It’s 2019. This is the time of the year again where “New Year, New Me” becomes everyone’s motto. Goals for this year are listed down to create a better version of themselves wherein part of it, if not on top, is to lose some weight and have a healthier lifestyle. It is natural for most people to gain pounds over the holiday seasons because of non-stop parties wherein they indulge themselves of food, sweets, and alcohol.
So, if you are like those who are pledging for weight loss, reducing calorie intake may be the first step you need to try. This is necessary because every calorie you take is being absorbed by your body and can be stored as fat. Your body might have a hard time burning them especially when you regularly eat calories more than what you consume causing you to gain weight and get those unwanted fats. However, cutting your calorie consumption can be a challenging task for you especially if you love to eat foods that are rich in calories. But do not be discouraged yet because there’s an alternative food that can make your cravings satisfied and your stomach full while you are on your road to fitness.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is the seed of the flowering plant called Chenopodium quinoa which botanically belongs to the amaranth and spinach family. This pseudocereal seed has a variety of color including black, yellow, red and white. It is first originated and cultivated in the Andean region of north-western South America particularly in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. Because of its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, people in Andean have considered this as a medicinal plant to cure constipation, stomach ache, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea—an infection caused by a sexually transmitted bacterium that affects rectum, urethra and throat.
Nutritional Content of Quinoa
Nowadays, quinoa gains attention worldwide because of its nutritional content. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) national nutrient database for standard reference legacy release, 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa can provide the following nutrients and minerals:
- 8.14 grams of protein
- 5.2 grams of fiber
- 118 milligrams of magnesium
- 2.76 milligrams or iron
- 31 milligrams of calcium
- 318 milligrams of potassium
- 281 milligrams of phosphorus
- 39.41 grams of carbohydrates
- 13 grams of sodium
- 2.02 milligrams of zinc
Apart from that, it also contains minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium as well as vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B, E, A, folate, choline, carotene, lutein, and tocopherol. It has nine essential amino acids, fatty acids, and other anti-oxidants too that are good for the body. Lastly, quinoa is gluten-free making you safe from acquiring celiac disease—a condition that prevents the absorption of some nutrients due to the damaged intestine.
4 Health Benefits of Quinoa
Makes you lose weight
It can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller quicker and longer because of the carbohydrates that are packed with it as well as it has a low glycemic index. Your metabolism speeds up also because the fiber and protein are working hand in hand to burn your fat.
If you used to go regularly and suddenly don’t poop for days, you might be experiencing constipation. It is a condition wherein you are having a hard time emptying your bowel completely which causes your stools to be either lumpy or hard. If you are indeed constipated, eating quinoa can relieve your constipation. As stated above, it contains fiber—greater than sweet potato (4.8 grams) and apple (3.3 grams)—that can help you digest food quickly. Vitamins riboflavin and thiamine, as well as amino acid glutamic acid, are also present in quinoa that improves and support your digestive system.
Protects your skin
Quinoa is rich in anti-oxidants and other anti-aging vitamins like manganese and vitamin B and riboflavin that are good for your skin and hair. Every time you eat cooked quinoa, it helps your skin rejuvenate resulting in softer, brighter and more vibrant skin. It also prevents wrinkles, treats acne and fights free radicals.
Helps your bone
Quinoa is a good source of calcium that helps your bone to be healthy. Apart from that, copper, manganese, folate, zinc, fiber and protein that are present in quinoa help protect your bones from weakening.
How to cook quinoa?
What’s good about this food is that it can be cooked easily and quickly (12-15 minutes) to any kind of recipes like salad, porridge, tabbouleh and many more making you not miss your favorite food. Since it is free of gluten just like rice, it is safe for those people with gluten intolerance. Here’s the step by step procedure in cooking quinoa:
- Rinse the quinoa with clean water (just like how you rinse rice) to eliminate its bitter flavor and prevents those seeds from sticking together.
- Tip it in a pan and add some salt. If you want your quinoa to be tastier, you may use chicken or pork stock. Just remember for every 100 grams of quinoa, your water (or stock) should be 300 milliliters of water.
- Place over medium heat until it boils.
- Stir it, put it in low heat, cover and let it simmer.
- When the water (or stock) is absorbed, use a fork to fluff it up to separate the seeds. Your quinoa is now cooked and ready to serve.
Who should not eat quinoa?
Although quinoa is proven to be nutritious, eating this might bring harm to some. There are people who are allergic to quinoa but they do not know it yet. If you are consistently experiencing itchiness, hives, inflammation in the lungs, skin and digestive tract, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea, stop eating quinoa immediately and consult your doctor. Those who are already diagnosed to have diverticulosis (chronic gastrointestinal disorder), ulcerative colitis (inflammatory disease of the colon and rectum) or celiac disease should also not eat quinoa.
Even if you are a foodie, you can still achieve your goal towards losing weight and living healthy this year. You do not need to deprive yourself of food just to be in a diet. Making quinoa part of your health food diet plan can give you the right nutrients needed for the body. It is a better alternative for rice that can satisfy your growling stomach.