Quinoa has recently become popular for its versatility and its numerous health benefits. This ancient super grain from South America provides a healthy alternative for many who lack in certain nutrients because of their dietary restrictions or lifestyles such as gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. However, this health-packed grain seed contains benefits that everyone could incorporate into their diets.
Although the health benefits may seem exaggerated, this grain lives up to its nutritional legacy. The Whole Grains Council states, “while no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom.”
Out of all ancient grains, quinoa is the only one that is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. It also includes the highest protein source for whole grains, making it a good meat replacement for vegetarians and vegans. “There is a lot of protein in quinoa. A half a cup of quinoa has 8-10 grams of protein. I eat a cup of it which is equivalent to a steak. It is gluten free and tastes great,” senior Parker Breza said.
If that wasn’t enough, quinoa provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber all while being gluten-free. Whole grains like quinoa are an integral part of a balanced diet having the recommended daily amount can reduce the chance of high blood pressure, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes.
One of the little known facts about quinoa is that it’s being used to save lives. The United Nations stated that it would be used as their “super crop” on account of its ability to grow in dry, rocky soils and its drought resistance. It can also be used to lower malnutrition around the world by providing them the sustainable and nutritious food source.
Although adding quinoa to your diet may seem intimidating, there are plenty of ways to integrate it without sacrificing delicious taste. Quinoa can be found in pasta, granola, bread, and crackers. Bakers can also buy flour or flakes to add to their treats for an extra antioxidant boost.
Some unique ways to try it out savory are Quinoa Pizza Bites and Quinoa Fried Rice; or for a sweet take, recipes like Almond Cranberry Quinoa Cookies and Quinoa Energy Bars can make any sugary treat healthier. “Quinoa is a great side dish to have with meals and is very high in protein so it’s great for athletes,” junior Maddie Etienne said.
This superfood supplies a great amount of protein for people who may not get enough in their normal diet. Packed with vitamins and fiber and able to be used in numerous recipes, quinoa is perfect for a balanced diet.