Super Food: Quinoa

 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2013 is the International Year of Quinoa! I stumbled upon this information recently and figured we should probably talk quinoa this month! (For those subscribed to our newsletter, did you enjoy the quinoa with goji berries recipe?)

Quinoa is an ancient grain native to the Andean region; it was and is the staple food of the local people, even before the Incas. There are many varieties of quinoa, some groups are classified according their ecological adaptation zones (sea level quinoa, saltflat quinoa, dry valley quinoa, etc), and others are grouped into native varieties (white small-grain quinoas, sweet quinoas, and bitter quinoas). And here I thought I only had one variety to choose from! Have you tried red or black?

Why is it healthy?

What sets quinoa apart from other grains? It contains all essential amino acids (our bodies cannot make these so we must get them from our diet) making its protein profile similar to that found in meat, poultry, and fish! It is rich in fibre, low fat and high in protein, and has a generous amount of vitamins B, C and E.  Quinoa contains high levels of the following minerals: iron (helps carry oxygen all over our bodies), calcium (helps with muscle contractions), zinc (helps maintain a healthy immune system), potassium (helps control blood pressure) and magnesium (helps with teeth and bone formation). As a matter of fact, nearly all these minerals are found in higher levels than other grains.

Including quinoa in your diet:

There are so many ways to include quinoa in your diet…

Include it in your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! Quinoa can also be added to muffins, cookies, salads, or just eaten alone as a side.

Tips:

Does your quinoa taste bitter? Try rinsing seeds under cool water, this will help get rid of any Saponin residues.

If you love quinoa this cookbook might be of interest to you – Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood

 

Did you know that…

Quinoa is gluten free.

Small farmers and associations are (just about) the main producers of quinoa worldwide. How awesome, and crazy, is that?!