Quinoa: A 5000 Year Old Superfood with a Legend

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Quinoa is the grain-like seed that’s pretty popular right now. So what makes it so good?

Quinoa originates from South America and has been growing there for more than 5,000 years.  We know that the ancient Incan civilization cultivated it for at least 3,000 years B.C. and called it the mother grain. However, quinoa is not a grain; it’s actually a seed. And like most other seeds, it is packed with nutrients and is gluten free.

quinoa_nutritious_grain-like_seed_healthy_spoon_picFrom the spelling you might never know that it’s actually pronounced ‘’Keen-wa.’’ Quinoa contains over eight grams of protein per cup, but not just ordinary plant protein. It happens to be a complete protein with a very high-quality amino acid profile.[1]

An Amino Acid Score of 100 or higher indicates a complete high-quality protein. Quinoa has a score of 106. Along with a complete array of amino acids, this superfood is high in lysine, methionine, and cysteine.[2]

Even better news is that studies conclude the digestibility of the protein in quinoa is comparable to that of other high quality food proteins.[2] After all, our bodies are not made from what we eat, but rather we are made from what we have the ability to digest.

More and more people are discovering the benefits of eating low glycemic food. A glycemic index of 55 or less is considered low glycemic and an index of 70 or more is considered high.[3] Quinoa fits into the low glycemic category with a score of 18 on the glycemic index, making it a truly low glycemic food.

This superfood comes in several colors. I have eaten red, black, and white quinoa. Legend has it that it exists in other colors, too. It is in the colors that we find the beneficial phytonutrients called anthocyanins.

Quinoa is a good source of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, and a very good source of manganese, all of which are very important minerals. Quinoa also happens to be very low in sodium.

quinoa_minestrone_easy_vegan_recipe_picIf you’ve heard of the 80-10-10 diet you might also have heard that some people claim this diet makes them feel good. The numbers 80-10-10 stand for 80% carbs, 10% fat, and 10% protein. When we look at the nutrient breakdown of quinoa, we see that it has approximately 71% carbs, 14% fat and 15% protein, which is fairly close to the 80-10-10 diet.

I’ve never tried the 80-10-10 diet, but there is one thing I know for certain. When I eat food that contains quinoa, it makes me feel energetic and focused. So I strive to include some quinoa in my diet as often as possible. I enjoy eating it straight up, but my favourite way to consume quinoa is in a smoothie. Sunwarrior has included quinoa protein in their Classic Plus protein powder. It has a smooth texture and gives me that energetic and focused feeling that makes life even better!

Read more about quinoa!

[1] Mother Grain Quinoa A Complete Protein". Oardc.osu.edu. Retrieved 21 May 2013.

[2] Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1992 Jan;42(1):1-11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1546052

[3] http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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