Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”, is a widely renowned plant food that offers several health benefits. Quinoa is packed with protein comparable to eggs and meat, along with tons of other vitamins and nutrients. Since Quinoa is packed with vitamins and minerals, it makes an extremely beneficial addition to any diet. It has been shown to have several health benefits, including prevention and regulation of diabetes, controlling celiac disease, weight management, digestive, blood pressure and cholesterol issues, and anti-inflammatory conditions.
Quinoa, officially known as Chenopodium quinoa, is related to the food family that contains spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. However the part of the Quinoa plant that is most often consumed and which offers numerous health benefits, is the seed. The leaves of the plant taste similar to that of Swiss chard and spinach. Originating in South America, the vegetable has been grown and eaten in that region for hundreds of years. Grown throughout South America, the plant is exported to all corners of the world for consumption. In fact, 2013 was named by the United Nations to be the “International Year of the Quinoa” in hopes of spreading knowledge about this amazing plant food.
Quinoa is rich in nutrients. It is a huge source of protein, iron, fiber, magnesium, riboflavin, and manganese, among other nutrients. Furthermore, it has a low caloric count. This means that one gain absorb a large quantity of essential vitamins and nutrients without having to ingest large quantities of food. The amount of protein it has is astounding. There are nine different types of amino acids, the building blocks of protein that serve essential functions in the body, allowing it to act as both a whole grain and a protein source. Lysine, one type of amino acid present in Quinoa, is critical for tissue growth and repair.
Quinoa is widely known for its fiber content. Fiber is a great source that helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and helps fight constipation. In comparison to other whole grains, the plant has twice as much fiber than almost any other type of whole grain. Also contained within a serving of Quinoa is a large quantity of iron. Iron in the blood stream carries oxygen from one cell to another and even supplies oxygen to the muscles. It also keeps red blood cells healthy, increases enzyme activity, regulates body temperature, and produces energy.
Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium lowers blood pressure and relaxes blood vessels, calms nerves, and reduces stress. It also has regulates body temperature, detoxifies the body, and aids in healthy bone and teeth formation. Another nutrient Quinoa is rich in is B2, also known as riboflavin. Vitamin B2 aids the body by boosting energy metabolism and regulating energy production within cells. Quinoa is rich in manganese. Manganese is a common antioxidant that protects the cells from damage and from free radicals. Free radicals are damaged cells that destroy healthy cells, often producing different forms of cancer. Healthy fat is also found in abundance in Quinoa.
Consuming Quinoa may assist in managing early Type 2 diabetes. Quinoa has an extremely high protein to carbohydrate ratio. This means it helps regulate blood sugar in individuals in the early stages of the illness. Furthermore, since Quinoa contains a soluble type of fiber, the breakdown of carbohydrates to glucose is reduced, which helps to control blood sugar. Another reason that Quinoa consumption may prove to be beneficial for diabetes control is due to the high amount of antioxidants that are present in the seed.
Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance Benefits
Quinoa is beneficial for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance because it does not contain gluten. Therefore, it can be substituted as a replacement for more typical whole grains in bread or other dishes where grain is a primary ingredient.
Weight Management Benefits
Individuals who are trying to manage their weight may discover Quinoa beneficial. Due to the the amount of fiber, it helps one feel fuller, reducing hunger and the need to eat.
Digestive Health Benefits
Quinoa can help regulate digestive health. The regular consumption of fiber from the seed helps regulate the intestines. The gastrointestinal tract works smoother, and keeps you from feeling bloated and constipated. The plant seeds also act as a prebiotic which helps improve the good bacteria, known as microflora, in the intestines.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol-Lowering Benefits
It helps to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels with it’s high fiber content. It maintains good cholesterol levels, while decreasing the bad cholesterol levels.
Quinoa also reduces inflammation and works as an antioxidant. It is one of the most powerful plant seeds around to improve one’s health. It can be eaten by itself or with other foods. It is one of the healthiest foods around. It will not only fill you up with its heavy fiber base, but will keep you healthy and strong.