A whole-grain seed with South American roots, and referred to by the ancient Incas as their “mother grain,” quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is gaining tremendous appeal among the health-conscious. Packed with essential nutrients including protein, vitamins E and B6, and magnesium, the quinoa plant has ties to uber-healthy greens like chards and spinach. Here are four reasons why quinoa should be on your ingredient list this year:
Those with allergies to wheat and gluten are far less likely to be allergic to quinoa, which makes its substitution as a protein source in flours highly favored. For those without allergies, quinoa is a great healthy alternative to wheat and pastas.
2. COMPLETE PROTEIN
Quinoa is a “total” protein due to an exceptional balance of all essential amino acids in its composition. Amino acids are important for the body’s protein utilization and tissue development, particularly in children.
3. SHELF LIFE
Quinoa grains have quite a bit of longevity, so buy in bulk and keep space available in your pantry. Grains stay good for up to a year.
4. ALL-AROUND HEALTH
Quinoa isn’t just packed with essential aminos; the seed is also an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and copper. One of its top components, lysine, is also fundamental for body repair and recovery.
Here’s a simple breakfast recipe to start your day with this powerful grain:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup fresh fruit (such as berries or cantaloupes)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Optional: ¼ cup toasted almonds
- Optional: 2-4 tsp honey or agave nectar
Combine milk, water and quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and let sit for 12-15 minutes as the water and milk are absorbed. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Stir in fruits, cinnamon and almonds. Add honey for increased sweetness. Enjoy!
Have you incorporated quinoa into your diet? What are your favorite recipes?
Assistance provided by Pam Majumdar