First of all, it is pronounced “keen-wa”, and secondly it is not a grain. Quinoa is actually a seed, and is in the same family as beets, chard and spinach.
Eating a bowl of quinoa a day may lower your risk of premature death from diseases like
- heart disease
- respiratory disease, and
by 17 percent. This was the finding from a Harvard School of Public Health study, which followed more than 367,000 people for 14 years.
It is interesting that a famous doctor with a daily column in one of Turkey’s biggest newspapers, and even the US Whole Grains Council insists that quinoa is a grain. Given my aversion to grains, I say it again it is not a grain.
Quinoa Contains Both Healthy Fats and Protein
Quinoa is often described as the highest – protein “grain”, and this is because it is actually a complete protein. There are 9 essential amino acids that you must get via your diet, as your body does not make them on its own.
Foods that supply all of the essential amino acids are generally known as “complete” proteins, while those that do not are known as “incomplete” proteins. Most grains lack adequate amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine, which are important for immune system health, muscle repair, and may even reduce anxiety.
Close to 30 percent of the fatty acids in quinoa come from oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil, and linked to reduced blood pressure and heart disease risk. About 5 percent of quinoa’s fatty acids are alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a beneficial form of plant-based omega-3s.
Most foods lose their healthy fatty acids when oxidized, but quinoa’s nutrients hold up to boiling, simmering, and steaming.
Quinoa is an Antioxidant Powerhouse
Quinoa is rich in phytonutrients, and rivals those found in berries and cranberries. Quinoa also contains quercetin that many believe prevents histamine release.
Furthermore, the phenolic acids in quinoa offer powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Comparing this to most grains, which tend to increase levels of inflammation in your body.
Quinoa May Boost Heart Health, Lower Diabetes Risk
In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, consuming quinoa led to lower levels of triglycerides and free fatty-acids, which is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
In a study of rats fed a high- fructose diet, it was shown that “quinoa seeds can reduce the adverse effects exerted by fructose on lipid profile and glucose level.”
Consume this seed to reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 5 grams of fiber. This is quite impressive when compared to many other foods, but keep in mind that the recommended amount is between 20 to 30 grams per day.
Studies show that there is an inverse association between fiber intake and heart attacks, and that those eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Most people rely on grains to get more fiber into their diet; quinoa is a much better choice.
Remember that all grains contain gluten and that Homo sapiens are not genetically programmed to consume gluten.
Quinoa Can Be Eaten Hot or Cold, for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner
Try quinoa in salads, soups or stews, as a breakfast porridge, and as a healthy side dish.
Now, I’m going to give you my wife’s recipe for the quinoa salad, which I consume almost every day for lunch.
Pinky’s Quinoa Salad
First, wash the seeds thoroughly before boiling, and drain all the water.
For one measure of quinoa, use two measures of water to boil them in. If you are using one cup of quinoa, boil in two cups of water. Don’t cover the pot while boiling.
When the water has almost all evaporated, and the surface looks like cooked “rice”, take it off the stove and put a paper towel on the top of the pot and let it simmer.
Mix the dressing into the quinoa while it is still warm.
Other ingredients to mix in later:
Red peppers (bell peppers sliced thinly)
Scallions (fresh onions)
Dill pickles (chopped)
A plentiful amount of walnuts.
You can pretty much put in anything that you want; Pinky’s recipe is just a suggestion.
See you all next week.