SuperFood: Quinoa

I’d like to introduce one of my favourite and healthiest superfoods, Quinoa.

Quinoa is the seed of a plant known scientifically as Chenopodium quinoa. It is loaded with protein, fiber and minerals, but doesn’t contain any gluten.

Quinoa  is actually not a grain, but a pseudo-cereal, a seed that is prepared and consumed like a grain, and has a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.

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What Makes Quinoa Such a Superfood?

The carbs in quinoa consist mainly of starch, insoluble fibers and small amounts of sugars. Quinoa also contains some resistant starch, which escapes digestion and feeds the friendly gut bacteria.Quinoa is relatively high in protein compared to other grains, and provides all the essential amino acids. The protein is considered to be comparable to casein, a high-quality protein from dairy products. Also is a good source of several minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, copper, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc.

 

What are the beneficts of Quinoa?

  • Quinoa may reduce blood cholesterol, blood sugar levels and triglycerides. It has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels than other gluten-free foods. As a glutem-free foos is well accepted as an alternative to wheat, and has been shown to increase the nutrient and antioxidant value of gluten-free diets.
  • Quinoa contains large amounts of flavonoids, including Quercetin and Kaempferol. These are potent plant antioxidants with numerous health benefits.
  • In many ways, quinoa has many qualities that make it a weight loss friendly food. It is high in protein and fiber, and has a relatively low glycemic index value.

But…

  • Quinoa is generally well tolerated, but it contains phytates and oxalates. They may reduce the absorption of minerals and contribute to kidney stone formation in some individuals. But these undesirable plant compounds can be eliminated with soaking, washing or roasting.

 

Main culinary uses of quinoa:

  • Quinoa grain – the grain cooks in around 15 minutes and when cooked, it reveals a small white tail (the germ of the kernel). It creates a light, fluffy side dish and it can also be added to soups, salads and baked goods.
  • Quinoa flour – with a tasty, nutty flavour, it may be used in gluten free baking.  This flour may also be used as a thickener in sauces, soups and other dishes, especially in cases where additional protein may be beneficial.
  • Quinoa flakes – are simply steam-rolled to create a quick cooking flake. Quinoa flakes can be used for a nutritious hot breakfast cereal, pancakes, waffles or smoothies. images (1)
  • Quinoa food products – quinoa is now appearing in a range of breads, breakfast cereal cereals, crackers, pasta and other grain-based foods.

 

What’s the Difference between White, Black, and Red Quinoa?

The seed colors vary due to a resinous coating of saponin on the outer shell. Pigmented quinoa grains are said to have a higher anti-oxidant capacity.  Darker seeds taste more like brown rice. While white seeds resemble white rice in taste.

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White quinoa

White quinoa has a very mild, subtle flavor. This pearly white grain is the most commonly available of all quinoa varieties.

Red Quinoa

Red quinoa color ranges from vivid orange to dark red. When it is cooked however, it turns brown and loses this bright coloring. Red quinoa has a marvelous earthy and fruity flavor.   There are higher levels of phenolic compounds found in red quinoa.

Black Quinoa

Black quinoa is a hybrid variety, and it has more of an earthy flavor than white quinoa and is ever so slightly sweeter.

All quinoa varieties.contain the same general benefits.

 

 

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