Health Benefits of Eating Quinoa

health benefits of quinoaQuinoa, which is pronounced as keen-wah, along with other ancient grains like farro, amaranth and barley are gaining popularity due to their many health benefits. They are called ancient grains since they haven’t changed for hundreds or even thousands of years. To the Incas, quinoa was known as the “mother of all grains” and was initially cultivated for the last 5000 years.

Though there are many kinds of cultivated quinoa, the most common types that you can buy in stores are black, red and white quinoa.

Quinoa has a lot of vitamins and minerals, which includes:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid (a-linolenic acid) and monounsaturated fat (oleic acid)
  • Antioxidants phytonutrients known as flavonoids
  • Essential minerals like copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and zinc
  • Vitamin B-complex like B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and vitamin E
  • Insoluble and soluble fiber

Nutrients found in quinoa have been associated with numerous health benefits like:

 

  • Reduces Diabetes Risk

Quinoa seeds are made of 60% germ as compared to 3% part of the germ with that of the wheat kernel. The high protein to carbohydrate ratio helps to explain why quinoa helps in regulating blood sugar. Quinoa seeds also have soluble fibers that aids in controlling blood sugar levels and slowing carbohydrate breakdown to glucose. Anti-inflammatory nutrients such as phenolic acids, cell wall polysaccharides, and vitamin E compounds aid in reducing the unwanted inflammation that is linked with type 2 diabetes.

 

  • Lowers Cholesterol

Quinoa has a high fiber content, which helps in reducing cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber is mixed with bile acids that is excreted by the body, which results in the reduction of cholesterol levels of LDL cholesterol or also known as the “bad” cholesterol. Quinoa is a healthy alternative for animal-based protein.

 

  • Controls Blood Pressure 

Among all the type of grains, quinoa has the highest potassium content, which is vital for balancing sodium levels in the blood and helps in maintaining a low blood pressure. Quinoa is also a great source of magnesium, which is a vasodilator that aids in lowering blood pressure.

 

  • Supports Weight Loss and Maintenance of Weight

Quinoa has high fiber and protein content which helps to keep you feel full for longer, and can aid in controlling your appetite. It is also said that the stable blood sugar levels related to taking quinoa aids to reduce cravings. Fiber, as we know, helps to move food through the intestines and encourages gastrointestinal regularity.

 

  • Relieves Constipation

The fiber content of quinoa is twice as much compared to other grains. As we all know, fiber is great for relieving constipation. It can also aid in preventing heart diseases by lowering high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber can also help by lowering the risk of developing hemorrhoids, and may also help in losing weight.

 

  • Fights Free Radicals 

Quinoa is also packed with manganese. This mineral is an antioxidant, which aids in preventing damage to mitochondria during the production of energy and also it protects red blood cells and other cells from free-radical damage.

 

  • Improves Energy Metabolism

Quinoa is packed with Riboflavin or Vitamin B2. This vitamin helps in improving energy metabolism in the cells of the brain and muscle and is known to aid in the creation of proper cell energy production.

 

  • Keep the Red Blood Cells Healthy

Quinoa has a high content of iron. Iron aids by keeping red blood cells healthy and is the foundation of hemoglobin production. Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen from one cell to another and provides oxygen to the muscles to help in contraction. Iron also help in increasing brain function since the brain takes about 20% of oxygen from the blood. There are a lot of other helpful benefits that iron provides; it helps in the synthesis of neurotransmitter, body temperature regulation, energy metabolism, and enzyme activity.

 

  • Strengthens the Immune System

Quinoa also has lysine. Lysine is important for the growth and repair of tissues. It aids in strengthening the immune system, so it is great to eat quinoa in times when everybody seems to be sick. It is also been shown to aid in raising serotonin levels, which is a great approach to help you get to a relaxing state.

 

From the benefits mentioned above, it just makes sense to begin eating more quinoa. You will end up feeling much better, have more energy, and possibly lose weight by changing other foods for quinoa.

Image courtesy of Wiki Commons