Quinoa- Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits and Cooking Tips

The “superfood” quinoa probably had its moment a few years ago, it never went away but it’s not everywhere anymore. Unless it is January and we all have to be super healthy again for our New Year’s resolutions. The one reason, other than price, quinoa is not taking off is probably the texture. It doesn’t matter how nutritionally dense something is, if it is not palatable then you will not incorporate it into your diet regularly. Here is some information and a few tips to make that easier.  

Here I am again, after a fairly long time. Has it almost been a month? Sorry about that, it has been kind of crazy recently. I’ve been trying to overhaul my “photostudio” to make some nicer pictures more efficiently, which is still a work in progress. There was also some family stuff as well as a certain vaccine that never fails to take me out of commission for a bit. Now I am back with what I thought would be a quick little post, which has taken an ambitious turn. There was so much important stuff I didn’t know about quinoa that goes beyond “hey, it’s kind of mushy, mix it with other stuff that has more texture to it.” Funnily enough that was where my quinoa venture had started. 

What is Quinoa?

The “superfood” quinoa is classified as a whole grain grown for its edible seeds, which has been cultivated in South America since ancient times. It is naturally gluten free. There are three different types of quinoa- white, red and black. You can also find the fun tricolore packs at the grocery store which contain a mix of all three types. When prepared correctly quinoa is supposed to have a mild nutty flavour whilst retaining a satisfying crunch according to Healthline. That last bit I find questionable, nothing you boil for 15-20 minutes will retain crunch. I would consider it to retain some bite like al dente pasta or rice. 

Quinoa and Bean Burger with Coleslaw

Quinoa – Macro- and Micronutrients

100 gr Uncooked Quinoa

  • 368 calories
  • 6.1 gr total fat
  • 0.7 saturated fat
  • 5 mg sodium
  • 64 gr carbohydrates
  • 7 gr fiber
  • 14 gr protein
  • 47 mg calcium
  • 4.6 mg iron
  • 563 mg potassium

Quinoa Nutrition and Health Fact Check

  • Quinoa contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory plant compounds
  • Quinoa is nutritionally dense containing a wide variety of micronutrients such as folate, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, potassium
  • Quinoa is higher in fiber than other grains
  • Quinoa is often considered a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids the body cannot produce, though it contains low amounts of lysine 
    • it is best to combine quinoa with beans, mixed vegetables or tofu
  • Quinoa contains antinutrients, which bind certain nutrients and reduce their absorption
    • rinsing, soaking or sprouting quinoa before cooking reduces the antinutrient content
  • Quinoa is high in oxalates, which may cause concerns when dealing with recurring kidney stones
  • There have been studies showing that daily consumption of quinoa
  • Quinoa may improve blood sugar regulation, fullness whilst reducing body weight

How to Cook Quinoa and some Tips to Help Incorporating it in your Diet

Cooking quinoa is very simple and depending on what brand you purchased you may or may not need to rinse the quinoa at all. Make sure to check the package instructions. Other than that you just cook the quinoa with twice the amount of water and some salt for 15-20 minutes until al dente on medium heat. What I like to do is cook the quinoa for 15 minutes with a lid, then turn off the heat and remove the lid. The quinoa will absorb any excess without overcooking and losing its bite.  

It might be a good idea to cook extra, so you can make a quinoa salad on another day. If the texture does not bother you. I prefer mixing quinoa with other things such as these quinoa and bean burgers (here) or cooking it with the rice to serve with curries (for example Red Lentil Coconut Curry) or with stir-fried beans and veggies. I have even tried quinoa and rice arancini, which were really good. You could also add the quinoa to porridge in the mornings. I’m sure there are still more ways to incorporate quinoa, which I will certainly experiment with.     

Well, that was certainly a lot of information to process and I didn’t know most of those things. I found a variety of cooking instructions and I have found the quell method to work best to keep it from overcooking. I have already started various quinoa experiments and will let you know what I have found next time- I hope. Actually already prepped some to make sourdough with it- we will see. Anyway, I hope this was informative for you and you have a great day!


Sources:

Eight Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Quinoa (here)

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