Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.
Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. A recently rediscovered ancient "grain" native to South America, quinoa was once called "the gold of the Incas," who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.
Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.
If you are prone to migraines, try adding quinoa to your diet. Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. Increased intake of magnesium has been shown to be related to a reduced frequency of headache episodes reported by migraine sufferers. Quinoa is also a good source of riboflavin, which is necessary for proper energy production within cells. Riboflavin (also called vitamin B2) has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers, most likely by improving the energy metabolism within their brain and muscle cells.
Quinoa and other whole grains are a rich source of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion.
Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn. Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
Quinoa is especially easy to cook and can be enjoyed year-round because it's versatile and light. You can use it in warming winter soups or refreshing summer salads. Make sure you rinse your quinoa and then soak for at least 8 hours to remove the phytic acid that can prevent proper digestion. Cook quinoa 15 minutes or less, and it's ready to mix with a variety of ingredients to create diverse and delicious meals.
There are several reasons to enjoy Quinoa:
Quinoa contains an abundance of antioxidants. In addition to vitamin E, it is also high in zinc, copper and manganese. These antioxidants are highly active against microbial pathogens and can help prevent all sorts of infections and inflammations. Quinoa is also known to have anti-cancerous effects. Studies have shown that the antioxidants and phytonutrients in quinoa can help towards prevention and treatment of breast and liver cancers.
October 14, 2012 at 9:45 am
Yummy!! Soaked them overnight, then rinsed the next a.m. - didn't know if it was necessary or not. Added a little water and cooked through for a few short minutes. Flavored with Coconut Oil and VERY little salt. Found it very fluffy, with a bit of taste like brown rice. No bitterness at all!