Quinoa is a grain crop that is known for its edible seeds. While it’s become quite trendy as of lately, quinoa has actually been around for a long, long time. It was an important crop for the Inca Empire who used to refer to it as the “mother of all grains” as it was sacred to their culture. The people in South America are no stranger to quinoa. It’s been an important part of their diet for thousands of years, but has since grown in popularity in North America. It’s now commonly advertised as a superfood or popular health food.
So what’s the fuss all about? Quinoa sounds like a strange word (pronounced KEEN-wah)…it looks kinda different…what’s so super about this food? In addition to being extremely versatile in the kitchen, quinoa also has some pretty incredible health benefits!
1. Full of Nutrients and Antioxidants
Although it’s commonly referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually a pseudo-cereal which basically means it’s more like a seed than a grain, but it’s eaten and treated like a grain. With that being said, quinoa contains more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than any other grain. These days quinoa isn’t hard to come by in grocery stores and in restaurants and there’s a reason for it! It’s super healthy to eat, is easy to prepare and is the perfect substitute for less health conscious options like rice or potato.
There are three main types of quinoa: red, white, and black. They are all super nutritious. According to Healthline, 1-cup of any of these types of quinoa contains 8-grams of protein, 5-grams of fiber, as well as a good chunk of the daily recommended allowance for magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, folate, copper, iron, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
Another reason quinoa is so healthy is because it is high in antioxidants, “which are substances that neutralize free radicals and are believed to help fight aging and many diseases,” writes Healthline. The source refers to a study which compared antioxidant levels in five cereals (3 pseudo-cereals and 2 legumes) and ultimately found quinoa to have the highest amount of them all.