What is it?
The quinoa seed (from the Chenopodium quinoa plant) is a pseudo-cereal originally cultivated in the Andean region.
Although it’s been known for centuries as “the mother grain” by people in this region, it has only quite recently blown up as a popular gluten free and healthy grain alternative. Believe it or not, there are actually over 3,000 varieties of quinoa. Who would have thought? If you’re browsing the grocery store you’ve likely come across white, black, red, or a blend of all three (think: “tri-colored”). Interestingly, each type provides different nutrient contents. According to this article, black quinoa had the highest vitamin E followed by red and white quinoa but on the other hand, the lighter color seed had a better omega 6 to omega 3 ratio (i.e. more Omega 3s). Go here for the scoop on Omega 3s. Might as well spread the wealth and grab some tri-colored (see our favorite options below)!
What are the benefits?
Quinoa is packed with more protein than most foods we eat. Remember our chat about essential amino acids (check it out here)? Well, quinoa provides all 9 that your body needs to thrive. This is partially why quinoa has become such a phenomenon with the increase in the vegan/vegetarian population.
In addition to this ingredient, quinoa contains around 17 grams of fiber per cup (psst: that’s a lot) but is reduced a bit when boiled. Regardless, still a fantastic way to feed your healthy gut bacteria and keep it regular (if you’re picking up what we’re putting down). Fiber is also majorly important for weight loss and maintenance.
One randomized study showed that the consumption of 50g quinoa significantly reduced triglycerides in women (think: when you eat too much, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides which are stored in your fat cells for later). In laymen’s terms, there is great potential that consuming quinoa can help trim down some unwanted fat.
Quinoa is full of one of the most important minerals known to man: magnesium. According to MindBodyGreen, magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body yet one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in America (50-90% of people are deficient). A quick summary: magnesium has been shown through studies at MIT to improve brain receptors and reduce brain fog. Magnesium increases your production of serotonin (the happy hormone) and is crucial for the function of your GABA receptors to function properly. GABA promotes relaxation, reduces stress, lowers anxiety, and improves sleep. Who needs therapy when you have quinoa?
Where can I get it?
As stated above, there are multiple kinds you might find in your grocery store aisle. We often find the good kinds in the ever so popular gluten-free section of our local grocery store but we always promote having it delivered straight to your door. Here are a few of our favorites from Amazon.
Note – sprouted quinoa is easier for digestion. If you have a sensitive digestive system, this is always a great option for you.
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