Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’) is an ancient grain domesticated by the folks of South America. A pseudocereal, it is highly nutritious.
Quinoa, as many other ancient grains, has not been altered or genetically modified in any form and has the natural ability to survive in harsh conditions. As it can grow with little water, it is environment-friendly.
Quinoa, is a complete source of protein, with 9 amino acids necessary for a healthy diet. It is a superfood known for its incredible nutrition. Loaded with natural protein, fibre and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
UN's Food and Agriculture Organization hails it as "the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids, trace elements, and vitamins and contains no gluten”.
Let's look at how eating Quinoa benefits our health.
Here Are 6 Remarkable Health Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa is a nutritious grain: Here are the nutritional facts of quinoa (per100g)
It also comes with 222 kcal and 4 grams of fats and in addition to this, it also contains traces of Omega-3 fatty acids (per100g).
Quinoa contains bioactive compounds called Quercetin and Kaempferol:
Quinoa is rich in flavonoids such as Quercetin and Kaempferol. These flavonoids are potent plant antioxidants. In fact, the Quercetin content of quinoa is higher than typical high quercetin foods like cranberries. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-depressant. Quinoa helps neutralize free radicals and is believed to help fight ageing and many other diseases.
Quinoa has high fibre content compared to other grains:
It has a high fibre. It has 1.5 grams of soluble fibre per 100 grams. Soluble fibre in quinoa benefits in a way that it reduces blood sugar level and bad cholesterol, and it increases fullness and helps with weight loss.
Quinoa is a natural gluten free food:
A gluten-free diet suits many people. Quinoa is not made of refined starch such as tapioca, potato, corn and rice flour. Therefore, including quinoa in your diet can elevate nutrients and anti-oxidant values for you.
Quinoa is a protein-rich food:
Quinoa contains about 9 essential amino acid and is thus a “complete” protein food.
Quinoa is rich in minerals:
A modern diet is incomplete without minerals and quinoa is rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. Although absorption of these minerals can be a little difficult as it contains phytic acid that binds these minerals. You can reduce the phytic acid content by soaking or sprouting the quinoa before cooking.
Apart from all these health benefits, quinoa is delicious to consume and can easily be incorporated into your diet.
Here is a Nutrient Dense Spicy Quinoa Recipe.
Do You Think Quinoa Can Improve the Livelihood of the Farmers?
Yes. While rice and wheat consumptions are coming down, people need alternative grain.
While we learn about how Quinoa benefits our health, Zizira is also exploring the benefits that this protein-rich food can have on the farmers of Meghalaya.
There is a lot of potential for farmers of Meghalaya to grow quinoa, as this grain has incredible nutritional benefits and is grown organically. There is an upsurge of quinoa import into the European Union and it reached 20,038 tons in February 2016, which is why there is hope for farmers to grow quinoa.
It is a win-win.
Quinoa benefits consumers who are health conscious and looking for highly nutritious food.
Quinoa benefits farmers looking for better returns for their produce. At present farmers are getting four times more revenue for quinoa compared to rice. The prices may come down in future but the better variety of seeds improve the yields and provide good revenue for farmers.
Moreover, quinoa needs less water and it does not need a highly fertile soil either. In fact, it can even grow in salty soils.
India needs million tons of Quinoa in the years ahead. Thus, quinoa can surely improve the livelihood of farmers.
- Dr. Srinivas Rao, a biotech and life science scientist
Read more about Dr Srinivas Rao expertise on quinoa.
Do you know of any other benefits of quinoa?
Share it us in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!