Emma Rinard is a world-traveler and multidisciplinary writer, who is passionate about living holistically. She knows first hand the importance of organic products in living a healthy lifestyle and hopes to raise awareness in others by contributing to HomeOrganic. She endeavors to write in a way that inspires others to take the reins of their own life and to thrive.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a seed, prepared in a similar way to rice. Many people consider this a grain, and although it is not scientifically considered a grain, it is a type of “whole grain.” This seed comes in different varieties, such as white, red, black, and tri-color quinoa, and after it is cooked in water, becomes a soft, fluffy base for many kinds of bowls and other dishes. Moreover, quinoa is filled with many nutrients that benefit everyone, as well as may benefit expectant mothers who are searching for naturally occurring folate, a crucial nutrient involved in the development of the growing baby’s spine and brain. Quinoa originates in the Andes, with evidence pointing to its use as far back as 3000-5000BCE. Quinoa is amazingly versatile, with a mild flavor that can be used in many different meals, and is often used to replace rice or couscous in some dishes.
The Many Health Benefits to Eating Quinoa
Quinoa is a great food to add to your meal rotation if you are seeking a healthy base for some delicious foods. It is often used in different styles of eating, whether following a strict meal plan or you are just trying to make a few healthier swaps instead of changing your entire way of eating. This is because of how many nutritional benefits quinoa contains. Here are the reasons you will love to add this to your diet:
- Protein: this whole grain is a great way to get some more protein into your meals. One cup of quinoa has about 8 grams of protein, which is great news for those who are eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. Quinoa is considered a “complete protein,” in that it contains all of the amino acids that our body needs from outside sources.
- Fiber: quinoa also contains 5 grams of fiber per cup, which is important when trying to maintain bowel health. Having consistent bowel movements is crucial in your body’s detoxification process and overall health. Fiber can help in regulating this for you, and as such, quinoa can be a great aid in this important bodily function.
- Folate: as mentioned earlier, folate is extremely crucial in the proper development of a baby in utero. Furthermore, it is very important to include in everyone’s diet, even those who are not expecting, as it helps promote healthy cell growth and red blood cell formation.
- Copper: this nutrient is often overlooked, but is still vital for our health. Iron deficiency is often considered the reason behind anemia, but sometimes it is actually a copper deficiency that causes these issues associated with low iron. Copper helps your body create energy, helps continue to develop the brain, and much more.
- Manganese: this mineral is also in quinoa, and is very important for the proper functioning of the body. Manganese aids your body in clotting blood, which is important for the proper healing of wounds. It also helps your reproductive system function as it should.
- Magnesium: another very important mineral that is found in quinoa. Without the proper balance of magnesium to sodium, your body is not able to properly use sodium or potassium to its benefit. Maintaining a healthy balance of these three nutrients is critical for your health. Furthermore, magnesium also supports muscle and nerve function, as well as energy production.
There are many nutritional benefits to adding this ancient “whole grain” into your diet. It is also celiac friendly, as it contains no gluten, which makes it an even easier food for everyone to access and benefit from.
The Amazing Ways to Start Using Quinoa in Meals
Quinoa is a very versatile seed that can be used in savory and sweet meals, though it is more commonly used in savory dishes. This can be a great substitute for a meal that calls for rice or couscous, and its nutritional benefits alone can attest to this.
Many people choose to use quinoa in what is known as a “power bowl” or a “buddha bowl.” These bowls include a base, usually quinoa or something similar, and then many seasoned vegetables prepared in different ways, with a delicious dressing or sauce poured over the top. These bowls can be a great way to have a well balanced meal, with the recommended amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. There are many wonderful recipes for these bowls at your fingertips with one quick search on your internet browser.
Another way to use quinoa is by substituting it for oatmeal in the mornings, or by blending it into your smoothies for an extra nutritional boost. It can also be used in many kinds of delicious soups, can be used as a topping in salads, and in granola bars or energy bars. There are many options when you are hoping to incorporate quinoa into any meal.
Quinoa – Perfect for any Meal
Quinoa is a great seed that can take the place of a delicious whole grain. Quinoa is a great gluten-free source of carbohydrates that can cater to your unique needs, diet or allergies. It can be a great and healthy substitute for many things mentioned, like rice and couscous, and perhaps even more surprisingly, it can replace oatmeal. Creating a healthy bowl filled with quinoa as a base, steamed vegetables, and a marinated meat with a great sauce is a wonderful way to make use of your quinoa, while also being sure to get a well-rounded meal filled with your recommended daily intake of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The options are nearly endless for the use of quinoa in the kitchen. These are some of the great benefits and reasons to consider purchasing quinoa when trying to find the next best thing to add to your pantry.