Quinoa is an edible seed and resembles a grain even though it is not categorized as such. The leaves of the plant are used for preparing many vegetarian side dishes. Like rice, you need to boil quinoa to cook it. To increase the nutritional value of quinoa, you can even eat it in the form of sprouts.
History of Quinoa
Even though quinoa made its debut in the US just recently, this seed has been cultivated and consumed in the Andean mountain areas of Bolivia, Peru, and Chile for the past 5000 years. Quinoa is a staple food in the diet of Native Indians, who refer to this food as the “mother seed”. To overcome the South American Indians and to destroy their culture, the Spanish conquerors destroyed several fields of the quinoa crop. They also made it illegal for the natives to cultivate quinoa. However, after being impressed with the goodness of this food grain, two Americans began cultivating this crop in Colorado during the 1980s. Today, many Americans are taking advantage of this nutritious food.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
- Quinoa contains 12-15% more proteins than either rice or wheat and is packed with all the 8 essential amino acids.
- Quinoa is gluten free. Therefore, it is an ideal carbohydrate for individuals suffering from Celiac disease.
- Quinoa contains high levels of proteins, Vitamin E, B1, iron, and phosphorus.
- Quinoa has a low glycemic index, making it ideal for weight watchers and diabetics.
- Quinoa is also a good source of calcium, folate, zinc, and other essential minerals needed for good skin, hair, and a healthy heart.