Native from the Andes, quinoa was considered by the Incas as the mother of all grains thanks to its nutritional properties. With more than 7,000 years of history, is one of the few vegetable foods that have in their composition all the essential amino acids, vitamins and trace elements needed by the body. Hence we are facing one of the most balanced and complete foods of the world.
The Andean people’s appreciated quinoa not only for its properties as an excellent food but also for its medicinal and cosmetic uses. In fact, each year the priests offered gold vessels filled with quinoa to Inti, the Sun God.
Technically, it’s a seed or pseudocereal because, even though it’s cooked and consumed like another cereals (and even has a similar nutritional profile due to its starch content), in botanical terms, the “golden grain” belongs to the beetroot, chard and spinach Family.
Nowadays, around 120 varieties of quinoa are known, but the most cultivated and commercialized are white, red and black ones. You can find individual containers of each type or a mix of all three.
From the nutritional point of view, quinoa’s excellence is due to its capacity to provide high quality and bioavailability proteins to our diet. Among the amino acids that integrate these high biological value proteins, we can highlight lysine, an essential amino acid (so called because it can not be synthesized by the body and can only be obtained through diet), which performs important functions in the body:
Promotes a proper brain development.
Ensures the absorption and distribution of calcium.
Promotes the production of antibodies.
Help in the treatment of Herpes simplex.
Stimulates growth hormone.
Improves gastric function.
Facilitates recovery from surgery.
Quinoa presents such an exceptional balance of essential amino acids that is really close to the ideal value established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who also values its healing virtues: dental analgesic, sedative, healing, diuretic, body purifier and toxins eliminator, among others. The National Academy of Sciences of the United States calls it “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom”.
This seed is gluten free, that’s why it is highly recommended for people with celiac disease or even for those who don’t assimilate well the most common cereals (wheat, rye,…).
Its low glycemic index makes quinoa a great food for people with diabetes and a regular consumption could help reducing the risk of this disease.
Quinoa is very easy to digest and can help us feeling satisfied longer, so its use is very advisable for athletes, convalescents, growing children and teenagers, pregnant women and obese people. Its fat intake is very low and, in addition, most polyunsaturated, which, along with its interesting dietary fiber, can help reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
This seed is a magnificent source of iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc, as well as B vitamins and folic acid.
One cup of boiled quinoa provides about 160 calories, 4 mg of iron, 90 mg of magnesium, 175 mg of phosphorus, 315 mg of potassium, 1,5 mg of zinc and 7 grams of high biological value protein. This substantial protein intake makes quinoa a perfect food for people who follow vegetarian diets.
How to prepare it:
First of all, wash well under running water.
For each measure of dry quinoa, add two of water.
Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Add quinoa to your salads, soups, stews, purees, scrambled eggs, omelettes,…
Its flour is used to make bread, biscuits, noodles,…
You can also add it directly to your yogurt.