Quinoa: The Plant-Based Superstar
Looking for that one ingredient that will pack a nutritional punch and taste great? Look no further than quinoa. This versatile plant-based superstar has so much to offer that it really deserves to take center stage on your plate.
A Better “Grain”
Many people think that quinoa is a grain, but in reality, it is a seed. However, using quinoa to replace grains like wheat or rice, or starches such as potatoes, can drastically increase your nutrient intake. Quinoa offers a source of complete plant-based protein as well as heart-healthy fatty acids – and it’s gluten-free.
The more quinoa is studied, the more health advantages researchers find. Recent studies have found that quinoa contains a host of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Although most studies are still looking at the effects on animals, the results are promising for those suffering from inflammatory ailments including arthritis, asthma, colitis, and Crohn’s disease, among others.
Additional studies have shown that quinoa helps to maintain levels of healthy HDL cholesterol and lower total cholesterol. Combined with the anti-inflammatory benefits, a diet rich in quinoa can help to cut the risk of many types of cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis.
The anti-inflammatory and nutrient benefits of quinoa combine to offer help and healing for type 2 diabetes sufferers. High fiber found in quinoa helps to regulate blood sugar levels while quinoa’s protein source helps to offer an increase in macronutrients and low glucose profile.
You can find quinoa in most stores, but natural foods and specialty food stores often offer better prices and a wider range of varieties. White quinoa is the most common variety, but red and black quinoa offers different flavors and a colorful upgrade to dishes. Quinoa can also be purchased as flour or flakes for baking and other types of recipes, including a nice replacement for oatmeal in the morning. While quinoa flour has a distinctive taste, it can be combined with other types of flours to substitute for wheat flour. Most recipes suggest toasting quinoa flour before using it.
Quinoa can be prepared in a similar fashion as rice, with boiling water set to simmer for about 15 minutes. Savory or sweet additives can be placed in the water to flavor the quinoa, or a non-dairy milk can be used to make a pudding or porridge. Quinoa is a flexible, delicious superfood that can be used in soups, salads, sides or even as baked goods. If you’ve never tried quinoa, now’s a great time to add this amazing “grain” to your diet.