Gluten-free quinoa, rich in protein, is one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. It is also rich in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants. It offers a large number of beneficial characteristics.
Quinoa is very nutritious: despite being basically an edible seed, it is prepared and eaten as if it were a common cereal. There are three types on the market: white, red and black. Always, gluten-free is usually grown organically. The United Nations (UN) has declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa”, thanks to its high nutritional value and potential contribution to food security worldwide. A source of flavonoids rich in Kaempferol and quercetin, quinoa has been shown in preliminary studies to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer and antidepressant effects. Suffice it to say that its quercetin content is even higher than that of cranberries.
Source of fiber. Another important advantage of quinoa is its high fiber content. A study that examined 4 varieties of quinoa found a range of 10-16 grams of fiber per 100 grams, more than twice as many as most cereals. Most fiber is insoluble, however, which does not seem to have the same health benefits as soluble fiber, which assist the reduction of blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases the sense of satiety
Quinoa is rich in proteins and essential amino acids. When a food contains all nine essential amino acids (those that our body cannot produce and must be introduced through the diet), it is indicated as a complete protein. Many plant foods are deficient in some essential amino acids, such as lysine. Quinoa is an exception, because it contains sufficient amounts of all essential amino acids. For this reason, it is both qualitatively and quantitatively an excellent source of protein.
It has a low glycemic index with a glycemic index of 35. Consuming foods with low GI reduce risks related to the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Quinoa is an Important source of minerals. Rich in Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and Iron. It also contains phytic acid that could bind to these minerals by reducing their absorption. This can be overcome by leaving quinoa soaking before cooking, thus increasing the bioavailability of these minerals. It is not a recommended food in case of kidney stones, given its content in oxalates, which reduce calcium absorption.
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