Many people think “quinoa” (pronounced Keen-wah) is a grain but it’s not – it is a seed related to the Spinach family. Even though it is a seed, quinoa cooks and tastes like a grain. The earliest records of its use go back 5,000 years to the Incas, but it is now being rediscovered and used as a new super food.
Quinoa is the ideal gluten-free replacement for people who have to avoid grains, such as Candida sufferers and celiacs. Celiacs benefit from having a gluten free alternative and Candida sufferers are thrilled to find out that it doesn’t feed the Candida organism – it feeds the normal bowel bacteria. But you don’t have to suffer from one of these complaints to get the benefit of it. Quinoa is a complete source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids that we need to be healthy.
This makes it ideal to form part of a vegetarian diet, particularly as it is easily digested. The benefits don’t stop there. It is a rich source of fiber and contains more essential minerals than traditional grains. It is also a good source of the important mineral magnesium, and magnesium plays many roles in our body, contributing to lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation and controlling our blood sugar levels.
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This makes it a good food for diabetics, migraine sufferers, arthritis sufferers, heart patients and sufferers from other inflammatory diseases. Quinoa has high levels of the important antioxidants copper and manganese as well. Tests show that it is a rich source of these minerals along with calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, richer than the usually used grains of wheat, barley and corn.
Quinoa can be used in any meal; it is an ideal breakfast food. I like to cook carrots and onions in my quinoa for breakfast. It can also be made as a couscous style salad for lunch or used in evening meals.
Some quinoa dishes recommend soaking it before cooking. You can add probiotics to the soaking water which increases its digestive benefits. Give Quinoa a try, it has many fans, and for good reason. It can be found in most health food stores or online.
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