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!
Pictured 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.
Pictured 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.
Pictured 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.
Pictured 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.
Pictured 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.
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.
Pictured 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.
Pictured above: Pesto Baked Salmon with Veggies served atop quinoa (click for recipe)
- Add to your favorite vegetable soups for added protein.
- Bake quinoa into snack bars. Try my Cranberry Quinoa Peanut Butter Power Bars, or my Dark Chocolate Quinoa Bars, pictured below.
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?