Nowadays, there are so many different food products that are being introduced to the public. With the introduction of these foods, people are being informed of how good they are for the body. One such food that recently became a trend is Quinoa. If you are only hearing about Quinoa now, that’s because it wasn’t such a popular option in the past. Here are some things you need to know about this ingredient:
What is it?
Quinoa is a grain that comes in tiny, bead-like particles. When cooked, it produces a slightly bitter taste with a firm texture. Despite being recognized as a grain, it is actually a seed that comes from a vegetable with the same relation to spinach, beets, and Swiss chard.
The proper way to pronounce it is “keen-wah.”
Historically, it was the Incas who were responsible in cultivating the grain and recognizing it as the ‘mother grain.’ Because of this, they considered it as a sacred plant. For thousands of years, the Inca tribe grew the seed in the high alps of the Andes; where it fed their families for 5,000 years.
When Spanish conquistadors came, they almost wiped out the entire supply of quinoa when they announced it illegal for the Native Indians to grow. It was only in the 1980s when a couple of Americans rediscovered the plant. Realizing its value, they started planting it in Colorado.
The United Nations has recognized Quinoa as a superfood because of the number of health benefits that it produces. As a grain, it differs from wheat and rice in the sense that it is already a complete protein. Apart from containing the eight essential amino acids, Quinoa is packed with a number of health benefits. Because it contains a high number of nutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and fibre, it is considered as the perfect ingredient. Plus, it is easy to digest and gluten-free. Perhaps the Incas were right all along in discovering a healthy secret to this type of grain.
Benefits of Quinoa
- Quinoa is rich in protein – Quinoa has a high amount of protein that is similar to milk. Compared to other grains, it has a higher content; making it an essential and better alternative.
- Quinoa is a good antiseptic – In South America, Quinoa was used to heal skin injuries. This is because it contains saponins which are known to work such wonders on the skin.
- Quinoa is gluten-free – Because Quinoa is neither a grain or wheat, it does not contain any gluten. As such, the plant is used to substitute weight loss ingredients.
- Quinoa contains riboflavin – Riboflavin has been known to reduce the occurrence of migraine attacks. Because it helps improve the body’s metabolism in the brain and the muscle cells, the frequency of migraine is lessened.
It is very easy to prepare Quinoa. In fact, many people follow the same steps as with preparing rice. But because Quinoa has a bitter taste, it is important to rinse it thoroughly. Usually, Quinoa comes in packets with instructions on how to cook it:
- Boil two cups of water with one cup of Quinoa.
- Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until it becomes al dente.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe
200 g Quinoa
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ Cucumber, Deseeded and Diced
Juice from 1-2 Lemons
Spring Onions, Sliced
- Prepare Quinoa well and cook it by following the usual instructions.
- When cooked, turn off heat from stove to allow to cool slightly.
- Drain excess water.
- Mix all the ingredients with the cooked Quinoa. Season according to taste.
Because Quinoa contains a toxic chemical known as saponin, it is important to rinse it thoroughly. Even though it is considered as a superfood, it should still be eaten in moderation. Also, Quinoa contains oxalates so those with diet restrictions to oxalate-rich foods should get approval from their doctor before including it in their diet.