Posted by The7thSeed on Mar 3rd 2022
Quinoa Health Benefits and Nutritional Values
Unlike most plant-based foods, quinoa is a complete
protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids. Amino acids are
the building blocks of the proteins that make up the muscles, bones, skin, and
blood. The nine classified as "essential" must be obtained from food
daily - your body cannot produce or store them - and quinoa provides all nine.
The USDA recommends that at least half of the grains you eat be whole grains like quinoa. Refined grains have been stripped of most of the fiber, iron, and vitamins present in the whole grain. Including whole grains in your diet can help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Quinoa is a great source of fiber. Fiber can prevent or treat constipation and may lower your risk of intestinal cancers. It also helps you feel full longer, so it may help with weight loss.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health. The fiber in quinoa can also help with cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Quinoa is rich in antioxidants, which can prevent damage to your heart and other organs. A diet high in antioxidants has been linked with a decreased risk of heart disease.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
People with type 2 diabetes are unable to use insulin effectively, causing high blood sugar levels and various complications. Refined carbs are linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while whole grains like quinoa are associated with a reduced risk.
A study in rats on a high-fructose diet showed that eating quinoa significantly lowered blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar, which are all linked to type 2 diabetes.
One human study compared the effects of quinoa with traditional gluten-free wheat products. Quinoa lowered both blood triglycerides and free fatty acids. It also affected blood sugar levels to a lesser degree than gluten-free pasta, gluten-free bread, and traditional bread.
Quinoa has many properties that make it a weight-loss-friendly food. It’s higher in protein than similar foods, such as rice, corn, and whole wheat. Protein is considered a key factor for weight loss, as it boosts metabolism and feelings of fullness. In doing so, it may help prevent obesity and related diseases.
Fibers are also important for weight loss, promoting decreased calorie intake by increasing feelings of fullness and improving gut health. Quinoa is higher in fiber than many whole-grain foods. The GI value of quinoa is relatively low, and low-glycemic foods have been shown to prevent overeating and decrease hunger.
As a gluten-free pseudo cereal, quinoa is suitable for people who are intolerant or allergic to gluten, such as those with celiac disease.
Research indicates that using quinoa in a gluten-free diet, instead of other common gluten-free ingredients, dramatically increases the nutrient and antioxidant value of your diet.
Quinoa-based products are well tolerated and may therefore be a suitable alternative to wheat, both in its original form and in products like bread or pasta.
Quinoa is usually well tolerated with no reported side effects.
Similar to most other cereals and grains, quinoa contains phytates.
These may reduce your absorption of minerals like iron and zinc.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
Nutritious and rich in many minerals and plant compounds, quinoa can be a healthy addition to your diet. Some data shows that quinoa may increase your overall nutritional intake and help reduce blood sugar and triglycerides
Quinoas are good sources of Vitamins and Minerals such as:
i. Manganese: Found in high amounts in whole grains, this trace mineral is essential for metabolism, growth, and development.
ii. Phosphorus: Often found in protein-rich foods, this mineral is essential for bone health and maintenance of various body tissues
iii. Copper: A mineral that is often lacking in the Western diet, copper is important for heart health
iv. Folate: One of the B vitamins, folate is essential for cell function and tissue growth and considered particularly important for pregnant women
v. Iron: This essential mineral performs many important functions in your body, such as transporting oxygen in red blood cells.
vi. Magnesium: Important for many processes in your body, magnesium is often lacking in the Western diet
vii. Zinc: This mineral is important for overall health and participates in many chemical reactions in your body
viii. Thiamine: Getting enough thiamine can help improve concentration and memory. Because of its positive effect on attitude and brain function, it is also known as a "morale vitamin".
ix. Potassium: Potassium is an essential mineral that is needed by all tissues in the body. It is sometimes referred to as an electrolyte because it carries a small electrical charge that activates various cell and nerve functions.
- Protein: Quinoa is considered a complete protein source, which means that it provides all nine essential amino acids. It’s exceptionally high in the amino acid lysine, which is usually lacking in plants. It’s also rich in methionine and histidine, making it an excellent plant-based protein source. Also, protein quality of quinoa is comparable to casein, the high-quality protein in dairy products
- Carbs: The carbs in quinoa consist mainly of starch, insoluble fibers, and small amounts of sugar and resistant starch
- Fiber: Quinoa consists of Insoluble fibers which have been associated with the ability to reduced diabetes risk. Plus, some of the insoluble fiber may be fermented in your gut like soluble fibers, feeding your friendly bacteria and promoting better overall health. Quinoa also provides some resistant starch, which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, promoting the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), improving gut health, and cutting your risk of disease
- Fat: quinoa fat is mainly composed of palmitic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid
PLANT COMPOUND BENEFITS
- Saponin. These plant glycosides protect quinoa seeds against insects and other threats. They’re bitter and usually eliminated by soaking, washing, or roasting before cooking.
- Quercetin. This powerful polyphenol antioxidant may help protect against various illnesses, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain forms of cancer.
- Kaempferol. This polyphenol antioxidant may reduce your risk of chronic diseases, including cancer.
- Squalene. This precursor of steroids also acts as an antioxidant in your body.
- Phytic acid. This antinutrient reduces the absorption of minerals, such as iron and zinc. Phytic acid can be reduced by soaking or sprouting quinoa prior to cooking.
- Oxalates. They may bind with calcium, reduce its uptake, and increase the risk of kidney stone formation in sensitive individuals
Quinoa packs more nutrients than most other grains and is relatively high in quality protein.
It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, as well as antioxidants. Quinoa is gluten-free, may help lower blood sugar levels, and aid weight loss.
If you want to increase the nutrient content of your diet, replacing other grains like rice or wheat with quinoa may be a good start!