Health benefits of Quinoa
Everyone can say that quinoa in India is so healthy, but I always want to see proof of it. I dug into the scientific publications and researched it for you. Below I share my findings.
Health benefit 1: contains a lot of fiber
Quinoa is rich in dietary fiber. These are important to reduce your blood glucose and lower your cholesterol.
Dietary fiber is also important if you want to lose weight. This is because they make you feel full so you eat less. Fiber also plays a role in the production of certain hormones that play a role in weight loss.
The fiber in quinoa consists of 80% to 90% insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Some of the insoluble fiber is fermented in the gut like soluble fiber. This is good for the good bacteria in the intestinal flora and promotes health.
More to know: QUINOA BOWL WITH LEMON CHILI SHRIMP
Health benefit 2: contains all essential amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and muscle tissue. They are also involved in all kinds of processes in your body.
There are 22 amino acids that the human body uses. Of these 22, 9 are essential and the other 13 are not essential.
The non-essential amino acids can be created by your body from other amino acids. Your body must get the essential amino acids through food.
Animal protein sources such as egg, meat, fish, and dairy are a good source of essential amino acids.
Vegetable protein sources often lack some essential amino acids or have them in unfavorable proportions. If you eat vegetarian or vegan or just want to eat less meat, that is a problem. This can be detrimental to your health in the long run.
Quinoa is one of the few high-quality vegetable complete protein sources. The essential amino acids also occur naturally in an almost perfect ratio.
Quinoa ( quinoa pasta in India) not only contains more protein than other grains but also has a much better amino acid profile.
Quinoa is rich in the amino acid lysine, which is rare in plant foods. The amino acid profile resembles that of the caisene protein from dairy products.
Health organizations recommend to (partly) replace animal protein sources with vegetable protein sources.
By making more use of vegetable protein sources such as quinoa, lentils, beans, and hemp seed, you can reduce the consumption of meat and poultry.
Health benefit 3: rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are important to protect our body against free radicals. If we have too many free radicals in our body, oxidation occurs in body cells and tissue, which can cause chronic diseases.
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which slows down aging and we are better protected against various diseases.
Quinoa( quinoa crisps in India) is very rich in antioxidants and it contains more antioxidants than the foods that we can replace with it, such as grains.
By germinating the quinoa seed you can increase the number of antioxidants even further.
One of the antioxidants in quinoa is quercetin. This is one of Mother Nature’s most powerful antioxidants. This antioxidant has a cholesterol-lowering effect and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and osteoporosis.
Another important antioxidant in quinoa is kaempferol. This antioxidant could reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer.
As indicated in the introduction, quinoa is available in about 120 varieties. As a rule of thumb, you can say that the quinoa with the most bitter taste contains the most antioxidants. These are often the dark-colored variants.
By cooking quinoa, some of the antioxidants are lost.
Health benefit 4: gluten-free
This study of four years ago showed that 30% of Americans less or no gluten at more. This percentage had never been higher. It is a trend that people are increasingly aware of their health and nutrition.
Gluten-free food is also part of this for many. Gluten is a protein found in many grains such as wheat, rye, and spelled.
Only a small part of the population (less than 1%) has to eat gluten-free because they have celiac disease.
Many people do not have celiac disease but are hypersensitive to gluten. This is called gluten sensitivity. If you have gluten sensitivity, you will feel a lot better with a gluten-free diet.
Gluten can cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headache, chronic fatigue, joint pain, and muscle pain. These complaints disappear by following a gluten-free diet.
Nowadays there is quite a lot of gluten-free food for sale in the supermarkets. However, the problem with some gluten-free products is that they are not always healthy.
Gluten-free white bread is still white bread that contains refined carbohydrates, for example. And gluten-free biscuits, for example, are also not healthy because of the sugars, refined carbohydrates, and (trans) fats.
Quinoa is a perfect gluten-free substitute for many carbohydrate sources. It is pure and unprocessed food that is rich in nutrients.
Studies have shown that by using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free ingredients such as tapioca, potato, rice flour, and corn, you get significantly more nutrients and antioxidants.
Health benefit 5: rich in magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral and probably the most important.
Magnesium is involved in a huge number of processes in the body. You need it for the build-up of body proteins, the build-up of your bones, the nerve impulses to the muscles and the production of enzymes.
Magnesium also plays a role in the breakdown of body fat. Magnesium is therefore also important if you want to lose weight.
With a serving of quinoa, you already have almost half of your daily magnesium requirement!
However, quinoa contains phytic acid (an anti-nutrient) which binds magnesium and other minerals so that it cannot be absorbed by the body as well.
By soaking it first, or by letting it germinate, before you cook it, the phytic acid largely breaks down, up to 98%.
As a result, the minerals are better absorbed and you benefit optimally from all the minerals in quinoa.
Health Benefit 6: Rich in Copper
One serving of quinoa gives you about 30% of your daily copper requirement. Copper is a trace element that you often get too little from in the Western diet. Copper is important to keep the heart-healthy.
Health benefit 7: rich in phosphorus
One serving of quinoa provides almost half of your daily phosphorus requirement.
This is important because our Western diet (in which more and more processed food is eaten) there is less and less phosphorus in our diet.
If you consume too little phosphorus, the quality of life will decline and it is bad for the health of your bones.
Health benefit 8: anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is the basis of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes type, and cancer.
The antioxidants in quinoa help to reduce.
Quinoa contains saponins. This is a substance suspected of being produced by plants to protect against insects, bacteria, and fungi.
Saponins act as an antioxidant and have anti-inflammatory properties. The saponins in quinoa increase the production of anti-inflammatory substances in the body.
Quinoa contains a number of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients interfere with nutrient absorption. These are:
- Phytic acid
- Oxalic acid
In Health Benefit 5 we already talked about phytic acid, which binds the minerals in quinoa. Soaking or sprouting the quinoa will reduce the amount of phytic acid.
Phytic acid is also found in many types of grains, seeds, and nuts. It is in the outer shell to prevent the crop from germinating.
The substance saponin to which quinoa owes its anti-inflammatory properties (see health benefit 8) can also act as an anti-nutrient.
It reduces the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc.
You can solve this too by soaking or sprouting the quinoa and rinsing it well with water.
Another anti-nutrient found in quinoa is oxalic acid.
Oxalic acid can bind with the calcium contained in quinoa. This can cause kidney stones.
If you are not sensitive to kidney stones, you do not have to worry about that, but if you easily get kidney stones, you should not eat quinoa.