The “Summer Of The Superfood” moves along, with our selection #3 of 50: QUINOA!
Quinoa is a superfood that has become nutritionally renowned for its protein content; yet while it does have a decent amount of the good stuff, it’s not actually the amount of protein that’s so impressive. Instead, it’s the type of protein. 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 many types of meats.
This alone would make us consider quinoa as a premier superfood on our list; but wait, there’s more! One thing that people often overlook about quinoa, is that it contains almost TWICE as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation (yikes), and also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure & diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and may help you to lose weight. (Quick Tip: It takes a longer time to chew quinoa than does other foods, because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense,” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food)
Fact Time: There are 111 calories in each 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa.
In comparison to cereal grasses like wheat, quinoa is much higher in fat content, and can provide valuable amounts of heart-healthy fats like monounsaturated fat. Quinoa can also provide small amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Given this higher fat content, researchers initially assumed that quinoa would be more susceptible to oxidation and resulting nutrient damage; however, recent studies have shown that quinoa does not get oxidized as rapidly as might be expected given its higher fat content. This finding is GREAT news from a nutritional standpoint! In a nutshell, the processes of boiling, simmering, and steaming quinoa do not appear to significantly compromise the quality of quinoa’s fatty acids, allowing us to enjoy its cooked texture and flavor while maintaining this nutrient benefit. Food scientists have speculated that it is the diverse array of antioxidants found in quinoa—including various members of the vitamin E family like alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol as well as flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol—that contribute to this oxidative protection. At Tasty25, we recommend 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cooked quinoa, along with fresh veggies and/or a lean meat protein, such as chicken; do this, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a food conscious individual! – Tasty25 Staff
Wanna know a few ways to incorporate quinoa into your diet? Check out these great Tasty25 creations that contain quinoa: