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Quinoa Properties, Benefits and Recipes

According to FAO and NASA, quinoa is an example of perfect food for the human diet with an ideal proportion of nutrients. We tell you about its properties, health benefits, how to cook it and some recipes with quinoa.

Quinoa (Chenopodium Quinoa Wild) was a sacred plant for the Incas and remains for the Andean people. The FAO assures that this pseudocereal embodies the ideal food for human beings and NASA has integrated it into their “astronautic” diets.

Let’s look at the properties of quinoa. A cereal unknown to our culture until recently and, now, increasingly consumed.

What is Quinoa and what are its nutritional properties

Quinoa is neither a cereal nor a legume, but a grain with a different nutritional composition that makes it unique and extremely healthy.

One of the reasons why the quinoa became so famous, was because of the fact NASA will treat it as a nutritious example and use it in travel for their astronauts. The truth is that quinoa has a series of qualities that make it an essential food, nutritious, easy to cook and tasty.

High biological value protein

A protein of high biological value means that it contains all the essential amino acids in the right amounts so that our body can “build” its own proteins, that is, its own tissue. Quinoa is one of those foods that contains usable proteins and that can perfectly substitute the consumption of meat and fish in vegetarian diets or, at least, it can serve us to reduce it a bit. At the same time, since it does not have saturated fats or gluten, it has a good digestibility.

Omega 3 for the heart

Quinoa is one of the grains richest in essential fatty acids, including those of the Omega 3 family, so necessary for cardiovascular health and brain function and cognitive activities.

Fiber for the intestine

Like cereals and legumes, quinoa is rich in fiber, an essential prebiotic to maintain bowel health and regular transit.

Vitamins and minerals for everything

Although quinoa contains rich in vitamins of group B (among them, B1, B2, B3 and folic acid), A and E, it stands out especially for its interesting composition of minerals and trace elements. Quinoa contains iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper and lithium.

Nutritional table of Quinoa

These are the approximate nutrients of quinoa for every 100g of product:

Kcal: 380                                                                     

 Proteins: 13g

Carbohydrates: 60g

Fiber: 7g

Total fats: 6g

Omega 3: 40mg

Calcium: 57mg

Magnesium: 200mg

Zinc: 3 U.I

Iron: 5mg

Vitamin B1: 0.35mg

Vitamin B2: 0.3mg

Vitamin B3: 1.50mg

Vitamin E: 2.5mcg

Vitamin A: 14U.I.

Benefits of Quinoa in health

Thanks to this synergy of nutrients and specific qualities (useful protein, low in saturated fat, rich in Omega 3, vitamins and minerals, etc.), quinoa is indicated in:

Health of the cardiovascular system: Its richness in omega 3 makes it a good ally in diets to strengthen the heart, arteries, circulatory system, etc.

Brain and nervous system: Thanks to the combination of amino acids, trace elements and vitamins of group B, quinoa is an ideal food for people suffering from anxiety, depression, nervousness, insomnia, memory problems, hyperactivity, etc.

Athletes: Not only because of the protein issue, but also because of its energy input and lack of saturated fat, trace elements and vitamins, this pseudocereal is perfect in a healthy diet for athletes.

Slimming and detoxification diets: For the above reasons and because it is an alkaline food that combats acidosis, quinoa is indicated in obesity, weight loss diets and diets to detoxify the body.

Medicinal plant: In addition to be a nutritious food, the Incas used different parts of this plant (leaves, stem) to treat all kinds of ailments and still today is used as a natural remedy for cholesterol, gastritis, heartburn, liver protector, osteoporosis, migraine, diabetes, hemorrhages, muscle aches, etc.

How to cook quinoa

Besides being nutritious, cooking quinoa is the easiest and most comfortable thing in the world. We will have to cook it as if it were a cereal, only this cereal takes very little time to be made.

First, we have to wash it abundantly until the water comes out clear. Then add it to the pot with water and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Yes, it can be done in 10 minutes with the fire to the top, but if you want to preserve its nutritional properties, better give it a little patience and wait ten more minutes cooking it on a low heat.

The result is a kind of very fine and delicate grain, much softer than rice, millet or any other cereal, which combines perfectly with the same ingredients that you usually use to cook rice. Here are some suggestions.

Recipes with quinoa

Quinoa salad

Cook the quinoa and scoop it. Then, mix it with the vegetables you have on hand: tomato, lettuce, onion, carrot, broccoli, etc. … a little virgin olive oil, salt, pepper or even all scrambled with a little organic mustard. Colophon add a sesame seed.

Scrambled eggs of quinoa and mushrooms

Cook the quinoa in a pot. Meanwhile, chop a little onion and mushrooms and sauté them in a pan. When it has sofrito, remove it from the heat, add the drained quinoa. Dress with a little soy sauce and some pumpkin seeds.

Quinoa broth

Make a good soup by cooking all kinds of vegetables. Strain the broth and use it to cook the quinoa. You will finally get a soup by replacing the harmful wheat pasta with healthy quinoa.

Quinoa stew

While you cook the quinoa in a pot full of water, add some fresh vegetables that you have handy, chopped. For example, chard, spinach, a little squared potato, leek, carrot, onion … Let it cook all at once for 20 minutes over low heat (half-cooked vegetables are delicious and more nutritious). At the end, add salt, cumin, ginger and a splash of raw virgin olive oil.

Do not forget, though, that any food alone will not provide health. What makes us strong and healthy is a varied diet with a wealth of fresh seasonal organic foods free of pesticides. Of course, among this variety of foods, it is convenient to integrate quinoa, an extraordinary grain that, as we have seen, not only contains essential nutrients, but is also delicious and surprisingly easy to cook.

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