Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods. Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants. There are three main types: white, red and black.
This is the nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa:
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Fiber: 5 grams.
- Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
- Folate: 19% of the RDA.
- Copper: 18% of the RDA.
- Iron: 15% of the RDA.
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
- Potassium 9% of the RDA.
- Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
- Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E.
This comes with a total of 222 calories, with 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. It also contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Quinoa is non-GMO, gluten-free and usually grown organically. Even though technically not a cereal grain, it still counts as a whole-grain food.
- Its very nutritious.
- Quinoa contains large amounts of flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These are potent plant antioxidants with numerous health benefits.
- Quinoa is much higher in fiber than most grains. One study found 17–27 grams of fiber per cup (185 grams). Most of the fiber is insoluble, but one cup of quinoa still contains 2.5 grams of insoluble fiber.
- Quinoa is naturally gluten-free. Using it instead of typical gluten-free ingredients can increase the antioxidant and nutrient value of your diet when you’re avoiding gluten.
- Quinoa is high in protein compared to most plant foods. It also contains all the essential amino acids that you need, making it an excellent protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
- The glycemic index of quinoa is around 53, which is considered low and very good for type 2 diabetes patients. However, it’s still relatively high in carbs.
- Quinoa is very high in minerals, but its phytic acid can partly prevent them from being absorbed. Soaking or sprouting degrades most of the phytic acid.
- Two studies, in humans and rats respectively, show that quinoa can improve metabolic health, by reducing blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels. However, more research is needed.
- Quinoa appears to be very high in antioxidants. Sprouting increases their antioxidant levels even further.
- Quinoa is high in fiber, protein and has a low glycemic index. These properties have all been linked to weight loss and improved health.
- You can easily find many healthy and diverse recipes for quinoa online, including breakfast bowls, lunches and dinners.