Quinoa: The Ultimate Superfood?

Apr 05, 2013

Photo used under Creative Commons from SaucyGlo

North Americans have only recently discovered quinoa, but it has been revered for centuries dating to the time of the Incas.

Originating from the Andes region of South America, quinoa is a tiny, easy-to-cook seed that’s often misidentified as a whole grain.

Quinoa is gluten-free, cholesterol-free, kosher (according to some authorities) and usually organic, making it an option for many people on strict diets.

Quinoa is considered a complete source of protein, has valuable fats in small amounts and is rich in nutrients including vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Health benefits

  • Digestion. The high fiber and starch content of quinoa make it easily digestible and good for the digestive tract.
  • Heart health. Quinoa’s high magnesium content helps to relax blood vessels and enhance blood flow.
  • Exercise recovery. The potassium and vitamin B in quinoa are good for muscle recovery. Potassium helps the body pump fluids to the muscles more quickly and prevents cramping.
  • Weight maintenance. Quinoa is high in protein, which helps with satiety, but has low calorie and carbohydrate counts.

Fun Fact

Thanks to its exceptional nutritional content, quinoa is often included in astronauts’ meals on space missions.

Recipe: Red Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Quinoa is a healthy alternative to whole grains. When paired with high-fiber black beans, quinoa is a great backdrop for a healthy and unique salad. Serve this salad as a side dish or pair it with crusty whole-grain bread for a light meal.

Recipe Key: C = cup | T = tablespoon | t = teaspoon | oz = ounce

1 C red or regular dry quinoa

2 C water

⅔ C salsa

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 green onions, thinly sliced

3 T cilantro, chopped

2 T grated soy cheese

Rinse quinoa thoroughly, then add it to 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed (about 10–15 minutes).

Place the cooked quinoa in a medium-sized bowl. Add the salsa and black beans, and gently mix until combined. Place in serving bowls. Garnish with green onions, cilantro and soy cheese. Makes four 1-cup servings.

Per serving: 264 calories; 3 grams (g) fat; 12 g protein; 48 g carbs; 8.4 g fiber; 0 milligrams (mg) cholesterol; 192 mg sodium.

Source: Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine.

References

www.oaquinoa.com/quinoa-facts www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/quinoa-nutrition-facts bodyecology.com/articles/quinoa_benefits_guide.php

Research by Jessica Cline, IDEA Editorial Assistant

Topics

IDEA

© 2015 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

1 Comment

  • Log In to Comment
  • User

    Quinoa is great! I've been eating it most every morning fir breakfast with an added spoonful of EAS protein powder and blueberries and crushed almonds. I then pour on a little almond milk. We also make a cold quinoa salad with craisins and walnuts as well as chopped red and yellow peppers.
    Commented Apr 15, 2013

Trending Articles

How to Teach HIIT to Everyone

High-intensity interval training has been riding a wave of popularity, and it seems everyone wants to give it a try. However, intense interval training is nothing new. Group fitness instructors have b...

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

Rice-Cooking Technique Cuts Calorie Absorption in Half

In a molecular gastronomy-meets-lab-science moment, researchers at the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, Sri Lanka, have discovered a...

Low Intensity vs. High Intensity: Which Is Best for Obese Adults?

The debate continues regarding the most effective exercise measures for reducing abdominal obesity and improving glucose measures.

Show More