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Eat This, Cure That: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Quinoa!

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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

Move over rice, there's a new grain in town and she's hotter than ever—quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced KEE-no-ah) is a relative newcomer in American kitchens but its origins are ancient. Over five thousand years ago quinoa was considered the Mother Grain to Ancient Mayan civilizations. Its nutty, mild flavor make it the perfect, balanced and nutritious base for numerous delicious dishes.

One of quinoa's most powerful properties is that it's considered a complete protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids. According to the National Academy of Sciences quinoa is "one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom." Its high levels of lysine make it a great ingredient for tissue growth and repair. Not only is quinoa a protein powerhouse, but it's also an amazing source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. It's also a great source of fiber and free of gluten, making it easy to digest. This grain has been proven to be valuable for people with numerous conditions including migraine headaches, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.

Quinoa's recent surge in popularity has actually created a deficit back in Bolivia, its place of origin, according to a recent New York Times article. The article stated, "Now demand for quinoa is soaring in rich countries, as American and European consumers discover the 'lost crop' of the Incas. The surge has helped raise farmers' incomes here in one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. But there has been a notable trade-off: Fewer Bolivians can now afford it, hastening their embrace of cheaper, processed foods and raising fears of malnutrition in a country that has long struggled with it." This surge has cause the price of quinoa stateside to rise to more than $5 a box. Despite its high price, quinoa boxes are still flying off the shelves.

Here is a tasty recipe using quinoa:

Quinoa Pilaf
(Recipe courtesy of Ancient Harvest Brand Quinoa)

1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup green bell pepper
1/4 cup red bell pepper
6 cups quinoa
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup almonds
1/4 teaspoon oregano

To Cook Quinoa:

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