We love using quinoa in our menu. It is delicious, works well with nearly everything and is one of the world's superfoods. At this point you might be thinking "quinwhat?" Well, quinoa (pronounce "Keen-wah") is a plant whose leafs and seeds served as the go-to staple food for Incas in the Andes mountain range. The Spanish Conquistadors, who conquered South America, made it illegal for natives to cultivate quinoa and enforced cereal upon everyone. Little did they know about the plant's health benefits. Quinoa saw a massive increase in popularity in recent years and the United Nations even named 2013 the year of quinoa! So what does it even look like? Uncooked, it looks like an ordinary grain. Cooking quinoa follows the exact same process you use to cook ordinary rice. It then absorbs all the water and becomes puffy with a subtle nutty flavour.
Besides being extremely delicious and versatile, it also provides a host of health benefits. We list our five favorite ones.
Five Amazing Health Benefits of Quinoa
- It is very high in protein, and moreover, quinoa is a complete protein. What that means is that in order for protein to reach its full potential you need all 9 different amino-acids. Quinoa supplies you with all 9, resulting in increased protein absorption by your body!
- Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate with a very low glycemic index. The glycemic index indicates how fast your body's blood glucose levels will rise after ingestion. We all know that afternoon slump an hour after we have a sugary treat. That is caused by a high glycemic index level. Quinoa does the opposite, it releases energy to your body slowly so you will have sustained energy throughout your day.
- The nutritional value of quinoa is through the roof. Look at all the nutrients you are getting in just one cup of cooked quinoa:
- It is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that interact with free radicals and neutralize them. This will prevent them from causing any damage. Antioxidants are linked with reduced risk of certain types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, improving general health, slowing down the aging process and a whole list of other benefits.
- Quinoa is the least allergenic of all grains. It is an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans who struggle to get sufficient amounts of essential nutrients such as protein. There really is no excuse for not eating this superfood!