9/01/2014

FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD TRY QUINOA

While in New York a few months ago, I discovered “Quinoa” (/ˈkiːnwɑː/). It had been a stressful, but fulfilling day and I was on my way back home when I spotted a restaurant on Columbus Avenue. I went in and asked the attendant to give me fried rice (it was a buffet styled restaurant) and she goes “oh that’s not rice”. I say “really, what is it?” she says “it’s quinoa.” “Quinoa!” I say. “Yes Quinoa,” she replied, “you want to taste?” she asked. “Yes please!” and that was it. I loved it. And I was eating quinoa all day, all week, and all through my stay in New York, especially after I did my research and found out it was healthy. I had intended to buy a small bag to take along with me, but airport weight restrictions, I had other valuable things to bring along with me (*chuckling*). I would definitely keep an eye out for this in stores here in Nigeria.
So what is Quinoa? Quinoa, a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beetroots, spinach and tumbleweeds. It is high in protein and lacks gluten. Quinoa grows in a rainbow of colors, but the most commonly available are red quinoa, black quinoa and white quinoa. Below are five nutritional benefits of Quinoa



1. Quinoa is high in protein. Research shows that Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is rarely found in plant foods, though common in meats. 

2. Quinoa also offers a good dose of fiber and iron. Research shows that there are 111 calories in each 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa. The high amount of fiber should also help to increase feelings of fullness, making you eat fewer calories overall, thus making Quinoa a good diet option for weight watchers. Fiber is also widely known to relieve constipation.

3. Quinoa is said to be very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals and are believed to help fight ageing and many diseases.

4. Quinoa contains Iron. There are many benefits of iron; it aids in neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, enzyme activity and energy metabolism. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction.

5. Quinoa is high in minerals such as Magnesium, potassium, zinc and (for women) iron. These are minerals which most people tend to lack.

I would definitely be keeping this seed in my diet and hopefully would find it in the stores here. If you would like to try this out and are searching for cooking tips, there are many resources online on cooking tips and recipes for quinoa. 
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