Quinoa, one of the grains that is also called a superfood. It is already been found by the Incas back to four thousand years ago. They even called it “the gold” because it is so treasured and used to increase the stamina for Incas warriors. They also mentioned it as the mother of all grains and considered to be sacred.Nowadays, you can find quinoa in stores and restaurant.Experts said it is considered to be the healthiest food on the planet. So, let’s find out about the gold of Incas, the white quinoa!
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a pseudo-cereal plant that comes from Peru and Bolivia. Quinoa is relative of spinach, chard and beets. There are hundred types of quinoa, but the most popular are white, red and black. It is considered a whole grain and usually grown organically.
What makes White Quinoa so good?
White quinoa offers so much goodness for our health. It seeds are rich in fiber, vitamin B, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. It is thought to help prevent a number of diseases. Medical News Today (MCT) states that quinoa is found to be relatively high in antioxidants, compared with other grains and cereals.
As MCT reports, other than the fact quinoa is naturally a gluten free (which makes quinoa great for people with gluten intolerance), one cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa, contains: 222 calories, 8.14 gr of protein, 5.2 gr of fiber, 3.55 gr of fat, 39.4 of carbohydrate, 30% recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, 30% RDA manganese, 19% RDA folate, 28% RDA phosphorus, and other vitamins and nutrients.
As a whole grain, quinoa offer more fiber and important nutrients than other refined or milled grains such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta. Studies shown that quinoa’s fiber is twice higher than most grains. You might want to consider to add quinoa as your main source of carbo. Because milled and refined grains have less fiber and nutrients due to processing.
White Quinoa VS Rice
You should consider eating quinoa rather than white rice, because one cup of cooked quinoa contains 40 fewer calories, 15 times fewer grams of carbohydrates than white rice. Quinoa also provides 5 more grams of fiber and twice higher in protein.
Health Benefits Offered By White Quinoa
- Promotes weight loss. As mentioned before, quinoa is high in fiber and contain hydroxyecdysone that helps with weight loss and makes people eat less because of the protein.
- Great dietary choice for vegetarians and vegans – Quinoa offers complete protein and contains nine essential amino acids, types of acids that human bodies cannot produce. It is a perfect source of protein for vegetarians and vegans!
- Prevent heart diseases – Fiber could lower blood pressure and reducing cholesterol. Quinoa also contains omega 3 fatty acids that is good for heart health.
- Constipation – Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains and can help to relieve constipation.
- Promote healthy blood cells – Quinoa contains iron that can helps to keep red blood cells healthy.
Promote bone health and prevent osteoporosis – Quinoa is high in magnesium that plays a role in bone formation. It also rich in protein that serves as nutrient for the bones.
- Increases brain functions – Iron in quinoa helps to carries oxygen in blood and the magnesium also helps to relax blood vessels.
- Treats hemorrhoids, by lowering cholesterol and glucose levels.
- Improve blood sugar control – Quinoa has low glycemix index, which is 53.
- Improve skin health – Quinoa is rich in vitamins B and nutrients that helps skin pigmentation and reducing dark melanin in skins. Niacinamide in quinoa also help to treat acne and breakout.
- Improve tissue repair and growth – Because quinoa is rich in lysine which is good for tissue repairs.
- Prevent kidney stones – Because quinoa helps to manage potassium levels.
- Acts as anti-inflammatory – Because it contains quercetin and kaempferol, quinoa shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant even anti-cancer effects!
What’s the difference between White Quinoa and another quinoa?
White quinoa is also called ivory quinoa, the most popular type of quinoa that you can easily find in stores, supermarkets, and restaurant. It is mildest and least crunchy than another quinoa. White quinoa cooks the fastest up to 10 – 15 minutes.
Red quinoa is more suitable for salads more than white quinoa because it retains from the original shape after a little cooking.
Black quinoa tastes a little sweeter and earthier than white. Black quinoa is also the crunchiest of all quinoa.However, takes the longest to cook, up to 15-20 minutes.
Based on Red Mill, there is no significant difference between white quinoa and the other quinoa, because all of them offer same quality nutrition with same nutty and earthy flavor. The difference they make is only for their color.
How to Serve Quinoa and How Much You Should Take A Day
You are probably wondering how to eat quinoa and how to serve it. The answer to your question is, you can eat quinoa raw if its already soaked and sprouted, but it is recommended to eat it cooked because it is safer and much better.
Quinoa is considered easy and fast to serve. You can prepareit in less than 15 minutes.Quinoa has a subtle nutty taste that can be used in hot or cold dishes. You can serve it in salads, or even stews and curries. Or you can use it as a porridge, soup, stew or even use it as flour by grounding it first. The quinoa flour can be used to prepare bread, noodles, cookies, or even pasta.
What special about quinoa is the saponin that coated the seeds, it acts as an insecticide, to keep insects away without using pesticides. However, before consuming, you should rinse it in water to remove the saponin. If you want to cook, wash the quinoa and soak it for 2 hours. And then, you change the water, soak again and rinse it. You have to wash the quinoa repeatedly until the foam disappears.
If you buy from the stores, usually the saponin has been removed through the process, but it’s okay to take double precaution and wash it to see if the saponin is still there or not
Don’t eat cooked quinoa that has been in room temperature for more than 2 hours, because it will become spoiled.
The best way to cook quinoa is to add one part of the grain for two parts of water and simmer it for 20 minutes. If you want to maximize the nutty flavor of the quinoa, toast it!
This is the recommended portion of quinoa you should take a day based from Chelsea Caito, a registered dietician:
- For adults: ½-1 cup per meal cooked.
- For kids ages 2-13 years old: ½ cup of cooked quinoa.
- For baby: Quinoa is also good for babies age at least 8 months old. Don’t give it to infants or baby less than 8 months old!
Storage and Consumption Tips
To store quinoa, place it in a dry place in an airtight container to keep it fresh. For a long-term option, you can store it in freezer. If stored properly, it can last up to 2 years.
Don’t forget to remove the saponin, because if consumed, it could cause severe stomach pain and laxative diarrhea.
While eating quinoa in the right amount gives you health benefits, if you eat too much it can cause side effects like digestive issues. Quinoa is considered contain fairly high in carbs, and its not for people who is following a low carb diet. Quinoa is also high I oxalates, which can reduce absorption of calcium and cause problems for certain individuals with recurring kidney stones.
Based on all the benefits offered by quinoa, it is fairly to say that the gold of Incas is really one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods that the planet can offer. It is high in fiber, rich in vitamins and nutrients, and also contains 9 amino acids that our bodies can’t produce, but need to consume!
For more information on health food, visit HoneyCity Singapore.