Over the last few years quinoa has catapulted to fame as one of the world’s most celebrated superfoods, gracing celebrity Instagram feeds and restaurant menus alike. Originating from South America, it actually dates back thousands of years and was a staple food of the Incas. Today, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is often used as an alternative to rice – although it’s technically a seed rather than a grain – and becomes deliciously soft and fluffy once cooked. So, what exactly is so great about quinoa? Here are four reasons why you should definitely be including it in your diet.
1. It’s extremely nutritious
Quinoa is arguably one of the most foods on the planet. Not only is it very high in protein, it also contains all nine essential amino acids. Our bodies can’t make these on their own, so including them in your diet is key. In addition, quinoa is high in fibre, as well as vital vitamins and minerals such as iron (which is good for your blood), calcium (which is good for your bones), potassium, B vitamins and magnesium. It’s even high in antioxidants, which can prevent damage to our cells caused by harmful free radicals.
2. It has a wide range of health benefits
Quinoa provides such a wealth of health benefits that it’s easy to see why it’s classed as a superfood. Studies have shown that it can help to balance your blood sugar levels, and also make it easier for you to lose weight because it keeps you feeling full for longer. It’s also been suggested that quinoa is good for gut health, can lower cholesterol because of its high fibre content, and has anti-inflammatory properties, which is key, because inflammation has been linked to a wide range of detrimental health conditions. All of these are reasons why quinoa is great for heart health, diabetes and digestion.
3. It’s suitable for all sorts of diets
is an entirely plant-based food, which means it’s a great source of protein and essential amino acids for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It’s also naturally gluten-free, which makes it a fantastic choice for those who have a gluten intolerance, coeliac disease or just want to cut down on the amount of gluten in their diet.
4. It’s versatile
One issue people sometimes complain about when it comes to superfoods is that they are too difficult to include in their diet. With quinoa, that’s not the case. These days, you can find it in many supermarkets and health-food stores, and it can be cooked in just 15 minutes. It has a mild, nutty flavour that goes with and styles of cooking. You can use quinoa in place of rice or cous cous, add it to soups and stir fries, spice up a salad with it or try it in a stew. You can also use quinoa flour when baking gluten-free breads and cakes, or even add it to a breakfast bowl to start your day in a healthy manner.