Quinoa was once a precious crop of the Inca civilisation in South America. Quinoa lost popularity since the loss of Inca civilisation and was not cultivated. However, in recent years it has sprung back in use. Quinoa is an extremely nutritious food. Quinoa is thought to be a grain, but it is in reality a seed from a plant associated with the spinach as well as chard family.
Quinoa is a protein rich food and free from gluten. It is the perfect staple food for those who are allergic to gluten and for vegetarians. People have started using pasta made from quinoa as it is much better for health as compared to wheat based pasta. Quinoa has a tinge of nut flavour and a nice fluffy texture. Quinoa can be easily digested and can be eaten cold or hot.
Why quinoa was popular in older days?
Quinoa was extremely popular during the Inca time as it helped warriors increase their stamina. It was also thought to be a religious plant and was considered holy during festivals. The Spanish arrived in South America in 1500 and brought about a change in the agricultural activities as well. They introduced crops like barley and quinoa, which were regarded as a low class food. The Incas were forced to grow wheat. The good news is that, quinoa is now again being cultivated in many parts of South America and people has started realising its health benefits all across the world.
Nutritional Value of Quinoa:
Quinoa is rich in all the eight essential amino acids. These amino acids are helpful in making the building blocks of protein. Quinoa is very high in lysine which is required for the repair and healthy growth of the tissues. Quinoa has many more minerals present in it such as:
– Quinoa has iron, which is helpful in transporting blood throughout the body. it also helps improve immunity.
– Quinoa has calcium which helps in making bones and teeth strong. It is required for proper functioning of the heart as well as muscles.
– Quinoa has magnesium which is good for cardiovascular health.
– Quinoa has fibre, which helps with the digestion process. It is helpful in reducing cholesterol as well as lowering the risk of few forms of cancer.
– Quinoa has phosphorus which works along with calcium to make your bones and teeth healthy.
– Quinoa has Vitamin B2, which is helpful in releasing energy from food. Vitamin B2 is required for good health of the hair, skin, nails as well as eyes.
Health benefits of quinoa:
1. Celiac Disease:
Quinoa is free from gluten. It can be safely used in place of wheat by those who are suffering from gluten intolerance. Quinoa is a safe food for those suffering from celiac disease.
2. Helpful with weight loss:
Quinoa is a more filling food as compared to wheat and even rice. Thus, it is really helpful in weight loss and must be included in your weight loss diet.
3. Cure for Malnutrition:
A research study conducted by Sweden based Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry concluded that quinoa is a nutritional food for infants and small children and should be given to those suffering from malnutrition.
Word of caution:
Quinoa has oxalate. Hence, it should be avoided by people with a history of kidney stones containing oxalate.
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