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Quinoa: A Much Healthier Alternative to Rice

Quinoa high-protein grain

One of the healthiest superfoods with incredible abilities to meet our bodies’ nutritional needs, quinoa for sure makes for a wonderful ingredient you must include in your diet.

Quinoa is a high-protein grain native to the Andean regions of South America. It has a mild, nutty flavour and a light, fluffy texture when cooked. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.

It is also a good source of fibre, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, and other vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is gluten-free and can be used in a variety of dishes in place of rice or other grains.

Quinoa is a great addition to any balanced diet. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great option for vegetarians and vegans alike.

It is also rich in dietary fibre, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, folate, and vitamins B1, B2, and B6. 

Quinoa is a low-glycemic index food, meaning it is slowly digested, which helps keep blood sugar levels in check. It is also naturally gluten-free and easy to digest, making it an ideal food for those with gluten sensitivities.

Quinoa is also a low-calorie food, devoid of unhealthy saturated fats, making it a nutritious and filling food for weight loss plans.

Nutrition Profile:

Quinoa high-protein grain

Quinoa is considered to be a very nutritious food. It is high in protein, dietary fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals, including: 

(per 100g) 

  • Calories: 120 kcal 
  • Fat: 1.92 g 
  • Carbohydrates: 21.3 g 
  • Protein: 4.4 g 
  • Fibre: 2.8 g
  • Sugars: 0.87 g 
  • Calcium: 17 mg
  • Iron: 1.49 mg 
  • Magnesium: 64 mg 
  • Phosphorus: 154 mg  
  • Potassium: 172 mg 
  • Zinc: 1.09 mg 
  • Vitamin E: 0.63 mg 
  • Riboflavin: 0.11 mg 
  • Thiamin: 0.107 mg
  • Niacin: 0.412 mg 
  • Folate: 42 mcg
  • Selenium: 2.8 mcg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.123 mg
  • Folate: 42 mcg
  • Choline: 23 mg

Antioxidants:

Quinoa also contains a variety of antioxidants, including: 

  • Quercetin 
  • Kaempferol 
  • Isovitexin 
  • Caffeic acid 
  • Vanillic acid 
  • Chlorogenic acid

Why you should include quinoa in your diet?

Why you should include quinoa in your diet

Quinoa is a nutritious whole grain that has gained popularity over the past few years. Quinoa is high in essential vitamins and minerals, and it is also a source of complete proteins, making it suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.

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1. Protein-rich

Protein-rich

Quinoa is extremely rich in protein, providing 8g of protein per cooked cup. This makes it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians or vegans, who may not otherwise get the amount of protein they need from their diet. 

2. Fibres and Fatty acid

Fibres and Fatty acid

Quinoa is also high in fibre, providing 5g per cooked cup. Fibre helps to keep the digestive system healthy and can also help to reduce levels of cholesterol.

Quinoa is low in fat, providing just 2.5g per cooked cup, while also being low in sodium, which can help to lower blood pressure. 

Also, quinoa is a source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for proper brain and heart health.

3. Reservoir of vitamins & antioxidants

Reservoir of vitamins & antioxidants

Quinoa is also a good source of many vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, all of which are important for maintaining good health. 

It is also a good source of antioxidants, which help to reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. 

4. Gluten-free

Gluten-free

In addition to its nutritional benefits, quinoa is gluten-free, making it suitable for those who suffer from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Quinoa is also easy to digest and can help to reduce pancreatic discomfort as well as helping to lower cholesterol.  

Eating quinoa regularly can provide other health benefits, including aiding digestion, improving heart health, and increasing the number of essential vitamins and minerals consumed each day.

Some Lipsmacking Quinoa recipes you can try:

Quinoa can be included in your everyday diet in numerous forms. It can be included in salads, breakfast recipes, as a substitute for rice and also in some delicious dessert recipes.

We have curated some popular quinoa recipes in this article that you can try for yourself at home.

1. Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Chickpea Quinoa Salad

The salad is made with cooked quinoa, boiled chickpeas, cucumbers, red onions, garlic, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and fresh herbs like coriander and mint according to your preference.

For seasoning, you can use salt, pepper and any other dry herbs of your favour. Mix all the ingredients with a little olive oil and serve at room temperature.

2. Quinoa Khichdi

Quinoa Khichdi

Khichdi made with rice and quinoa tastes similar and delicious, so you won’t be able to make out the difference. Just swap your regular white rice with boiled quinoa for this dal khichdi.

You can add vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, peas, broccoli, potato, zucchini, and bell peppers to make them more tasty and nutritious. 

3. Quinoa Upma

Quinoa Upma

The traditional upma is wholesome and nutritious and is usually made with broken wheat or rava. It is also made with white rava. Quinoa can replace broken wheat or the white rava in the traditional upma recipe.

It can be easily prepared in 15-20 minutes and serves as a wholesome, nutritious breakfast dish.

4. Quinoa Pulao/ Pilaf

Quinoa Pulao/ Pilaf

The pulao made from quinoa is a gluten-free, vegan lunch recipe. You can add vegetables like carrots, peas, onions, tomatoes, green beans, sweet corn, etc.

Saute the whole spices in a little oil or ghee, then add onions, green chillies and ginger-garlic paste. Add your preferred vegetables, quinoa, some turmeric, garam masala, salt and water.

Pressure cook the mixture and garnish with some fresh coriander and lemon juice once it is ready.

5. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

The Tabbouleh salad is a traditional, middle-eastern salad made of bulgar wheat, parsley, mint, onion, and tomato in a lemon juice and olive oil dressing.

We can switch the bulgar wheat with quinoa and make the salad more nutritious and gluten-free. This salad can be refrigerated and had the next day which makes it much tastier once the dressing marinates well. 

Summary:

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that is gaining popularity due to its many health benefits. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin E.

Quinoa is also a great source of antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. It is naturally gluten-free and is suitable for a variety of diets.

Quinoa is also low in fat and cholesterol-free, making it an ideal food for those looking to maintain a healthy weight. It has a light, nutty flavour and can be used in a variety of dishes, from breakfast to dinner.

Quinoa is an excellent addition to any diet and can provide a number of health benefits, such as improved digestion, reduced risk of heart disease, and weight loss.

If you’re looking for a vegan source of protein you can freely consume then quinoa is the best option.

Also Read – Ayurvedic Diet: 10 Rules To Stick To For Disease Free Life

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Written by Janani Arvind

Janani hails from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and loves writing about conscious living, health and wellness. Reads fiction like religion, finds calmness in Carnatic music and tries to live mindfully. Janani is a closet poet, a true Potterhead and an obsessive reader. She is pursuing her post-graduation in Dentistry while following her passion for writing.

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