Quinoa: Health Benefits And Recipes

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Published on: 02-Dec-2022

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Kajal Tharwani

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Quinoa: Health Benefits And Recipes

Quinoa: Health Benefits And Recipes

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Never eat ingredients you can not pronounce. Except for quinoa! 

Quinoa is a superfood that has consistently topped the charts over the last decade and has become quite popular among mindful eaters. However, if you are stuck on how to pronounce this tongue-twister grain/cereal but more of a vegetable, it is pronounced as Kinwa, Kinuwa, or Keen-wah.

This pseudo-cereal, primarily white (but also comes in red and black), has the texture of hand-pounded brown rice or rolled oats and cooks up fluffy and nutty. Quinoa, whether white, red, or black, has undoubtedly found a must-have place in Indian cuisine and our kitchens, owing to its high levels of protein, dietary fibre, minerals, and B vitamins.

Quinoa made a splash on the healthy eating scene and weight loss diet around 2006, with an increasing number of people lapping and whipping it up in North American, Australian, European and Asian countries. 

Once considered a nondescript food item to share space in regular kitchens, quinoa has now found an irreplaceable spot on star hotel menus. Prices have tripled in the last few years as weight watchers demand quinoa in their daily diet. On the plus side, quinoa is now a cash-rich crop, with cultivation spreading to over 70 countries across all continents.

Let us learn more about quinoa and its recipe! 

Table Of Contents

1. The Health Benefits Of Quinoa 

2. Nutritional Value of Quinoa 

3. Quinoa Recipe 

5. Dietitian's Recommendation 

6. The Final Say 

7. FAQs 

The Health Benefits Of Quinoa 

Quinoa’s high nutrition content makes it highly beneficial for health. We have listed the benefits below. 

1. Aids In Digestive Health 

Most of the 7g fibre in 100g of quinoa is insoluble. Insoluble fibre is necessary for the human body because it promotes healthy digestion. It promotes healthy bowel movements and treats and prevents other gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, gas, flatulence, bloating pain and other digestive medical condition. 

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that is a boon to gluten-intolerant people. It is a good substitute for wheat and other wheat-based products.

2. Helps To Lose Weight 

Quinoa contains a lot of fibre. It is much higher than the average grain or seed. Though quinoa contains a significant amount of insoluble fibre, it also contains a considerable amount of its solid cousin. 

As per ICMR (Indian Council Of Medical Research) studies, one cup of seeds contains 2.5g of soluble fibre, which aids in weight loss. Something else about quinoa that deserves our attention is that it is 20-hydroxyecdysone, a substance known to help in weight loss. 

3. Prevents Osteoporosis

Quinoa is high in magnesium and is beneficial to bone health. It is also high in protein (1 cup contains 9 g), a building block for bones. But, more importantly, it includes all nine essential amino acids the body cannot produce on its own and plays a role in this aspect. 

According to another CFTRI (Central Food Technology Research Institute), research on quinoa, magnesium, and manganese helps prevent osteoporosis.

4. Promotes Heart Health 

Quinoa contains phytochemicals such as nicotiflorin and rutin, which can naturally help to control high blood pressure. Studies show that regular quinoa consumption lowers LDL or bad cholesterol and increases the presence of HDL or good cholesterol.

5. Fights Inflammation

Quinoa fibre produces butyrate, an essential fatty acid that inhibits inflammation-related genes. Quinoa's B vitamins also help lower the body's homocysteine levels (an inflammatory hormone). 

More intriguingly, the digestion of quinoa fibre (and fibre in general) produces acetate, which travels to the brain and signals us to stop eating. The logic is straightforward: if you eat less, you are less likely to consume pro-inflammatory foods.

6. Reduces Risk Of Cancer 

Quinoa and other antioxidant-rich foods can help reduce the risk of developing cancer. When consumed by cancer patients, quinoa contains three unique nutrients that can cause the mutated cells to die. Saponin is the first of these active nutrients. 

While an excess of this compound can be harmful to healthy cells, when consumed in moderation, it causes cell death in cancerous cells in glioblastoma, leukaemia, and lymphoma patients.

Lunasin, the second active nutrient, is particularly effective because it only affects mutated and not healthy cells. The final super-nutrient is quercetin, an antioxidant that fights free radical buildup in the body and slows the spread of lung cancer.

