The Health Benefits of Quinoa

Learn what quinoa is, how to cook it, and some of the health benefits this superfood packs.

The holiday season is filled with gorging on delicious foods and enjoying their flavors. But, before you eat a regrettable amount of carbs, you should try something new, like quinoa! Quinoa [keen-wah] is one of the world’s healthiest foods, according to Kris Gunnars, BSc, who said, “This superfood is gluten free, high in protein, and one of the few foods that contain all nine essential amino acids.”

Before you prepare dishes for family gatherings and other holiday get-togethers, consider infusing quinoa, a high-in-fiber alternative. Here are four health benefits of quinoa:

  1. Offers nutrition

Quinoa is a grain crop that is prepared and eaten similarly to other grains. The food has been eaten for thousands of years in South America. However, it recently was promoted to superfood status, according to Kris Gunnars, BSc. One cup of cooked quinoa yields:

  • Eight grams of protein
  • Five grams of fiber
  • 30 percent of the daily recommended allowance of magnesium
  • 9 percent of the daily recommended allowance of potassium
  • 222 calories

Quinoa is also a non-GMO – or not genetically modified – and typically grown organically.

  1. May help you lose weight

If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, quinoa is a food that could help you achieve those goals.

Quinoa has what is considered a low glycemic index of 53. When trying to maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity-related health conditions, there is evidence that eating more foods with low glycemic indices can help.

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise your blood sugar levels. Eating foods that have high glycemic indices can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity and has been linked to many of the common, chronic, Western diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Quinoa is also high in fiber. Food that is high in fiber can increase feelings of fullness. Although “feeling full” does not directly help you lose weight, it does allow you to eat fewer calories.

Quinoa is also high in protein. Protein can help increase metabolism and reduce your appetite, making quinoa a great food choice for weight loss.

  1. Does not have gluten

Approximately 20 million people in the U.S. are affected by a gluten allergy, according to Dr. Fasano, a University of Maryland researcher of gluten sensitivity. Quinoa is a naturally gluten-free food, so it’s perfect for with people who are intolerant.

Even if you are not gluten intolerant, about one-third of people in the U.S. are trying to minimize or avoid gluten in their diet.

  1. Easy to incorporate

Quinoa is an extremely versatile food. This means you can easily find recipes for quinoa online because it can be used for many dishes. You can eat this superfood for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you want to try quinoa but you are unsure how to prepare it, here is a quick recipe for delicious, fluffy quinoa:

  • Put 2 cups (240 ml) of water in a pot, and turn up the heat
  • Add 1 cup (170 grams) of raw quinoa, with a dash of salt
  • Boil for 15 to 20 minutes

If cooked correctly, the quinoa should have “a mild, nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch.”