Although quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is referred to as a grain, it is actually a seed from a vegetable related to swiss chard, spinach and beets. Quinoa is gaining popularity as an easily-prepared, easily digested, nutrient-rich super food. It has many health benefits. Quinoa is high in protein and gluten free. It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, which means that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Quinoa is a good source of riboflavin which helps improve the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells. It also contains beneficial anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients. Quinoa contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, as well as alpha-linolenic acid or ALA—the omega-3 fatty acid associated with decreased risk of inflammation-related disease. Quinoa is a very good source of manganese, an important trace mineral that helps to protect cells from free radical damage. It is also a good source of phosphorus, copper, magnesium, dietary fibre, folate, and zinc.
Quinoa can be cooked as a breakfast porridge, used in soups, salads or as an alternative to rice. Stay tuned for upcoming quinoa recipes.