Serve yourself with all the information, preparation methods and many recipes of quinoa
Over the last few years, we have seen a number of ‘superfoods’ flooding the market. One such superfood is Quinoa (pronounced Keen-waah). Quinoa originated in South America where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. Due to its various health benefits, it has now reached almost all parts of the globe.
Quinoa belongs to the chard and amaranth family and is also called a ‘pseudo-cereal’ because it is a seed that is used as a cereal.
Health Benefits Of Quinoa
The complete protein source:
Quinoa’s label of superfood is well deserved as it is one of the few foodstuffs that contains all nine of the essential amino acids. In addition, quinoa also contains lysine, as well as all eight of the other amino acids, making it a complete protein, similar to animal proteins. One cup of quinoa provides about 220 calories and 8 grams of protein.
• If you are intolerant to grains (gluten sensitivity), then this superfood is perfect for you as it gives you better quality protein, in double quantity, without the gluten.
• It is also a great option for you if you are a vegetarian looking for more protein sources.
A source of other nutrients:
• It contains very impressive percentage of antioxidants.
• Quinoa is a very good source of heart-healthy fats.
• Quinoa contains a highly impressive list of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
A good option for diabetics:
• If you are diabetic and worried about carbohydrate load from eating grains like rice, wheat or barley, this superfood is meant for you. However, I would also caution that diabetics need to follow portion control. Since quinoa has a low GI, many diabetics tend to eat a large portion of quinoa, which is not advisable.
• In a study comparing various alternative grains like quinoa, buckwheat and oats with conventional grains like rice and wheat; it was found that alternative grains produced greater degrees of satiety than conventional grains. This helps to control appetite and can aid in weight loss. Since most diabetes patients are obese, quinoa can be a great addition in the diet.
Quinoa Preparation Tips
• Processing methods used in the commercial milling of quinoa usually remove most of the saponins found in the outer coat of the quinoa seeds. Because the quinoa saponins are largely responsible for its bitter taste, many people choose to rinse and rub the seeds after purchase to remove any bitter taste that may remain in the seeds. An effective method to do so is to place the quinoa seeds in a fine-meshed strainer and run cold water over the quinoa while gently rubbing the seeds together in your hands. After completing this process, you can taste a few seeds to determine if a bitter taste remains. If it does, simply continue this rinsing and rubbing process until you no longer taste a bitter residue.
• Soaking and boiling can also reduce the presence of saponins.
• When quinoa is boiled in water a soapy foam is generally accumulated, it is always better to remove this as it can add a bitter taste to your meal.
• A superfood retains its quality if cooked well. Since we Indians are fond of our cooking oil and tadkas, it is advisable to be judicious with them while cooking it in traditional desi style.
The Healthiest Way Of Cooking Quinoa
Add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After bringing the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the saucepan. It usually takes 15 minutes to cook one cup of quinoa cooked this way.
When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail. If you desire the quinoa to have a nuttier flavor, you can dry roast it before cooking. To dry roast, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir constantly for five minutes.
As you can see, not only is quinoa highly nutrition rich and has a number of other health benefits, it is also easy to cook. All these factors make this superfood a popular and recommended part of the diet. So, don’t wait to try out quinoa and begin a more healthy lifestyle.
– Monica Magoo, Nutritionist and Diet Consultant