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The Wholesome Health Benefits of Quinoa

HEALTHY FOOD
14th December, 2023

Getting to know the Superfood Quinoa Better

As the demand for conscious healthy eating habits rises, the lookout for wholesome food by digging the hidden gems in our civilizations is increasing. Over the past several years, a stark example of this has been the surge in the popularity of quinoa. Often dubbed as a superfood or the mother of all grains, the roots of cultivating quinoa can be traced back 5,000 years in South America.

Given how easy to prepare it is and its nutritional quotient, globalisation has led this to be adopted across various cultures, ingratiating it as an integral part of people's grocery list. But, how exactly does this food benefit you? What is the nutritional build-up of quinoa? Which is the best way to consume it to derive its full potential? We uncover the answers to these and more as we dissect them to give you an in-depth knowledge of quinoa.

Nutritional Structure of Quinoa

The spread of knowledge of the hardiness and nutritional quotient of quinoa has recently put it back on top as one of the most preferred health food items. It has even been deemed as the food item that can put an end to the malnutrition crisis in many parts of the world. The presence of protein, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids makes it a wholesome food you need to get in your system ASAP.

Rich in folate, fibre, and zinc, this is one of the best antioxidants out there. You get every penny's worth when you get your hands on a jar of a packet of quinoa from your grocery shopping.

Nutritional Value of One Cup of Quinoa

A cup of cooked quinoa daily can go a long way in serving as one of the primary fillers of your nutritional content. Here is a breakdown of the nutritional value of one cup of cooked quinoa.

  1. Total calories – 222 kcals
  2. Protein – 8 gm
  3. Carbs – 39 gm
  4. Fat – 4 gm
  5. Fibre – 5 gm
  6. Iron – 15% of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances)
  7. Potassium – 9% of the RDA
  8. Copper - 18% of the RDA
  9. Folate – 19% of the RDA
  10. Phosphorus - 28% of the RDA
  11. Zinc - 13% of the RDA
  12. Magnesium - 30% of the RDA
  13. Manganese - 58% of the RDA
  14. Vitamins B1, B2, and B6 - 10% of the RDA
  15. Traces of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin B3, vitamin E

Health Benefits of Quinoa

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Quinoa was treated as a sacred food by the Inca people. Extremely easy to grow and cook, this hassle-free food item has recently soared high in popularity, thanks to the scientific research that has gone behind its potency in serving numerous health benefits. Here are some of the primary ones among them.

Helps Control Weight Loss

If you are starting a weight loss meal plan, then quinoa is a great starting option as it is rich in insoluble fibre which will help you stay full for a long time, thereby stopping you from snacking frequently and curbing overeating in the process. It supports your gut health and helps maintain a stable weight.

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Components

Antioxidants play a vital role in protecting the cells of your body from radicals, which, in turn, helps you steer away from diseases. Quinoa is a rich source of antioxidants due to the presence of quercetin and kaempferol, which are among the main flavonoids found in this superfood. These have anti-inflammatory qualities that serve as antioxidants, protecting your cells from various unstable molecules. You will save yourself from various diseases and vastly improve your overall mortality.

Boosts Your Digestive Health

In the fast-paced world we live in, it is very easy to forget the nutrients that will facilitate the smooth functioning of our body. Fibre is a component that, when avoided, can lead to disastrous health scares. Constipation, bloating, are uneasiness, are just the start of long-term ailments that you might develop. Quinoa takes care of your fibre content and makes your digestive system run like a well-oiled machine, aiding in smooth bowel movement and giving you a healthier gut.

A Boon for Diabetic Patients

In the effort to get their protein and carb supplements, people often tend to ignore other underrated nutrients, such as magnesium. Since a lack of magnesium is directly correlated to the development of Type-2 diabetes, it is paramount to ensure that you are getting its daily supply through quinoa. Not to mention, it has also been seen that this superfood can even decrease the chances of diabetes in aged people who have prediabetes.

Rich Source of Protein

Since quinoa is among the food sources that contain all the nine essential amino acids, it is a great option for those who are looking for a vegetarian or vegan option and don't want to rely on meat sources to fulfil their protein quotient of the day. Being a protein-rich food, It will improve your muscle mass and strengthen your bones while also repairing your body after injury.

Decreases the Risk of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is one of the prevalent causes of cancer-related death around the globe. Studies have shown that a high amount of fibre can significantly lower the chances of colon cancer since it helps in smoother movement of wastes through your colon. There will be lesser odds of cell damage within your intestinal lines and you will vastly improve your chances of avoiding colon cancer.

Quinoa - A Great Gluten-free Option

People with gluten intolerances are always in search of food products that will satisfy their nutritional needs. Whether it is for lifestyle choices or for reasons pertaining to suffering from celiac diseases, or simply having non-celiac gluten sensitivity, people who avoid gluten have to say no to wheat, rye, barley, and other major grain sources.

Thankfully, for them, quinoa is a gluten-free option that they can include in their diet without any worry and with the assurance that it will fulfil their nutritional needs. Most gluten-free products in the market lack folate, magnesium, fibre, and zinc, all four of which are in abundance in quinoa.

How to Make Quinoa a Part of Your Diet?

Quinoa is an extremely diverse food, which makes it ideal to be added differently without breaking a sweat. Ideally, it is recommended to have it as part of your breakfast since it is loaded with nutrients and charges you up for the day to follow.

To cook quinoa, you need to add 1.5-2 cups of water or broth to one cup of quinoa depending on your preferred consistency. This will serve four people. Don't forget to rinse it on a strainer before cooking as it will help in getting rid of the bitter coating.

Add the liquid and quinoa along with a pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid and wait for it to simmer as it absorbs the liquid. After 15 minutes, remove it from the heat and let your quinoa stand for another 10 minutes before serving.

As for the variety, you can use it as the stuffing for your peppers, which will make for a healthy snack or you can toss it in your kale salad with a lemon dressing. You can even go for a quinoa veggie burger or blend it in a banana or pineapple smoothie.

Conclusion

Quinoa has earned its reputation of being a smart food. It fits into the rare food items that are not only rich in proteins, carbs, fats, minerals, fibres, and antioxidants but are also extremely easy to prepare and are easy on your taste buds. And to top it all off, it is gluten-free. It doesn't get better than this.

So, start your day by making quinoa a part of your breakfast and include it in your post-lunch snacks. Protecting health through a single food source has never been more convenient and delicious than this.

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