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Superfood of the Week- Quinoa

By January 5, 2017Super Foods

Although referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed from a vegetable related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Quinoa is pronounced “keen-wah.”  The trick of this Super Food is learning to pronounce it!

The Inca referred to quinoa as the “mother seed,” and considered it to be sacred. They grew quinoa in South America in the high altitude of the Andes. It was also their staple food for 5,000 years. The Spanish conquistadors, not knowing its value, almost wiped out quinoa by making it illegal for Native Indians to grow. In the 1980s, two Americans rediscovered quinoa and started growing it in Colorado. Don’t they always say what is old is new again?

This tiny seeds has so many health benefits I can’t list them, all but here are a few:

Its protein balance is similar to milk and has more protein compared to rice, millet or wheat.
This seed is a good source of riboflavin – riboflavin helps reduce the frequency attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells. Go Brain power!

It is less alkaline forming compared to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains.

Since it is not related to wheat or grain it’s an excellent gluten free choice and an essential staple if you suffer from Celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity is becoming more of an issue in our world because so many processed foods have gluten added.
It only has 172 calories per ¼ cup dry quinoa.  Best news yet!
Quinoa contains interesting molecules called flavonoids, which are plant antioxidants that have been shown to have all sorts of beneficial effects on health.

Two flavonoids that have been particularly well studied are quercetin and kaempferol, and they happen to be found in large amounts in quinoa. In fact, the quercetin content of quinoa is even higher than typical high-quercetin foods like cranberries. These important molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

Quinoa is coated with a toxic chemical called saponin. It is therefore important to rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking. Although this awesome grain is a Super Food, it shouldn’t be eaten every day. A few times a week is enough. It is high in oxalates which puts quinoa on the caution list for an oxalate-restricted diet. What is an oxalate? This is a naturally occurring molecule in nature. When it is in excess in our body it can form kidney stones, so moderation is the key.

 

If you are not sure about cooking this amazing seed you don’t have to! We have done it for you!

Try our Vegetable Quinoa Soup or our Chicken Quinoa Salad on Greens with Asian Dressing.

It is delicious!!

Happy Healthy Living!

Dana

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