Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Quinoa
Pronounced “keen-wa” - many people think that quinoa is a grain – like wheat or rice. But really, it’s a vegetable seed. Related to Swiss chard and beets, quinoa is a supergrain and is a fantastic food to add to your diet for many reasons.
1. Excellent Protein
For vegetarians and vegans, quinoa is an excellent source of protein that contains the nine essential amino acids that your body needs to function optimally. Quinoa contains around 20 percent protein, which is higher than rice, millet, and wheat. Adding quinoa to meals in the form of salads, sides, or main courses can ensure your body receives adequate protein to build and rebuild tissue.
2. Packed with Riboflavin (B2) & Magnesium
Quinoa is an excellent source of riboflavin – which has been shown to help increase energy and reduce the occurrence of migraines, as well as helping the cells function optimally. Meanwhile, magnesium helps to prevent hypertension by relaxing the muscles around your blood cells.
3. Low Calorie
One quarter-cup of quinoa, uncooked, contains just 172 calories – 24 of which come from protein and a mere 12 from sugar. It’s also gluten-free. Introducing quinoa to replace other grains including rice can help to manage hunger and weight.
4. Low GI & High Fiber
Quinoa has a low glycemic index, so it’s perfect if you want to maintain your blood-sugar levels for regular energy throughout the day. Compared to popular grains, quinoa has twice as much fiber to keep you full longer, as well as lowering cholesterol.
5. Good Source of Iron, Lysine, and Manganese
Having the proper balance of iron in your diet helps your muscles function properly to supply oxygen to the brain, as well as regulate body temperature and enzymes. By ensuring an adequate intake of lysine your body can repair tissues quickly. And the antioxidant manganese helps to protect mitochondria and red blood cells from damage.
6. Anti-Inflammatory & Promotes Healthy Bone Growth
Consumption of quinoa has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in animal studies – including a reduction in obesity by lowering levels of fat tissue. By including quinoa in your diet you are also promoting healthy growth of bones by assisting the absorption of calcium and development of collagen. Quinoa can be used in bars, to replace oatmeal for breakfast, in salads or granola, in soups or even homemade veggie burgers – the possibilities are endless. Quinoa can be found in flour form for pancakes, baking, and other treats. For a quick snack, try our Pineapple Chocolate Chip Wonder bar - not only is it packed with delicious chocolate and pineapple, you’ll discover tasty quinoa crisps in every bite!