Posted 30 June, 2022
Quinoa is basically a seed, not a grain and known as a pseudo cereal. It belongs to the goosefoot family and is becoming popular all over the world. Although it must be imported, it is increasingly being used in the United States, Canada, Europe, and China.
Due to the numerous health benefits, this pseudo cereal is gaining rapid popularity as it is a great source of plant protein and fiber. Let us see the important nutrients found in quinoa in the next section.
Important nutrients in Quinoa
Quinoa seeds are packed with various vitamins and minerals such as-
- B vitamins, namely B-1 (thiamine), B-6 (pyridoxine) and B-9 (aka folate). Folate is important for the formation of red blood cells and for healthy cell growth and function, especially during early pregnancy.
- Thiamine helps convert carbohydrates into energy and plays a key role in nerve, muscle, and heart functioning.
- Pyridoxine is important for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous and immune system healthy.
- Iron is important for growth and development. It is also used in the production of hemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body.
- Calcium is used primarily to build and maintain healthy bones. It is also used to support proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nerves.
- Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function and energy production.
- Phosphorus helps in the formation of bones and teeth and in the growth, maintenance and repair of cells and tissues.
- Potassium helps nerve function, movement of nutrients within cells and waste products from cells, regulation of heart rate and muscle contraction.
- Vitamin E supports your immune system and promotes cell regeneration.
- Quinoa is rich in protein, having 14.1 grams of protein. Other protein-rich plant sources include buckwheat, couscous, oatmeal, brown rice, and spinach. Protein aids in weight loss and maintenance, muscle building and reduction in muscle loss. It increases metabolism and lowers blood pressure, among many other health benefits.
There are also traces of zinc, manganese, copper and selenium which helps the body function at its best.
Benefits of Quinoa
- Acts as a gluten-free diet: People on a gluten-free diet can safely consume quinoa. A study of celiac disease patients who consumed quinoa showed that quinoa has better nutrition than rice because it provides the necessary intake of protein, calcium, iron, and fiber.
- Prevents cancer: Quinoa is rich inantioxidants and is great for reducing cancer risk. Quinoa has three unique nutrients which helps to cause mutant cell death. The first of these nutrients, actually called ant nutrients, are saponins. The second active nutrient is lunasin, which is very effective because it only affects mutated cells and not healthy cells. Third one is an antioxidant called quercetin, which fights the buildup of free radicals in the body and controls the spread of lung cancer.
- Reduces bad cholesterol in the body: Quinoa has a positive effect on the body as it is known to reduce the adverse effects of fructose on glucose levels in the body which works to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.
- Prevents bone diseases: Quinoa contains antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin that has proven results to reduce cortisol levels, thereby protecting the bones.Regular consumption of quinoa can prevent the development of bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Quinoa increases bone density and maintains bone health.
- Reduces kidney stones: Quinoa is a gluten-free source of complete protein and is high in oxalates.It regulates the secretion of bile juice and prevents the accumulation of toxins in the body, thus, preventing the formation of gallstones and kidney stones.
- Treats diabetes: Quinoa is a rich source of dietary fibres and thus helps lower sugar levels.By lowering blood sugar levels, quinoa can be very beneficial for people with diabetes.
Side effects of Quinoa
- Quinoa contains compounds known as saponins. When taken in large amounts, these saponins can affect the inner lining of the intestines and contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
- It is recommended to consult a doctor before using quinoa during pregnancy.
Where is it found?
This plant is found in Andean region of South America, where it has been an important plant for thousands of years. Promoted for its health benefits, quinoa is now grown in a number of countries around the world including the United States, Canada, Italy, Sweden and India, but most are still grown in Peru and Bolivia.