In recent years, many people have developed an interest in, and appetite for, quinoa. Most of the quinoa purchased and consumed in the US comes from Peru and Bolivia. Between the two countries, quinoa is an $87 million dollar business.
Overall Nutrient Richness
While quinoa may be eaten like a grain or ground into flour, it is much more rich in nutrients than either of those products for the following reasons:
High amounts of lysine and isoleucine make quinoa a complete protein source.
Quinoa is a valuable source of certain health-supportive fats.
Quinoa contains considerable levels of tocopherols (vitamin E family members), unlike most grains.
Quinoa is a good source of nutrients like folate, zinc, and phosphorus.
Quinoa is rich in overall phytonutrients, providing benefits in significant amounts of antioxidants like ferulic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and vanillic acid.
The antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol are often more plentiful in quinoa than in high-flavonoid berries like cranberry.
In combination, these nutrients allow quinoa to provide a high overall level of nourishment.
Recent studies reveal that quinoa intake may lower levels of inflammation in fat. This is to be expected, due to the high level and wide range of anti-inflammatory nutrients in quinoa.
Quinoa is a good source of fiber and protein. Both components are required for blood sugar regulation. Quinoa’s anti-inflammatory nutrients also ensure it would be a great candidate for diabetes risk reduction.
Quinoa has been shown to help lower total cholesterol and maintain levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). Future studies will probably reveal the benefits of quinoa to cardiovascular disease sufferers.
Risk reduction for colon cancer may also be of particular interest to researchers, given quinoa’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
Quinoa is a perfect food a wide range of consumers. It is gluten-free, with a low risk of allergy reaction, as it doesn’t belong to the same plant family as wheat, oats, barley, or rye. Try quinoa in vegetable soups and salads, or use the flour to bake cookies and muffins.
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