Tips and techniques

The surprising health benefits of quinoa

Over the last few years, this ancient seed has become as mainstream as brown rice amongst Aussies. But recent research shows that only twelve per cent of us realise its health benefits.

Originally grown in South America, quinoa has become a regular staple on menu cafe menus and family shopping lists around the globe. From savoury salads and tarts, to sweet breakfast porridge, quinoa is extremely versatile – and tasty.

Not only that, quinoa has many properties that can benefit our health. Here are just a few reasons you might want to eat more quinoa.

Suitable for coeliac disease

Whilst quinoa is not technically considered to be a grain, and is rather a seed, the Wholegrains Council has dubbed it a ‘pseudo-cereal’; a term given to foods that are cooked and eaten like grains, with a similar nutritional profile.

This pseudo-cereal is free of all gluten, making it an ideal alternative for people with coeliac disease, or those suffering from wheat intollerances.

High in meat-free protein

While most people would jump straight to red meat or chicken breast when they hear the word ‘protein’, quinoa is a fabulous source of plant-based protein that contain all nine essential amino acids (essential acids we need to build protein that can only come from food).

For your reference, one cup of cooked quinoa will give you eight grams of muscle-loving protein.

quinoa porridge

Healthy, warming and packed full of goodness, this gluten-free quinoa porridge is a naturally low GI recipe.

Sustainable energy

Not all carbohydrates are created equal, and quinoa certainly would not fall into the same category as refined white pasta, pizza and bread.

Seeing as you eat the whole seed, you’re getting a nice dose of energy-boosting carbs, without spiking your blood sugars as the husk on the outside of the seed will slow down digestion.

This means, you’ll be fuller for longer, as well as maintaining a good energy level – without the rapid crash.

Full of fibre

The recommended amount of fibre for adults is between 25 and 30 grams each day, but most Aussies aren’t meeting these targets.

One cup of cooked quinoa will give you 5.2 grams of fibre, or around 20 per cent of your daily recommended intake. Add some beans and legumes and you’ll be on track to hitting your daily targets.

indian-spiced quinoa cakes with tomatoes

Try including quinoa in these Indian-spiced quinoa cakes with tomatoes recipe.

Nutrient powerhouse

Aside from a generous serve of protein, carbs and fibre, quinoa is packed full of essential vitamins and minerals for overall health.

Each serving of quinoa will give you more than half you daily intake of manganese, an essential mineral for healthy skin, bones and blood sugar levels.

You’ll also get a large dose of copper and phosphorous, minerals responsible for maintaining strong tissue, bone support, blood volume, and cell energy levels.

Well, there you go – if you needed any more reason to amp up your quinoa intake, you’ve found it.

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