Quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain (similar to brown rice and barley), however, it is actually a seed.
Even though it’s a seed, you still prepare, cook, and eat quinoa the same way that you would other grains.
Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Chile, and Ecuador. It was domesticated for human consumption around 3000-4000 years ago.
Quinoa is pronounced “keen-wah,” not “kwin-oh-ah.”
Quinoa is a superfood for many reasons, which you will find out in this article. Here are some main health benefits of quinoa.
The Biggest Health Benefits Of Quinoa
1. Quinoa is High in Iron
Quinoa is full of iron. It contains 1.4 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. Iron is an essential element for blood production.
Around 70% of our body’s iron is found in hemoglobin (red blood cells) and myoglobin (muscle cells). Hemoglobin is what transfers oxygen in our blood from the lungs to the tissues.
Myoglobin is used to store, transport, and release oxygen in the body. Iron also helps convert blood sugar to energy. A lack of iron in the diet can lead to iron deficiency, which is the leading cause of anemia.
Women are at a greater risk than men for iron deficiency, due to their menstrual cycles. Symptoms of iron deficiency include lack of energy, fatigue, headaches, pale skin, and more.
Quinoa is a great food to eat to ensure you are getting enough iron in your diet.
2. Quinoa is High in Manganese
Manganese is a trace mineral present in small amounts in the body. Just 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa has 1.17 milligrams of manganese, which is 59% of the daily recommended value.
Adult males should aim to have 2.3 milligrams of manganese a day, whereas adult women need a bit less (1.8 milligrams of manganese daily).
Manganese is a vital mineral because it helps the body form connective tissue, bones, and sex hormones. It’s also beneficial in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
Manganese also helps the body to absorb calcium, and regulate blood sugar. Finally, manganese is necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
3. Quinoa is High in Protein
Quinoa is the perfect food for vegetarians and vegans because it is full of protein. 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8.14 grams of protein.
Quinoa is considered to be a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.
These essential amino acids can’t be made by the body, therefore you must consume them through food. Proteins are the building blocks of life.
4. Quinoa is High in Magnesium
Without magnesium, our body wouldn’t be able to produce energy. Our muscles would be permanently contracted, and our bodies wouldn’t be able to adjust the levels of cholesterol produced and released into our bloodstream.
Magnesium is the second most abundant element inside human cells, and it serves hundreds of functions within these cells.
Magnesium also helps in the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Quinoa is full of it, 100 grams of cooked quinoa contains 64 milligrams of magnesium. This is 16% of the recommended daily value.
5. Quinoa is High in Fiber
Fiber is a necessary for good digestion and regular bowel movements. Quinoa is full of it; 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber.
The more fiber we eat, the better. Fiber helps move everything through our intestines and bowels quickly, and it prevents constipation.
Most Americans are actually deficient in fiber. It is important to consume enough fiber because it also prevents heart disease by reducing high blood pressure.
A diet high in fiber also aids in weight loss because high fiber foods keep you full for longer periods of time.
6. Quinoa is High in Phosphorus
Quinoa is full of phosphorus; just one cup of cooked quinoa contains 28% of the recommended daily value.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is mostly used for growth and repair of cells and tissues in the body.
Every single cell in our body contains phosphorus, but most of the body’s phosphorus (85%) is found in the bones and teeth.
There, phosphorus works together with calcium in order to provide structure and strength.
7. Quinoa Contains Lysine
Quinoa contains lysine, which is an essential amino acid.
Our body uses lysine for growth and maintenance. It plays a major role in the absorption of calcium and building muscle protein.
Lysine also helps with the recovery process from surgery or sports injuries.
8. Quinoa is High in Folate
Folate is one of the B vitamins. Its two main forms are folic acid and vitamin B9. Just one cup of cooked quinoa contains 19% of the daily recommended value of folate.
Folate is extremely necessary for fertility in both men and women. Our bodies also use folate to make dna and other genetic material.
Without folate, our bodies cells wouldn’t be able to divide. Folate is especially important for pregnant women to consume in order to prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
9. Quinoa is High in Vitamin B2
Another B vitamin that quinoa contains is vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin. 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa contains 0.2 milligrams of riboflavin, which is 15% of the daily recommended value.
Riboflavin is necessary for the production of energy in the body. It works as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are known to damage cells and dna, so it’s very important that riboflavin destroys these free radicals. Riboflavin is also important for growth and the production of red blood cells.
10. Quinoa is High in Copper
Copper is an essential trace mineral found in all body tissues. Quinoa is very high in this mineral, 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa contains 0.36 milligrams of copper, which is 40% of the daily recommended value.
Copper works together with iron in the body to help form red blood cells. Additionally, it assists in keeping the blood vessels, nerves, and bones healthy. Copper also helps maintain a healthy immune system. Finally, copper aids in the absorption of iron.
Finally quinoa can be paired with foods that traditionally use rice because it is a bit like brown rice crossed with oatmeal.
It’s fluffy, creamy, slightly nutty flavored and crunchy all at the same time. There are also different varieties such as red and black. Finding quinoa recipes is just a click away, so try it and you’ll get all the benefits listed above.
These Are The Top Health Benefits Of Quinoa
- It’s high in iron
- It’s got lots of manganese
- It’s got lots of protein
- It’s high in magnesium
- It’s got tons of fiber
- It’s got plenty of phosphorus
- It contains lysine
- It’s high in folate
- It’s got a lot of vitamin B2
- It’s packed with copper