Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire back in the day. They referred to it as the mother of all grains and believed it to be sacred. It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only reached “superfood status” a few years ago!
The year 2013 was actually called The International Year of Quinoa”by the United Nations (UN), based on its high nutrient value and potential to contribute to food security worldwide. NASA scientists have been looking at it as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space, mostly based on its high nutrient content, ease of use and how easy it is to grow!
To cook quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked with this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.
Here are seven health benefits of quinoa:
1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels and may help you to lose weight.
3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function.
4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.
5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control.
6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.
7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.