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Quinoa: The New Supergrain?

By Expert HERWriter
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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

How many of you have heard the buzz about quinoa? Pronounced "keen-wah," it is a powerful little pseudo-grain that cooks like rice, has a ton of protein and is completely gluten free. It has been grown in South America for the last 6,000 years and was considered sacred by the Incas.

Its nutritional content makes it almost a complete protein with 10 essential amino acids (unlike wheat or rice) plus it’s high in fiber, phosphorus, iron, calcium, B-vitamins, vitamin E, and magnesium. As it is much easier to digest than wheat, corn, and rice, many top athletes, physicians, nutritionists, and even NASA (the space folk) are taking notice.

When using quinoa it’s important to wash it thoroughly to remove the outer layer. Many pre-packaged quinoa companies have already done this for you so you can begin cooking right away. Very similar to rice, you prepare it using a 2 to 1 ratio of water to grain, bringing the water to a boil, adding in the quinoa, and then covering it and letting it simmer for 12-16 minutes. The germ separates from the seed giving it a curled look out of the round seed. In fact, it looks very similar to couscous but smaller.

If you’re looking to balance your blood sugar, stave off hypoglycemia, and lose weight, quinoa is high in protein and about a 35 on the glycemic index scale, and 18 on the glycemic load. Plus, it is an alkaline food which is really important to the health of your body. This is amazing!

Many people find the taste of quinoa "interesting" when they first try it because it’s slightly nutty flavored but I suggest you keep using it in different recipes that call for couscous, rice, corn, wheat or barley and you’ll grow to love it like I do. Consider using it as your high protein hot cereal in the morning with a few almonds and blueberries mixed in. Make a pasta salad substituting quinoa for traditional pasta for lunch, or add quinoa when making your soup. It’s a great side dish if you’re looking for a starch with your meat and vegetable for dinner as well.

If you’re looking to become healthier in 2011 and wanting to kick up your dietary choice with higher protein, fiber and nutrition then consider quinoa as an addition to your meals. You’ll be glad you did!

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I love Quinoa I have just learned about it and I have sarted to eat it in the morning or any time . I mix a few spoonsful with my oatmeal and a little butter and it is great. I am searching for new recipes to try .

January 12, 2011 - 12:02pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Here's a recipe to get you started: https://www.empowher.com/healthy-eating/content/gluten-free-salsa-quinoa-salad-recipe

January 12, 2011 - 5:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

I love Quinoa! I usually make it with:
1 Cup Quinoa
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Vegetable stock

Add diced and sauteed mushrooms and onions.
Add a hand full of raisins to the dish for a nice hint of sweetness and great texture.

A delicious and healthy dish

January 7, 2011 - 10:29am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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