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Health Benefits of Quinoa

November 15, 2010

Health Benefits of Quinoa

The other day I got an email from my very good client and friend Devin. He was wondering about the health benefits of Quinoa.

Sam-

I’ve heard a lot about Quinoa lately.

I think that will be a great topic for a blog/email to hear about it from the Fitness Expert.

Should it be treated like a veggie?

Thanks,

Devin

Brief History of Quinoa

Quinoa has been produced in South America since 3000 B.C., and although the Spanish conquistadors all but eliminated the existence of quinoa in an attempt to destroy the South American natives and their culture, quinoa is still an important seed crop for human consumption in the Andean region of South America.

Quinoa is able to grow in the severe cold and high altitude of the “altiplano” region of the Andes. Although quinoa is considered a grain, it’s technically the seed of a plant related to the beet, chard and spinach plants, and has been classified as a pseudo-cereal.

Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in any dish from soup to salad. The major quinoa producing countries are Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, and although North American farmers are growing quinoa, they have been unable to match the quality of the quinoa grown in the Andean countries.

Click here to learn about recipes with Quinoa

Nutrients in Quinoa

Quinoa contains more protein than most grains and offers a more evenly balanced array of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, making quinoa an excellent protein source for vegetarians. Quinoa is being considered by NASA as a crop for Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) because of its high protein value and unique amino acid composition. Quinoa is an excellent source of magnesium and manganese. It’s a very good source of protein, vitamin B2, vita­min E, and dietary fiber. It’s a good source of the minerals iron, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.

NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Quinoa, uncooked Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,539 kJ (368 kcal)
Carbohydrates 64 g
Dietary fiber 7 g
Fat 6 g
Protein 14 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.36 mg
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.32 mg
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg
Folate (Vit B9) 184 μg
Vitamin E 2.4 mg
Iron 4.6 mg
Magnesium 197 mg
Phosphorus 457 mg
Zinc 3.1 mg
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.

Quinoa for Celiac DiseaseOrganic Quinoa

Quinoa is gluten free, and is a safe alternative for wheat/gluten intolerant individuals, and celiac disease sufferers.

Quinoa for Weight Loss

Quinoa has been found to be more satiating than wheat or rice, and may be exploited for it’s potential impact on eating behavior.

Quinoa for Malnutrition

A study by the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry in Sweden has demonstrated the effectiveness of quinoa as an infant food for undernourished children.

Adverse Reactions

Quinoa contains oxalate, and should be avoided by individuals with a history of kidney stones containing oxalate.

Here is a great resource for recipes with Quinoa


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