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What is Quinoa?

Posted Apr 03 2010 5:22pm

What Quinoa is not is a grain, although it can be substituted in cooking for practically any grain.  Quinoa is a good source of nutrients and offers multiple health benefits.

what is quinoa

So, what is Quinoa?

It is actually the seed of leaf plant. It is closely related to spinach, chard and beets.  It is often confused with a grain and called a grain when described.

Quinoa grains are flat and have an oval but pointed shape.  It comes in many different color variations including red, yellow, brown and black.  The texture of the grain is smooth but the tail has a crunchy texture to it.  When you cook quinoa it triples and almost quadruples in size.

Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein, it has amino acid such as lysine to help repair the body. It has been referred to as nature’s natural remedy due to the multiple benefits it offers to the health and well being of our body.

Some of these natural benefits are:

  • Management of Diabetes Type 2 – because it is rich in magnesium which is the nutrient that helps the body process glucose and insulin.  Be careful however because it is known to increase the insulin sensitivity while it lowers triglycerides.
  • Heart Disease and Blood Pressure – You get good protein without saturated fats and cholesterol.  Due to the magnesium and potassium present it is helpful to lower blood pressure.
  • Reduces the frequency of Migraine Headaches – To help in the reduction of migraine headaches quinoa contains riboflavin and magnesium which can naturally relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, easing tension.
  • Asthma – Quinoa contains magnesium which can help to naturally reduce bronchial spasms.  It also contains zinc, iron and vitamin B which most asthma suffers tend to be deficient in.
  • Prevention of gallstones – It is a soluble fiber; therefore it passes easily through the intestine and lowers the need for bile production to digest it. An increase in bile production can cause development of gallstones; limiting the amount of bile produced can lower the chances of gallstone formation.

Where does Quinoa come from?

It is grown in dry climates and grows well in poor soil.  It can even be grown in the mountains.  It is grown in South America, the Colorado Rocky Mountains and it is native to the Andes.  The grain thrives best in dry soil.  You can purchase it in large supermarkets and health food stores.

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