Cooking Mama | Food, Wellness

Health Benefits of Quinoa | Low GI Diet to Prevent Sickness

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As Filipinos, rice is our staple food. It is always part of our everyday meal, as they say, rice is life. However, too much rice can also cause lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes. Plus, it worsens conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels that could lead to incidents of stroke and heart disease. Discover the health benefits of quinoa and how it can help you enjoy your meals without sacrificing your health.

What is Quinoa?

While the quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is commonly eaten as a replacement for rice, it is not actually a grain (or at least, botanically speaking). It is actually the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant.

However, it’s commonly referred to as a “pseudograin” eaten the same way as cereal grains). It has pretty much the same nutritional content, too.

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~ Quinoa seeds. Photo by Vie Studio, pexels.com. ~

According to articles, quinoa was first grown for food 7,000 years ago in the Andes. The Incas reportedly called it “the mother grain” and believed that it was sacred.

In present times, the majority of quinoa is still produced in Bolivia and Peru. It has grown so much in popularity among the health-conscious because of its high nutrient content and health benefits. Unlike other crash diets,

Quinoa is also popular because it’s a gluten-free grain. This means people with celiac disease, wheat allergies or those who avoid gluten can consume it.

Health Benefits of Quinoa for You

Quinoa is rich in both fiber and protein. It has the similar fluffy texture of rice but contains a much higher amount of other nutrients, making you feel full and nourished. A cup of quinoa contains twice more protein and about 5 grams more fiber than white rice. Moreover, quinoa contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than white rice.

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~ My Pinoy quinoa meal. On this plate, you would usually find white rice to complement the fried tilapia and the vegetable appetizers called ensalada and pangat. Now, it’s quinoa. ~

Since quinoa is a complete protein it means that it contains all of the essential amino acids. The nine classified as “essential” must be obtained from food daily as our bodies cannot produce or store them. Quinoa provides all nine.

And here are the health benefits of quinoa that you will surely appreciate.

Note: Quinoa is more expensive than white rice. If it’s too much for your family budget to maintain, maybe you can just substitute some of your meals, especially if you already have health problems.

Digestive Health

We have already established that quinoa is a great source of fiber. Fiber can prevent or treat constipation and may lower your risk of intestinal cancers. It also helps you feel full longer, so it may help with weight loss.

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~ Quinoa salad, anyone? Photo by Anna Tis, pexels.com. ~

Heart Health

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and overall wellness. The fiber in quinoa can also help maintain or even lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, thereby also lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Moreover, quinoa is rich in antioxidants, which can prevent damage to your heart and other organs. It has been reported in health journals that a diet high in antioxidants has been linked to the decreased risk of heart disease.

Disease Prevention

To maintain overall health and prevent disease, the USDA recommends that at least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains like quinoa. As with anything refined, refined grains have been stripped of most of the fiber, iron, and vitamins that are otherwise present in the whole grain. Including whole grains in your diet can help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Nutrition

Quinoa is not only a good rice replacement but it is also very nutritious. It is a good source of the following nutrients:

  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Thiamine
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Nutrients per Serving

That is why you enjoy a full meal and not feel famished like a low-carb diet does. The nutrients also help you keep malnutrition at bay.

A half-cup of cooked quinoa contains:

  • Calories: 111
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

How to Prepare Quinoa as a Rice Replacement

One cup of quinoa grains can make three (3) cups of cooked quinoa. It is so easy to prepare.

Place 1 cup raw quinoa in a fine mesh colander and rinse for at least 30 seconds. Pour out the water. Transfer the washed quinoa in a pot or deep pan with lid and add 2 cups water.

Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let it remain covered in the pot for at least 10 minutes before serving. It’s just like cooking rice.

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~ Cooked 2 cups of quinoa with Himalayan salt, parsley, and olive oil. ~

Variations

Since quinoa is plant-based, it has the “raw plant” smell, or at least for me. Sometimes, I add a bit of pink Himalayan salt and a dash of olive oil. Other times, I pop in a thumb-sized ginger and some lemongrass leaves. If you add chicken and make this soupy, it will become like porridge or arroz caldo.

There are so many things you can do with quinoa. So as not to keep cooking every meal, I cook a cup and just store the rest in the fridge. Then I just take out what I need and microwave that portion.

Be Careful: Food Items to Watch Out For

Quinoa is good by itself. But as with many other superfoods, quinoa has been used as an ingredient for snacks and cereals. They are also marketed as healthy and beneficial.

However, they are not as “healthy” as they are claimed to be. Maybe you will encounter quinoa chocolate bars or sweetened cereals in the supermarket. Check the nutritional content because oftentimes, these are high in sugar. It defeats the purpose of quinoa, which happens in processed quinoa products.

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Shop at the 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐞 𝟓.𝟓 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐅𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥 and enjoy up to 50% off brand bundles as well as 10%off daily from April 26 to May 7, 2022. Don’t forget to use your ShopeePay!

You may want to shop online for your quinoa because they are more affordable, actually. I got my Organic Quinoa from this online shop on Shopee called Belle’s Pantry Essentials. Ordered my quinoa from this seller twice already. Here is my AffLink: https://shope.ee/5KWhkUfQSw

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~ From this Shopee seller, Belle’s Pnatry Essential, I bought quinoa and chia seeds by the kilo. ~

They also sell another superfood, chia seeds, which I will write about in the next post. Get the chia seeds here: https://shope.ee/VRS106wj4

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9 thoughts on “Health Benefits of Quinoa | Low GI Diet to Prevent Sickness

  1. Very informative blog post! Dami palang health benefits ng Quinoa. Thanks for sharing this ma, will definitely try this too. Added to cart na. Ready na i-place order sa Shopee 5.5 Brand Festival.

  2. Thank you for sharing about health benefits of Quinoa Mommy.maganda pala itong replacement ng rice and marami pa syang benefits sa ating katawan

  3. Maganda tong Quinoa lalo na sa mga diabetic at high blood, tamang tama to para makaiwas sa sakit. Daming health benefits ng Quinoa

    1. True! Kasi we need to eat and mabusog din para ma enjoy din natin ang life. Quinoa does all that and more. Kaya eto na talaga ang aking low GI carb. 🙂

  4. Ang sarap naman pong itry nitong Quinoa ! Marami pang Health benefits na makukuha . Perfect para sa buong pamilya !

    1. Ang ginagawa ko ma, ako lang talaga ang puro quinoa. But I also give some portions kay hubby and Achi para sa nutrition. Ayaw pa ni siobe so far. Pero sige lang. she will learn eventually. 🙂

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