoa nutritional value, we cannot forget about flavonoids it contains. Two extremely important flavonoids it has are Quercetin and Kaempferol. Both these antioxidants contain anti-inflammatory, anti-depression, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. Other plant compounds in quinoa include saponin, squalene, phytic acid, and oxalates that together favor your health.
Perfect for Gluten-free Diet
Most grains and seeds contain gluten. Today, many people suffer from gluten intolerance, and for them, quinoa can be a perfect choice. Gluten-free food can be healthy, but it should be naturally gluten-free, not the one made with refined starches. Being naturally gluten-free, quinoa can be added to your diet as a staple.
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Contain Low Glycemic Index
The glycemic index of a food is measured on how quickly it affects the blood sugar level. It is measured between 0-100, and any food with a GI lower than 55 is considered to have a low glycemic index. High GI food increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. Fortunately, quinoa has GI 53 that is quite good but remember quinoa carb content is fairly high, so you should always have it in a limit.
Improve Metabolic Health
Thanks to quinoa nutrition that makes it a healthy food for metabolic health. Although to support this fact only two studies have been conducted by fat, one on rats and the other on humans. These studies found that quinoa improves metabolic health reducing insulin, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels.
Also Read: 15 Health Benefits of Muesli
Extremely High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important to fight against free radicals and various health diseases. Quinoa is a very rich source of antioxidants, better than various cereals and legumes. Sprouted quinoa have even more antioxidants than the raw seeds.
Might Help in Weight Loss
Although there is no proof for weight loss properties of quinoa, quinoa indirectly contributes to weight loss. Being high in protein, it boosts the metabolism and reduces appetite that ultimately leads to weight loss. It is also a good source of fiber that makes you feel full for longer hours. Additionally, quinoa calories and glycemic index also make ideal for weight loss diet.
Aids in Lowering Cholesterol
Better digestion can lead to lower cholesterol. The fiber content of quinoa aids in better digestion. As per one of the studies conducted on rats, the rats were given a high fructose diet and then fed with quinoa. It was noticed that quinoa reduces the effect of fructose and pull down the LDL (bad cholesterol) by 57 percent.
Beneficial for Heart Health
Lower cholesterol leads to a healthy heart, but apart from this also quinoa benefits the heart in many ways. It contains heart-friendly monounsaturated fats along with omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acids. The good thing is, it doesn’t lose its fatty acids on cooking, unlike other foods.
Easy to Digest
The list of quinoa health benefits can go on, and another one in our list of that it makes digestion easy. A single cup serving of quinoa contains 21 percent of the fiber of recommended daily intake, which is quite higher than its other counterparts. Fiber-rich food improves the digestive system and makes you feel fuller.
Manages Type 2 Diabetes
Quinoa is considered to be great for type 2 diabetes management, and all credit goes to its antioxidants power, especially quercetin. Not only the antioxidants but quinoa protein and fiber content also helped in controlling blood sugar levels.
Has Anti-inflammatory Properties
Quinoa like other whole grains has anti-inflammatory nutrients like gamma-tocopherol, phenolic acids, cell wall polysaccharides that prevent you from chronic inflammation which can further lead to serious health issues. It further promotes healthy gut bacteria that reduce the risk of obesity.
Improves Tissue Growth & Repair
It is particularly rich in lysine, an amino acid that is considered essential for tissue growth and repair. You can eat it as porridge or add it to other cereals to get most of it.
Quinoa Nutrition & Calories
Although experts classify quinoa as a pseudocereal, nutritionally it is a grain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber content.
If we talk about cooked quinoa nutrition facts, then a 100 grams serving contains:
- Water: 72%
- Protein: 4.4 grams
The Quinoa protein content is much higher than other cereals. By dry weight, it provides 16% protein, which contains nine essential amino acids like lysine, methionine, and histidine. Being gluten-free, it can be a great source of protein for those having a gluten allergy.
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
A better source of fiber than rice and corn, quinoa makes up to 10% of fiber out of which 90% are insoluble fibers that are considered to reduce the risk of diabetes. The fiber content also promoted healthy bacteria in the gut, which further improve the digestive system and overall health.
- Carbs: 21.3 grams
21% of the cooked quinoa is carbs. 83% of quinoa carbs content is starches, and the rest is fiber with a very small amount of sugar. Although rich in carbs, quinoa has a relatively low glycemic index that reduces the risk of diabetes and obesity.
- Quinoa Calories: 120 calories in 100 grams
- Sugar: 0.9 grams
- Fat: 1.9 grams
The fat content of quinoa mainly contains palmitic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid.
Other than these, quinoa is a good source of antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, folate, phosphorus, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.
Quinoa nutrition makes it more valuable than most other grains. This gluten-free seed can help in stabilizing blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol, and weight loss.
You can easily include it in your diet by replacing quinoa with rice and wheat. Its subtle nutty taste makes it versatile. You can even add it to your cold salad, burgers, tacos, and other side dishes.
What’s more, numerous benefits of quinoa give you all the reasons to incorporate it into your diet.