Thu | Sep 21, 2017

The Tranquil Way | Ever heard of Quinoa?

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2017 | 2:00 AM

Eating healthy brings with it many restrictions. In order to increase the variety, which may be diminished when removing unhealthy foods, some new foods may be explored. Quinoa is one such healthy option.

Quinoa is grown in South America and was a staple food for the Incas and continues to be, but to a lower extent, by their descendants. Its popularity has been increasing across the word due to its health benefits which, unfortunately, has pushed up the price, making it unaffordable for many of them. The health benefits and its reputation are so significant that it is considered a superfood.

Quinoa is considered as a pseudo-grain as it is not a real grain, but it's used as such. There are three main types - white, red and black. The plant from which it comes is actually related to spinach and beet. It is made up of fine seeds and can be used as a replacement for rice, couscous and bulgar. It is especially useful to those persons who wish to eliminate gluten from their diet, as it is gluten-free. It is also the least likely grain to cause an allergy.

Quinoa is like a complete food. Not only does it have more proteins than the other grains, it has all nine essential amino acids which is rare among plant-based foods. It is also a good source of healthy carbs and fats. Additionally, it's a good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese, as well as several of the vitamin B family, vitamin E and dietary fibre. Quinoa even has a little omega-3 as well, but it has a good supply of antioxidant substances which is important in keeping down inflammation in the body. One hundred grams of quinoa provides 368 calories, 14g of proteins, 64g of carbohydrates, 6g of fat and 7g of dietary fibre (mostly insoluble though).

Quinoa cooks easily and is very versatile. It can be used as a cereal for breakfast, in a salad with lunch, or as replacement for rice for dinner. It has a nutty texture when cooked. Rinsing it is sometimes necessary before cooking.

For health-conscious persons, it is an excellent food and may even help with weight loss as the glycaemic index is relatively low (53). It may also help in the control of other chronic illnesses as well, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. So try it out!