A grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds, Quinoa belongs to the species of the goosefoot genus. A pseudocereal (non-grasses cereal used as grain), Quinoa is similar to buckwheat in some facades, instead of being a cereal, as it does not belong to any true grass family. Some traces of its similarity can be associated with beetroots, spinach and tumbleweeds. It also shares some similarity with amaranth, which is also a pseudocereal.
Way of consumption
After harvesting the crop, seeds are processed for getting coating removed which tastes bitter. Seeds are cooked mixing with rice and a wide range of dishes are cooked using the material. The leaves of the plant are used as a leaf vegetable though commercial availability of quinoa greens is not ample.
History of Quinoa existence
Traces of Quinoa dates as back as 3,000 to 4,000 years with origination considered to be from the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile. 2013 was declared as the International Year of Quinoa by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Nutrient rich food
As far as nutrient composition is concerned, Quinoa sets bar extremely high for any other common cereals. Quinoa seeds are full of essential amino acids like lysine and commendable quantities of iron, phosphorus and calcium with high present of protein.
Nutritional value of raw (uncooked) Quinoa makes it highly recommended edible food item with a high amount of protein, dietary fiber, many B vitamins and dietary minerals though the effect goes down with cooking.
The nutritional value of the cooked 100 g Quinoa consists of 503 kJ Energy, 21.3 g Carbohydrates, Sugars 0.87 g, Dietary fibre 2.8 g, Saturated 0.231 g, Fat 1.92 g and 4.4 g of Protein. A wide range of vitamins adds on to the nutritional value with 53 μg of Vitamin A equiv. lutein zeaxanthin, 0.107 mg Thiamine (B1), 0.11 mg Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3) 0.412 mg, 0.123 mg Vitamin B6, 42 μg Folate (B9), 23 mg Choline and 0.63 mg Vitamin E. 17 mg Calcium, 1.49 mg Iron, 64 mg Magnesium, 0.631 mg Manganese, 152 mg Phosphorus, 172 mg Potassium, 7 mg Sodium and 1.09 mg of zinc are also available in Quinoa.
Rich source of protein: A whopping 15 percent of the total content of quinoa is made up of protein, which is way higher than any other standard grain. A study conducted at the University of Chile back in 2009 substantiated Quinoa as an ample source of amino acid.
Highly effective against diabetes : People with diabetes can rely on Quinoa as an extremely effective natural way to bring the glucose level as per the findings of a study revealed by the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil in 2009. Same goes with the patients of hypertension; the regular consumption of Quinoa seeds regulates blood pressure in high blood pressure patients. Quercetin, a derivative range in the Quinoa, is credited for the effectiveness of the grain against high glucose level and blood pressure.
Hunger quencher: People suffering from obesity due to wrong and excessive eating habit can find a way of the issue by sticking up to Quinoa as the primary consumed item. The grain shows quality of being a natural hunger quencher leading to less eating plus the wide range of nutrition associated to it can do the wonder in becoming fit (combination of desired body and increased stamina).
Anti-aging effect : The anti-oxidative qualities of the grain can be credited to its anti-aging effects. A 2012 conducted study showed that Quinoa contains free phenols, natural fighters against free radicals in the bloodstream. As the result of the combat, Quinoa halts aging process, reverse fine lines and wrinkles and shields against cancer.
Anti-inflammatory effects : A number of researches, with animals as subject, have advocated Quinoa consumption as an excellent anti-inflammatory element. Phenolic acids (with combination of hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids), vitamin E compounds including gamma-tocopherol and cell wall polysaccharides like arabinans are found in Quinoa. All these combined back up Quinoa to behave as an excellent anti-inflammatory food item. Though, more researches are needed with human beings as subject, yet the impressive range of nutrients prove it to be a trustworthy consumable.