One of the world’s oldest and most nutritious grains, Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) was initially produced in the Andes region more than 7,000 years ago. It is a low-carb alternative to rice that is devoid of gluten. Plants of the quinoa family feature stunning silvery-green leaves and seed heads that are a stunning array of scarlet, pink, and gold. Growing it is simple, it can tolerate dryness and is resistant to disease. The best time to collect seeds is early in the fall before the first severe frost arrives.
As a result, it has only lately been recognized as a “superfood” by the rest of the world because of its great nutritional value. Health-conscious consumers and gourmet diners alike have begun to recognize it as a unique item.
We’ll learn more about quinoa in this post, including how it’s grown and the health benefits it provides.
What are Quinoa’s Health Benefits?
Because of its many health advantages, quinoa is quickly becoming a popular whole grain. Nutritionally dense, it’s a better source of protein, fiber, and good fats than any other grain on the market. Quinoa seeds can be prepared and eaten in the same way as other grains, however, the quinoa plant is more closely related to beets and spinach. Both the seeds and leaves of this nutrient-dense plant may be consumed by humans.
Cooked quinoa has 71.6 percent water, 21.3 percent carbs, 4.4 percent protein, 1.92 percent fat, and 220 calories per cup, according to nutritionists. All nine essential amino acids may be found in quinoa, making it a complete protein source.
- A Protein Supply Derived From Plants
Those who adopt a plant-based diet need to supplement their diet with non animal sources of protein. Protein content per serving is 8.14 grams in a 185-gram serving of cooked quinoa.
Quinoa’s proteins include a wide variety of amino acids. Amino acids are necessary for a variety of bodily processes, including muscle growth and immune system function. It is a fantastic alternative for vegetarians and vegans because of its high protein content. In contrast to many other bowls of cereal, quinoa provides a good amount of lysine. A necessary component of protein is cysteine. Protein synthesis would not be possible without lysine. Even though lysine insufficiency is very uncommon, it can have serious consequences for a person’s health since it is necessary for several activities, including growth and development.
- Contains a Lot of Fiber
A cup of 185 grams of quinoa has 5.18 grams of fiber, which is more than other cereals. Depending on one’s age and sex, this amounts to at least 15.42 percent of one’s daily calorie intake. High fiber intake can help prevent constipation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diverticulosis, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fiber-rich diets may also aid in weight loss. This is due to the fact that fiber-rich meals make individuals feel satisfied for a longer period of time, which may help them eat less overall.
- Antioxidant-Rich Food
Compared to other typical gluten-free grains, quinoa is a rich source of antioxidants. Corn, rice, and potato flour are the most common gluten-free ingredients. Compared to items made with quinoa, such as quinoa flour, these tend to be lower in nutrients. Vitamin E is also found in quinoa. Several eye problems and certain malignancies may be lessened with the use of this antioxidant chemical. Research on the health advantages of a diet rich in whole grains and their antioxidant potential continues to emerge.
- The Necessary Amounts of Manganese Are Obtained
Manganese is found in 1.17 milligrams per cup of cooked quinoa. Males get around 27.43 percent of their recommended manganese intake from this, while females get about 35.05 percent. This mineral is necessary for both growth and metabolism. Many enzymes in the body benefit from this element’s help.
- A Supply of Iron
For men, 2.76 milligrams of iron is 34.5 percent of the required daily requirement, and for women, 15.33 milligram. It’s critical to have enough iron in your system if you want to stay healthy. The human body requires iron for several functions. Hemoglobin, for example, relies on it. By transporting oxygen throughout the body, this molecule aids in the production of energy and proper cell activity. It is also important to maintain healthy connective tissue and muscle metabolism by consuming enough amounts of iron.
How to Cook Quinoa and Ways to Make it Taste Better
In order to achieve the best flavor, you should cook it slightly undercooked.
The most crucial step in preparing quinoa for cooking is to first thoroughly rinse it as there are naturally occurring phytochemicals coating the seeds that could make them taste bitter called saponins
Fortunately, there is a simple technique to keep quinoa from becoming bitter. It’s as simple as running your quinoa under cold running water for a minute or so until the water clears out. A mesh strainer is preferable to a colander since the quinoa won’t get washed out of the pores when using a mesh strainer. Make sure the quinoa is completely washed by sifting it with your fingertips as you rinse it. Prepare as normal once the water has evaporated and you may shake out the extra water.
It is simple to provide taste to quinoa by seasoning it with a variety of ingredients such as garlic, fresh herbs, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, nutritional yeast, or cayenne. The flavor of warm quinoa may be enhanced by adding a drizzle of olive oil and finely chopped vegetables such as fresh spinach, arugula, kale, bell peppers, onions, and shallots to the dish before serving. In addition, crumbled sun-dried tomatoes or feta cheese is a wonderful complement to this dish. You may season your quinoa as you choose, as there are an infinite number of possible combinations of ingredients.
Shelf-Life and Proper Storage
After buying a large bag of quinoa, you may be wondering how to store it so that it can be kept for a long time. Quinoa has a long shelf life. But what about if it’s been cooked and dried out or frozen?
For up to a year, uncooked quinoa may be stored in an airtight container in a cold, dry area (such as a pantry). Depending on how well it is dried and preserved, it can last up to two years from the date of manufacture. The container should provide an “expiration date” and a “best before” date. Because you have no idea how long it was lying on the shelf before you bought it, pay attention to the “best by” date.
If you cook your quinoa ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge for up to five days in an airtight container. Quinoa may be kept in the freezer for up to a month at a time.
How Do You Know if Quinoa Has Spoiled?
If you see mold growing on it, it’s time to throw it out. Otherwise, it’s tough to tell whether it’s awful because the scent or texture doesn’t alter significantly. Before cooking, always do a sniff test. The smell is a good indicator that something isn’t quite right.
However, cooking is the only method to tell whether it has gone bad. It is no longer safe to eat if it has a weird scent or a gritty, hard texture after it has been cooked. When you take it out of the fridge to reheat it, check for mold development and smell it. After seven days, it should be thrown away.