Quinoa: The Magic Seed of the Century

 

It’s quite ironic that we are living in the New Age being that our population now is in dying need of Old Age wisdom and foods. Including this ancient grain called Quinoa.

What is quinoa? 

Pronounced (keen-wa) you’ve probably seen this name suddenly appear in many places during 2013, including nachos, breads, granola bars, quinoa pastas, etc. When I introduced this food into my life, it has made a significant difference in helping me to maintain a healthy state and added noticeable benefits to my nutrition. As a matter of fact, this food has been declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States as the “International Year of Quinoa”. But still, it remains mysterious to the majority of us.

It looks quite strange so let’s start off by explaining what it is. Quinoa is referred to by many as an ancient grain but is actually a seed taken from a vegetable related to the spinach family.

Quinoa_600

5 POWERFUL BENEFITS OF QUINOA

1) HEFTY IN PROTEIN, LOW IN CARBS

What more could we ask for? Essential amino acids galore. One cup of quinoa which is proportionate to 185g contains 8g of protein. (That’s about 3 egg whites).  The common problem with a lot of grains such as brown rice, oats, wheats is that they contain a high amount of carbs (which is not such a bad thing being that those carbs are complex.) Some even contain gluten in which today, increasingly, people have become allergic to. These mostly contain about 3g of protein per serving which quinoa most certainly defeats. It’s a benefit for vegetarians being that many lack in the protein department due to no intake of meat.

Most times, i’ve replaced my oats, brown rice, mashed potatoes with quinoa and quinoa flakes.

2) MAGNESIUM 

One of the most abundant minerals in our body is magnesium. Magnesium is the babe that regulates the biochemical reactions that occur in our bodies and is required for energy production.

Here is the recommended amount according to National Institutes of Health:

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium [1]
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 30 mg* 30 mg*
7–12 months 75 mg* 75 mg*
1–3 years 80 mg 80 mg
4–8 years 130 mg 130 mg
9–13 years 240 mg 240 mg
14–18 years 410 mg 360 mg 400 mg 360 mg
19–30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg 310 mg
31–50 years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg 320 mg
51+ years 420 mg 320 mg

The good news here is that quinoa contains 118 mg per cup! Which if you’re in my age range, it’s almost half of the amount we actually need per day.

3) It’s like IronMan

Seriously though. Iron is one of the many healthy supplements I take daily because it’s what is needed for the formation of hemoglobin (protein molecule in blood cells). It also keeps our red blood cells well as it carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles. ** Important note for those of you who run or lift.** It’s extremely essential to the functioning of our human body. Sufficient iron in your body means a stronger immune system to support you.  If not, you can become iron deficient which can lead to conditions like iron deficiency anemia. Let’s not go there… One cup of cooked quinoa?

  • 2.76 mg iron

Score.

4) Fiber 

Improves large intestine function and keeps the muscles of the large intestine strong. Which means it speeds up the  time it takes for  food to transit and increases the size of stool, thereby helping prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. (Yes, that means if you have trouble going to the bathroom, fiber should be your best friend.)

Quinoa includes 5 grams of fiber, which is 21% the recommended amount.

5) Low Caloric Intake

It only has 172 calories per ¼ cup dry quinoa and it’s all very dense in nutrients

BONUS : It’s Fun to Cook With 

I personally enjoy making garlic “mashed potatoes” out of quinoa flakes, dessert quinoa “oatmeal” and I also use it as the stable rice for meals. There are many ways you can have fun experimenting with it.

 

What does it taste like?

It all depends on how you want to cook it and with what seasonings. You can make it sweet or you can make it savory. If simply boiled, it tastes quite bland and dull so it’s up to you to dress it up.

 

Hope this helps. Take care!

 

In Love and In Light,

Sandy Vo

 

 

 

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