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Quinoa Nutrition Fun Facts & Recipes

Hello friends! Today I’d like to share a nutrition highlight post all about quinoa! Read on for some quinoa nutrition fun facts and some of my favorite quinoa recipes. I hope you enjoy it!

011Pictured above: “Cheesy” Vegan Mushroom Quinoa (click for recipe)

Quinoa, pronounced “KEEN-wah,” is a food that a mere few years ago was probably unknown or unfamiliar to many. Nowadays, however, this product has grown in popularity enough to be readily available both in health food stores and everyday grocery stores, too.

Quinoa is commonly grouped with grains such as wheat, oats, barley, and rye because it is typically consumed the same way. But in all actuality, quinoa is a member of the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard, and beets—a chenopod. Scientific evidence dates quinoa back to approximately 3000 B.C., but we are just recently hearing about this easily prepared, nutrient-rich and gluten-free food.

022Pictured above: Comforting Pumpkin Quinoa (click for recipe)

So, why is quinoa so great, nutritionally? Here’s 5 reasons why.

1. Protein. In just ¼ cup of dry quinoa, this ancient food packs in 6 grams of protein, double the amount in the same serving size of brown rice. On top of this, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that we must consume in our diet because our body cannot make them, unlike non-essential amino acids. Many plant-based proteins do not contain all essential amino acids, unlike animal products.

022Pictured above: Zesty Kumquat Quinoa Salad (click for recipe)

2. Iron. One serving of quinoa contains approximately 20% of our daily value of iron. Iron is essential to our bodies to help carry oxygen to our cells; iron deficiency (anemia) will often lead to lethargy or fatigue.

3. Antioxidants. Quinoa contains significant amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants, which you are most likely familiar with being plentiful in many fruits and vegetables, are responsible for defending against free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals can cause cellular damage leading to cancer, aging, and various diseases.

quinoa saladPictured above: Quinoa Salad with Pecans & Cranberries (click for recipe)

4. Anti-Inflammatory. Research is still being conducted on quinoa and its anti-inflammatory properties, but the growing evidence is promising. Studies have shown that quinoa has the ability to lower levels of inflammation in fat tissues and intestine linings. These studies show decreased risk of inflammation-related diseases, including obesity.

008Pictured above: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (click for recipe)

5. Fiber. On serving of quinoa contains 3 grams of fiber, making this product a good source. Fiber is essential to our bodies for regularity in bowel movements, and also aids in maintaining a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should aim for 38 grams.

IMG_6710
Pictured above:
Quinoa Taco Salad (click for recipe)

After reading all that, are you ready to dig in? In addition to the recipes linked to with the photos above, here are some ways that you can enjoy this nutrient packed food:

  • Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa for a healthy breakfast. Make the quinoa with milk instead of for added protein!
  • Use instead of rice in your next Mexican dish or stir fry.

IMG_5240Pictured above: Mexican Quinoa Salad (click for recipe)

    • Use noodles made from quinoa to mix up your favorite pasta dish. Quinoa pasta is also a great way for gluten free friends to still enjoy pasta!
    • Mix things up at dinnertime and use it as a side instead of rice or another grain.

pesto_salmonPictured above: Pesto Baked Salmon with Veggies served atop quinoa (click for recipe)

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And that’s a wrap. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and will check out some of the old favorite recipes I shared from my archives!

Are you a quinoa fan? What’s your favorite quinoa recipe or way to eat quinoa?

What other foods would you like to see featured in a nutrition highlights post?

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A big thank you to my dietetic intern, Alison, for her assistance in researching/writing this post! Check out her blog and you can find her on Twitter, too.

Comments

  1. 1

    Quinoa is one of my most favorite foods! You can do so many different things with it. This collection of recipes looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2

    I didn’t know quinoa was related to spinach and beets!

    I love quinoa in salads, soups, etc! It goes well in a lot of things.

  3. 3

    I adore quinoa! It’s so versatile!

  4. 4

    I don’t really like it! I mean it’s fine, but I wish I was crazier about it. I find the texture always too mushy, and yes I’ve tried reducing the liquid and cooking time, toasting it first, etc. I’ve also had it prepared by others and and restaurants, Whole Foods, etc. I maintain it’s too mushy! I prefer rice or millet for the texture- or israeli cous cous! I think I like quinoa the best as breakfast porridge, where I don’t mind the mush (rolled oats are mushy anyway- but I still prefer steel-cut oats to quinoa porridge!)

  5. 10

    I love quinoa! I love making a bowl of nice hot quinoa flakes in the morning! Perfect protein and carb mix :)

  6. 14

    This is why it is one of my favorite foods!!
    You have amazing looking recipes! :)

  7. 15

    I LOVE quinoa! I eat it probably half of my lunches throughout the month.

  8. 16

    I love adding quinoa to my salads at lunch for an added boost of protein since I don’t usually add animal protein to my lunch. I didn’t know quinoa had that much iron in it – good to know!

  9. 17

    As much as I adore quinoa, I had no idea it was a good source of iron! I just pinned tons of your recipes … looking forward to trying many of them. Thanks for sharing!

  10. 19

    I love quinoa! It’s definitely a staple in my diet and the starch in lots of my stir fries, curries, Mexican means, and fish dishes!

  11. 20

    Very informative, thank you! I appreciate the recipes, too. I never know what exactly to do with quinoa! Awesome post, thanks again.

  12. 21

    I HAVE NEVER had quinoa before!!! :o It’s pretty cool that it’s a relative to spinach, my FAVORITE veggies (okay one of them). LOL. I think I need to pop my Quinoa Seed and GO FOR IT – Hopefully my stomach can handle it!

  13. 23

    I use to eat quinoa all the time, and then I just kinda stopped eating it! :( Reading your profile about the GF food though has made me add it back to the shopping list in order to create some of your delicious looking recipes! The Mexican Salad looks amazing! Would you ever do a post on starchy veggies vs. un-starchy veggies? I have been reading a lot about this and would love to have your take on the two!

  14. 25

    I am a huge quinoa fan!! Love that you put all these recipes together :) They look so yummy! I read somewhere that quinoa was a seed…is that true?

  15. 26

    Quinoa! I started using it at the beginning of this year for the first time. I must say that at first I didn’t use it that much, but now I love it, and include it on my meals at least weekly! btw your recipes look delicious! added them to my try-it list! Thanks for sharing ;)

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