Considered by the Incas as a sacred food Quinoa was an important staple in their diet. With a scientific name of Chenopodium, it is the seed from a plant that resembles beets or spinach. The Incas found that the food helped their warriors have more stamina. Cooked and ground it was even used as an ointment to help heal wounds, treating things like appendicitis, and the flower made into a poultice to help heal broken bones.
Quinoa looks and tastes like grain, but it is gluten free so a great substitute for people who experience gluten intolerance. It can also be used by vegans and vegetarians as a plant based protein source. It is a good substitute for rice because it feeds the good bacteria in our intestines, is full of nutrients, and can be easy to digest. Quinoa carbohydrates are slow releasing which gives the stomach the feeling of fullness, which makes it good for people trying to control their weight or worried about blood sugar levels.
Considered by many as a “super food” quinoa also gives the body a lot of nutrition. The health benefits of quinoa start with it being a complete protein that can supply the body all nine amino acids needed for building muscles. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber, the important omega three fatty acids, vitamin b2 and b6, and niacin, magnesium, copper plus other important nutrients that our body requires. In tests, the quinoa in one cup was enough to provide 24 grams of protein which is a full 48% of the daily amount that should be taken by adults everyday.
Over the years there have been numerous studies that have proven conclusively that foods such as quinoa, rich in insoluble fiber, can aid in the prevention of gallstones and cancers in the breast. One study, in the UK, studied almost 36,000 women who were monitored to see how much fiber was in their diets. The results showed that in pre-menopausal women who consumed foods that were rich in fiber found in grains like quinoa and fruits had significantly lower risks of breast cancer.
In the pre-menopausal patients, those that consumed 20 grams of fiber daily, decreased the risk of breast cancer by more than half. In addition, magnesium found in quinoa helps to relax blood vessels which in turn decrease the number and times the study group had migraine headaches. The lysine, which is an amino acid and found in quinoa helps the body build important proteins. By consuming quinoa, vegans and vegetarians can facilitate muscle growth while participating in weight training regimens.
The bean should be rinsed thoroughly and spend several hours soaking. Once strained it makes it easier to digest. When measuring for recipes remember that the quinoa will increase to several times its raw size during cooking. Put strained quinoa into a pan and add twice the beans volume in water. Bring to a boil, then cover to simmer by reducing the heat. The quinoa will be done in around 15 minutes and will become translucent with a white spiral shaped tail when it is finished cooking. The quinoa can be consumed plain or seasoned with your favorite seasonings or sea salt.