Quinoa is called an ancient grain because unlike wheat, for example, it has remained the same for thousands of years. And there are hundreds of different types of quinoa but the most common are the black, white and red varieties. What’s more, quinoa isn’t actually really a grain, but a seed. However, it’s cooked like a grain, and eaten as an alternative to rice and couscous so to all intents and purposes let’s stick with the term ‘grain.’
So what are the health benefits of quinoa? Well firstly, it’s a whole grain, with all its fibre intact. Most people know that they need fibre for a healthy digestive system and to relieve constipation, but many don’t know just how important it is for other health reasons such as reducing high blood pressure, lowering blood sugar levels and keeping cholesterol levels healthy. And of course it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, meaning fewer calories for the same amount of food. Add to that it’s gluten free - meaning most people have no problems eating it!
What’s more, it’s considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that our bodies need. It’s actually one of the only complete protein plant-based foods and in fact, due to its high protein content, it boasts a much higher protein to carbohydrate ratio than other grain products.
As if that’s not enough to get you shooting off to Waitrose for a bag of these tiny balls of goodness, it also boasts a whole host of vitamins and minerals, including:
Quinoa is very versatile too. It can be eaten as a breakfast cereal (in a similar way to oats), in salads, as a side to things like curries and stews, or can be added to soup to give an extra protein and vitamin/mineral boost.
If you aren’t already eating quinoa, the only question is, why not?!
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