Not too long ago, it was all about rice and potatoes as a side to your meal. Of course, we’ve realized over the years that these simple starches aren’t as good for us as some alternatives, including quinoa. Replacing traditional sides with quinoa, or using quinoa as a base for a few meals per week can help improve your nutrient profile for a healthier body. Read more about why quinoa is a great “grain” to embrace.
1. Plant Protein
For plant-based diets, finding foods with all the essential amino acids you need (i.e. a complete protein). Quinoa is a terrific source of protein, with one cup of quinoa containing over 8 grams of protein. Using quinoa as a base for meal ensures that your diet has a rich source of protein.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Many recent studies have explored the anti-inflammatory properties of quinoa and how it can help with a variety of ailments. Quinoa’s success as an anti-inflammatory can be attributed to its source of phenolic acids as well as vitamin E and polysaccharides. Why is it important to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet? Because it can help with a variety of ailments: allergies, sinusitis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, and more.
3. High Fiber Content
Quinoa offers a terrific source of fiber. One cup of quinoa gives you 20% of your daily fiber – so your body’s digestion can function optimally. Additionally, you’ll find that increasing your fiber content helps to manage hunger pangs throughout the day and provides consistent energy. Adding more fiber to your diet with quinoa has other benefits as well. It can help to maintain blood sugar levels for those at risk of or managing diabetes, as well as reducing cholesterol.
4. Loads of Micronutrients
Quinoa has a host of micronutrients to help round out your plant-based diet. Here are just a few:
- Lysine: Helps with tissue growth and repair.
- Magnesium: Relaxes blood vessels and promotes healthy blood sugar levels.
- Riboflavin (B2): Helps to boost energy production in cells.
- Manganese: A powerful antioxidant to help repair damaged cells.
Quinoa is easy to make – much like rice. You can try different varieties of quinoa (red, white, standard) and combine 1 cup quinoa to 1 ½ parts water. Boil the water (or non-dairy milk), add some coconut oil, add the quinoa, reduce heat and cover. After about 15 minutes all the water should be absorbed, you can remove from heat, fluff with a fork and enjoy. Quinoa can be enjoyed hot or cold, savory or sweet. Add it to soups as well or make a salad – even a morning porridge!
22 Days Nutrition Loves Quinoa
We’re such big fans of quinoa – of both its health benefits and the many ways you can enjoy it. You’ll find it in our Creamy Quinoa Garlic Risotto from our 22 Days Meal Planner.