Quinoa – simply my favourite superfood.

Quinoa has become a firm family favourite and a great substitute for rice since I discovered it ten years ago. We use it mostly to make fantastic salads and as an alternative to rice. Go on, experiment! I think you’ll love it and I know your body will eventually crave its health bringing properties.

It may be hard to spell, and even at times difficult to pronounce, but there’s no doubt that quinoa is a nutritional star. Quinoa was sacred to the incas in south america, who called it “chisiya mama” or ‘mother of all grains’. Widely considered a whole grain today, quinoa technically isn’t a grain. It’s the seed of the goosefoot plant, which is related to Swiss chard and spinach.

But like whole grains, quinoa is high in fiber, which may lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and help control your weight. It’s also a fantastic source of protein, one cup providing about 8 grams, about the same amount in a glass of lowfat milk.

Importantly, Quinoa is one of the only plant foods that provides all nine essential amino acids, one of these being lysine, which is important for tissue growth and repair, whilst helping the body to absorb calcium.

Quinoa almost disappeared after the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro destroyed the Incas’ quinoa fields. However, in recent years it has made a comeback and due to increasing demand, it is once again widely grown in South America.

You can use it as a substitute for rice or add it to cereals, soups, and salads. With only 222 calories per serving and only 4 grams of unsaturated fat, quinoa meets the low cal, low-fat definition of a superfood, but does it offer many benefits for the body?

Recent Studies dealing the amazing benefits of quinoa.

  1. It turns out that quinoa is a formidable weapon in the fight against diabetes and hypertension. In 2009, the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil released the findings of a study that showed quinoa’s abilities to lower blood glucose levels in individuals with diabetes. What’s more, the study found that consuming the seed on a regular basis helped to lower blood pressure levels in those with hypertension. The scientists credited the presence of quercetin derivatives in the grain for its positive effects on blood glucose and the cardiovascular system.

  2. Quinoa is a natural appetite suppressant. A 2005 study at the University of Milan found that quinoa was effective at controlling appetite and helping study participants consume less food throughout the day. The study goes on to recommend quinoa as a food for dieters due to its high protein and low-calorie nutritional profile.

  3. Quinoa is an anti-aging miracle. The University Degli Studi di Foggia in Italy recently released the findings of a 2012 study on the antioxidative abilities of quinoa. The researchers concluded that quinoa is an excellent source of free phenols, which destroy free radicals in the bloodstream slowing down the aging process, decreasing the risk of cancer and delaying the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Clearly, quinoa offers many proven nutritional benefits while introducing very little calories and fat to the diet. You can call quinoa a superfood, a miracle seed, or any other name you like, but the important thing is just to give it a try. Find your favorite way to prepare it and incorporate this amazing food into your weekly meal schedule.

Tanjong Pagar

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