7. Controls Blood Sugar Levels 

The proper combination of fibre and protein is critical in controlling blood glucose levels. Quinoa has high dietary fibre content and a glycemic index of 53, making it an excellent choice for a diabetic's diet. It prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar levels because it contains all amino acids, making it a complete protein.

According to one international study, eating quinoa could help manage type 2 diabetes and the hypertension that comes with it. Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate that breaks down slowly in the body, making blood sugar more stable.

8. Protects Vital Organs 

Quinoa's antioxidants, such as polyphenols,  phenolics, and anthocyanins, do more than just protect the kidney. It also protects the liver, heart, pancreas, and lungs from oxidative stress. 

Quinoa has higher antioxidant levels than other pseudocereals like amaranthus. Their antioxidant properties are enhanced when quinoa seeds are germinated and consumed as sprouts.

Quinoa Recipe 

Quinoa's numerous benefits are appropriate for people of all ages. Contrary to popular belief, quinoa recipes do not have to be bland. Instead, this whole grain can be transformed into delectable dishes. 

Quinoa Pulao 

Ingredients

  • Quinoa- 1 cup 
  • Onion- 1 cup, finely chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp 
  • Carrot- 1 cup, cubed 
  • Bell pepper- 1 cup, julienne 
  • Beans- 1 cup, finely sliced 
  • Green peas - ½ cup 
  • Potatoes- 1 cup, cubed 
  • Bay leaf- 1 nos
  • Cinnamon stick- ½ stick 
  • Cardamoms- 2 nos 
  • Cloves- 2nos 
  • Chilli powder- 1 tsp 
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp 
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp 
  • Ghee- 2 tsp 
  • Salt, as per taste 

Preparation Method 

1. Add oil or ghee to a pressure cooker.

2. Allow to heat before adding the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and clove, stirring well.

3. Fry the chopped onion and ginger-garlic paste until the onions are translucent.

4. Season the vegetables with salt, chilli powder, turmeric, and garam masala powder and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Rinse and wash the quinoa. Stir it together with the fried vegetables.

6. Pour in 2- 12 cups of water and boil.

7. Cook for two whistles with the lid closed.

8. Allow the cooker to cool entirely before fluffing with a fork.

9. Serve immediately with raita.

Dietitian’s Recommendation 

Quinoa is a good recently discovered pseudocereal, which is gluten-loaded with nutrients and is a decent choice. It contains protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, magnesium, and potassium, which are very important for the vital functioning of our body. You can add quinoa in different forms to your diet, like salads, pulao, sweet dishes etc.

-Dietitian Lavina Chauhan 

The Final Say 

Quinoa is becoming more popular worldwide, but ideally, Americans have been eating it for thousands of years. It is technically a seed and, along with amaranth and buckwheat, belongs to a small group of grains known as pseudocereals. It is a nutritious carbohydrate with fibre, minerals, antioxidants, and protein. It is also gluten-free, delicious, versatile, and ridiculously simple. Quinoa is an excellent carbohydrate to include in your diet.

FAQs 

1. Why is quinoa a superfood?

Quinoa is rich in minerals, fibre antioxidants and all nine essential amino acids, making it the healthiest and nutritious foods on the planet.

2. Is quinoa better for you than rice?

Quinoa and brown rice contain similar calorie counts and amounts of dietary fibre, quinoa does have slightly higher  protein and lower carbohydrates per serving, making it slightly better for you.

3. What are the disadvantages of eating quinoa?

Quinoa is also low in sodium, potassium, calcium, and iron, making it a healthy and nutritious diet. However, for a few people, quinoa may cause stomachaches, itchy skin, hives, and other symptoms of food allergies

4. How long should I soak quinoa?

Rinse quinoa thoroughly, add to a large mixing bowl or pot and cover with twice the amount of lukewarm water (4 cups water, 2 cup quinoa). Drain and rinse once more. Soak uncovered at room temperature for 2- 3 hours or overnight.

5. What is the best time to eat quinoa?

Quinoa can be consumed anytime at breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can eat 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa in a day. However, it is best to eat healthy food like quinoa before bed. It induces sleep and relaxes the muscles because of its high magnesium and protein content.

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