Super Food

To Quinoa or not to Quinoa

Quinoa can be found on my store shelves labelled as a superfood.  I bet you think that Quinoa is a grassy plant like wheat and rye.  It’s actually a flowering plant in the amaranth family, related to spinach, that is grown for its edible seeds.  The plant originated in Peru and Bolivia.  The plant is actually suited for growth in cooler climates, so it’s now being grown in the United States, the Canadian Prairies, and in my neck of the woods, Southern Ontario.

One cup of cooked quinoa has 220 calories, 3.6g fat, 8.1g protein, 318mg of potassium,16% of your daily iron, 10% of your B6, and 30% of your magnesium.  For a plant food, 8grams of protein is pretty awesome.  Quinoa is supposed to be a complete source of protein, because it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids.  There are apparently 20 amino acids, but 9 are essential because our bodies can’t make them. Amino acids are required in order to make proteins and enzymes that our body needs to carry out biochemical reactions and to produce hormones. I have read that it is the only plant based food that contains all of these, but soya also seems to also be complete!

Quinoa is also known to contain a good quantity of the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol.  It contains the anti-inflammatories arabinans and rhamnogalacturonans and hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids. A recent study showed that animals fed a daily diet of quinoa had lower levels of inflammatory issues, including obesity.   It’s been said to be rich in omega 3, but that might be a bit of a stretch, it has omega 3, but not in that great a concentration.  And if you are looking for maximum protein, the red and yellow varieties of quinoa have more than the white variety.

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