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Quinoa: Is It Really As Healthy As It Sounds

You may have heard of quinoa, often referred to as a “superfood.” But what is it, and what kinds of benefits does it have on the body? Take a look at this brief overview of this heart-healthy plant.

About Quinoa

Quinoa is a crop native to the Andes Mountains in Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. It has long been referred to as “Inca rice” and is named for the Incan term meaning “mother grain.” Unlike other cereal grains, quinoa is not a grassy plant but rather a broadleaf non-legume related to spinach, sugarbeet, and table beet. It’s much like other non-legume grains such as buckwheat and amaranth.[1]

Although quinoa is not a grass, the seeds of this plant are used in the same way as grains. Since it’s gluten-free, it can be used as an alternative to other grains like wheat in cooking.2 It’s also packed with nutrients, giving it the reputation of a “superfood.” In fact, it’s one of the only plants that contain all the nine essential amino acids your body needs.[2]

Quinoa Benefits

Quinoa benefits are vast, ranging from its anti-inflammatory properties to its high antioxidant content.[3] Compared to other gluten-free pastas and breads, a quinoa triglycerides solution it one of the best for lowering triglyceride concentrations and fatty acid levels.[4] Adding quinoa to your diet help with the following conditions:

Diabetes - A quinoa diabetes diet may help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes thanks in part to its rich antioxidant content.[4]

Weight Loss - Another way that a quinoa diabetes diet can help combat the disease is by helping you lose weight. Of course, a quinoa weight loss solution will help combat obesity whether you have diabetes or not. Quinoa weight loss strategies work because of the plant’s insoluble fiber and protein content, which makes you feel full and decreases overall caloric intake.[5]

Cardiovascular Disease - Thanks to quinoa nutrition content, its vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and antioxidants can help fight diseases like cardiovascular disease.[5]

High Cholesterol - Quinoa contains several nutrients beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels. This includes alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)[5] as well as fiber.[6]

Heart Disease - With quinoa diabetes benefits and quinoa weight loss advantages, one can only expect that quinoa benefits would also include boosting heart health, and that’s true! With no trans fats but many heart-healthy fats, eating quinoa can help reduce your risk of heart disease.[5]

Quinoa Nutrition

Quinoa benefits come from the plant’s high nutrition content. In one cup of cooked quinoa, quinoa nutrition includes:

  • 8 grams Protein
  • 5 grams Fiber
  • 58% of the RDA for Manganese
  • 30% of the RDA for Magnesium
  • 15% of the RDA for Iron
  • Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2, and B6 [7]

One cup has just 222 calories and only 4 grams of fat.[8] It’s a low-sodium, low-fat food that leaves out all the bad stuff while packing in the good, such as fiber, protein, and antioxidants.[8]

Although it’s not technically a grain, it is classified as a whole grain food. As an added benefit, quinoa is typically grown organically, it’s a non-GMO, and it’s gluten-free.[7]