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quinoa superfood grain

I have mentioned in a few recipe posts that I am substituting quinoa for rice and wheat whenever possible due to its superior nutritional profile.

One cup of cooked quinoa has about 40 fewer calories than the same amount of white rice.  It also has far fewer carbs.  White rice has almost 15 times the carbs.  Quinoa also provides five more grams of fiber and twice the protein.  The protein provided by quinoa is also a complete protein something that is rarely, if ever found in plant proteins.

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As for comparing it to wheat, we won’t even go there.  Regardless of any nutritional valued that might be in wheat, little is left after it is processed into flours and cereals.  The gluten in wheat is showing up far too often as the underlying cause in a multitude of health problems in far too many people these days.  Of course it is a key component in so many of the delicious foods that we love that it is next to impossible to avoid it completely but I fund I feel much better when I substitute other foods.

Quinoa is considered a superfood and it should be.  It dates back 7000 years an originated in the mountainous regions of South American.  It is often called a grain, but it is actually a seed.  It’s frequently used in salads and can be substituted for rice on many occasions.

Quinoa is such a perfect food that tit was recognized by the United Nations as a key factor in eradicating hunger and malnutrition. Because it has such a broad nutritional profile and is so easy and economical to cultivate the UN declared 2013 as the Year of Quinoa.

The primary advantage of quinoa is that it is gluten free.  Gluten can trigger an avalanche of adverse reactions in those that are intolerant to it and I’m seeing it said more an more that it has a negative impact on those who aren’t gluten intolerant as well.

The second key advantage is that quinoa is a complete plant based protein.  Most plant proteins are missing parts of the amino acid complex making it difficult for those on vegetarian or vegan diets to obtain proteins in the correct balance.  A cup of quinoa provided over 17 percent of the recommended daily protein intake.

High in fiber and protein, quinoa helps you feel full after you have eaten and aids in weight loss.  Several of the nutrients in quinoa are showing up in studies as “revolutionary” in treating or preventing cancer.  One of these is quercetin which has significant success in stopping the spread of lung and other cancers.  Quercetin is also anti-inflammatory.

Quinoa supplies heart healthy fats and supports hearth health and optimal blood pressure.  It also has a very impressive vitamin and mineral profile.

I could go on to list all the nutrients in quinoa, but my point here is only to show why you might want to start substituting quinoa for rice and wheat when possible.  Adding quinoa to a salad can make it a more balanced meal.   Search for as many recipes as you can that use quinoa as a predominant ingredient.  They are delicious and you might just get hooked on this healthy “ancient grain.”

To read more about the health benefits of quinoa, head on over to Dr. Axe’s website.  He lists them out in detail.  He is a doctor, I’m not, so I’ll let him give you the whole nitty gritty on this superfood.

quinoa salad
A healthy salad made from cranberries, apple and quinoa.