Super-food Sunday: Quinoa

Ah, “Quinoa”, that mispronounced cereal eaten by hipsters and health freaks. 

However you say it, the question is; do you consume it?

No? 

Well, you should. 

Quinoa (pronounced keen-warh) contains an abundance of vitamins and antioxidants that have health boosting properties! 

It’s been eaten in south America for thousand of years and was considered sacred by the Incas. 

It can be eaten hot or cold; in a salad, by itself or as a side, and even as substitute for white rice – making it very versatile. It’s packed with protein and fibre, making it perfect if you’re after something filling, but also super healthy! It has more fibre than any grains with similar properties, and contains all the essential amino acids we need. 

It is also gluten free!

It has a low GI, making it suitable for people with diabetes, but is high in carbohydrates.

You can get black, white or red quinoa. All types are packed with compounds such as manganese, folate, copper, magnesium, zinc, potassium and even contain omega 3 fatty acids and a trace of calcium and vitamin E! 

Whilst quinoa is very high in minerals, it also contains phytic acid which can partly prevent them from being absorbed. It is advisable to soak the quinoa before cooking to get rid of most of the phytic acid.

Quinoa contains large amounts of flavonoid antioxidants; including Quercetin and Kaempferol. These are plant antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and possibly even anti-depressant effects. When quinoa is left to sprout, these antioxidants become even more potent. 

There are some studies that suggest that quinoa can lower your metabolic rate and help stabilise your blood sugars, meaning it is good for weight loss. 

It is simple to cook:

  1. Put 2 cups of water in a pot, turn up the heat.
  2. Add 1 cup of raw quinoa, with a dash of salt.
  3. Boil for 15-20 minutes.

This is the most basic way to prepare your quinoa. It is available to buy in many supermarkets, and also online. It has a nutty flavour and a nice bite to it.

What is your favourite way to enjoy quinoa? If you’ve never had it, try it and tell me what you think. 

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