Published on February 14th, 2013 |
by George Conte
Quinoa health benefits and nutritional information
Many people ask me if there are any special types of food that can promote health and weight loss. Although I advocate a balanced diet based on your specific nutritional needs I can’t just ignore the advanced nutritional value and benefits of specific “super foods” appropriate for everyone like the goji berries and the quinoa.
The quinoa is a super food with many advantages especially for those who have issues with gluten or for people that are vegetarians. We can find it quinoa in various colors such as white, black, red and blue, and of course we are not talking about artificial colors. This super food is actually seeds of a bush that was the favorite favorite food of the Incas.
An interesting fact is that it is not classified as a grain like rice or wheat but it is related to green vegetables like beetroot or spinach.
Quinoa nutritional value
- The quinoa is a type of food that is not of animal origin and at the same time it contains quality protein of high biological value just like meat (8g per cooked cup). It is composed of all the essential amino acids that the human body needs. This is a very important fact for vegetarians and vegans (that don’t consume dairy products).
- The caloric value of quinoa is very low for the nutrients it contains; only 220 calories per cup, making it excellent for weight loss.
- It is very rich in folic acid (B9), one cup easily covers 20% of our daily needs by offering about 77 micrograms.
- It also contains good amounts of other B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, B6 (13%, 12% and 11% of needs in accordance with the recommended daily allowances, adding 0,2 mg of each vitamin).
- A cup of cooked quinoa (185g) is very rich in minerals and trace elements like manganese 58% (1,2 mg), magnesium 30% (118mg), phosphorus 28% (281mg), copper 18% (0,4 mg), iron 15% (2,8 mg) and zinc 13% (2mg). It contains good amounts of potassium and selenium and very little sodium which gives us only 1% of what we need.
- It contains plenty of fiber. One cup can give you up to 5g such amount for one meal is enough.
- It is also low in saturated fat and fat in general, giving only about 3g per cup which is very low
- It contains about 300mg Omega 3 fatty acids (100g of uncooked quinoa) and omega-6 almost ten times more while also some monounsaturated fat. Do not forget that if you cook 100g of quinoa, it will come out about 350g cooked.
- Another very important fact is that it contains many different antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components and some vitamin E (gamma tocopherol).
Health benefits of quinoa
- The quinoa glycemic index is low (53). That means it doesn’t suddenly raise blood glucose, which makes it an excellent food for diabetics.
- It can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- It is a food with potential anti-cancer properties due to the phytonutrients components it contains.
- Studies have shown that it helps in cerebral blood flow, concentration and mental performance.
- Because of the high magnesium content it can help people with migraine problems.
- It is also excellent for young children since it is an easy to digest food and it is rare to find anyone who has an allergy to it.
Keep in mind that it will have a bitter taste if you don’t not put it in water for five minutes and rinse it before cooking. The reason for that is because it contains some substances in the cortex that are called saponins (antioxidants).
The quinoa, as you can tell by now, is a super food suitable for vegetarians, vegans, diabetics, children, athletes and everyone that wants to follow a healthy lifestyle or lose weight.