Quinoa, a seed full of benefits for our health

Do you know the benefits of quinoa? This plant is considered one of the healthiest and most complex in the world, which is why it has been on the menu of many people. Therefore, we have separated for you all the information about what it is, how to prepare and the benefits of quinoa.

First of all, it’s good to specify that we’re talking about quinoa seeds. But, it also includes quinoa flour, which is made from the seeds of this plant. These are the main ways to consume this food: raw seed or flour.

In the last decade, mainly, several studies and scientific articles were produced with the results of researches carried out with quinoa. Most of them are surprising, and show that these little seeds are beneficial to your health in many ways.

That’s why we at Remédio Caseiro went in search of all this official information to show you, in a simple and clear way, that quinoa is really worth consuming!

What is quinoa?

Quinoa/quinua is a plant native to the Andes region ( 1 ). Its scientific name is Chenopodium quinoa Willd. It is considered an easy plant to grow, as it adapts to different types of soils and climates.

It is considered a cereal, like wheat or barley . In fact, a “pseudo-cereal” as it contains properties that differ greatly from traditional cereals. But that’s something you’ll see in the next topic.

Studies show that quinoa seeds have been used in the diet of different peoples for over 3,000 years. However, there are archeological records that indicate that these seeds have been used for over 5,000 years for pastoral use.

An interesting curiosity about quinoa is that the United Nations (UN) named the year 2013 as “The International Year of Quinoa”. This choice was important, as it recognized its importance in world food.

Quinoa became famous for its health and healthy living benefits. But, many people still have doubts about the benefits of this food surrounded by myths. That’s why we’ve prepared this content to answer all your questions.

What is it for?

First, quinoa is a natural food rich in various nutrients that are good for your health, such as vitamins and minerals. Thus, several benefits have already been proven by science and medicine. See the main benefits of quinoa:

  • Nutrient rich
  • Gluten-free
  • lowers cholesterol
  • Improves digestion
  • Provides energy to the body
  • Regulates the bowel
  • It is an antioxidant (prevents cancer)
  • Lowers blood sugar and prevents diabetes
  • good for the brain
  • Fight inflammation
  • Prevent obesity

Plenty of benefits, isn’t it? It is noteworthy that these that were listed are the benefits proven by science so far. Of course there are other healthy advantages, but these are still being studied or undergoing testing.

Thus, we chose those that were listed because there is already a scientific basis that proves them. Thus, we certify that all our information is based on original and certified research and studies. Below, you’ll learn more about each.

Learn more about the benefits

Below, you will see a little more about each of these benefits and you will be able to find the scientific sources that confirm the veracity of all at the end of the article.

Nutrient rich

First of all, it is necessary to show how quinoa is rich in nutrients that guarantee good health! That’s why we’ve put together a list for you with some of the main nutritional and healthy properties found in quinoa. Look!

By consuming 100 grams of quinoa (seeds or flour), your body obtains the following healthy nutrients ( 2 ):

  • 14.1 grams of vegetable protein (28% of the Recommended Daily Intake)
  • 7 grams of fiber
  • 102% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of manganese
  • 49% of magnesium IDR
  • 46% of phosphorus IDR
  • 46% gives RDI of vitamin B9 (folate)
  • 30% of copper IDR
  • 25% of iron IDR
  • 24% of vitamin B6 IDR
  • 24% of vitamin B1 IDR
  • 21% of zinc IDR
  • 19% da IDR the vitamin B2
  • 16% of Potassium IDR

It has already been noticed that in just 100 grams of this food, it is possible to find several minerals and vitamins (mainly the B complex). In this way, a person who eats quinoa daily is nourishing the body with several healthy properties.

Gluten-free

Another special feature of this grain is that it does not contain gluten , something that is common among other cereals ( 3 ). Thus, it is a food released for celiac people (allergic to gluten). These people generally have to avoid most cereals, but they can eat quinoa with peace of mind.

We’ve already talked in other articles here at Remédio Casairo that gluten is not this villain that everyone thinks. After all, studies have already shown the benefits of gluten even in cancer prevention ( 4 ). However, people who want to lose weight quickly or are celiac avoid the consumption of gluten.

In this case, quinoa is a great substitute. In addition to being rich in nutrients and healthy properties, it is gluten free and a great source of fiber (which also helps you lose weight in a healthy way).

lowers cholesterol

Recent studies have proven that quinoa has properties capable of reducing cholesterol levels ( 5 ). By this we are referring to bad cholesterol (LDL). So, if you have difficulty controlling this rate, quinoa could be the solution to the problem.

In addition, just look at the quinoa nutritional table to see that its composition is capable of regulating blood pressure and preventing heart disease ( 2 , 5 , 6 ). Thus, it is a very beneficial natural food for people in middle and old age, since they are the main groups that experience problems related to cholesterol.

Improves digestion

Another benefit of consuming quinoa proven by science is improved digestion ( 5 ). This is due, in particular, to two components of the composition of this food: fiber and minerals.

Fiber, as everyone already knows, is good for the digestive tract. In addition to improving the work of the intestine, they also stimulate the stomach and promote satiety.

On the other hand, the minerals present in quinoa act as auxiliaries for various processes in the body, including the maintenance of various organs. In this way, the digestive cycle is also surprisingly benefited.

Provides energy to the body

Ever wonder why it’s so common for people to eat cereal in the morning? Well, this habit has a great foundation: cereals, such as quinoa, provide energy for the body. That is, more disposition, strength, attention and even good humor.

This is because quinoa is a source of protein ( 2 ). But it is not animal protein or milk , which are the most traditional. Quinoa, in turn, provides vegetable protein, which is just as nutritious and healthy as the others.

Thus, quinoa is always a protein alternative for vegans (people who do not consume anything of animal origin). There are other more protein foods, but quinoa has a prominent place because it also brings many other nutrients!

Regulates the bowel

As we mentioned before, fiber is essential for the health of the intestinal flora. Additionally, quinoa is a rich source of fiber ( 2 ). They aid digestion, stimulate the bowel and promote what doctors call “healthy bowel movement.”

Anyone who suffers from dysregulated bowel, diarrhea or constipation knows that this is no joke. These are even mood-altering problems. In addition, they can also cause symptoms such as swelling, pain, malaise, nausea and dizziness.

So if you want to see your intestines working perfectly, include quinoa and other cereals in your diet. Fiber from these foods will make all the difference in your life. But remember that quinoa is the healthiest cereal and put it first!

It is an antioxidant (prevents cancer)

An American study proved quinoa’s great potential: antioxidant action and cancer prevention ( 6 ). Research carried out in 2017 identified that there are substances in quinoa that act as inhibitors of free radicals, which produce oxidative stress in cells and pose a risk for various diseases.

In this way, quinoa not only prevents cancer, but many other serious illnesses. For example, you can lower your chances of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, premature aging, degenerative diseases and heart disease.

Also, consuming antioxidant foods helps with beauty. They help to give more quality to the skin and hair, for example. So, bet on the daily consumption of quinoa to achieve health, well-being and improve your appearance!

Lowers blood sugar and prevents diabetes

Another benefit of the fibers present in the composition of quinoa is the reduction of sugar in the body and prevention of diabetes ( 6 ). First of all, diabetes prevention is also a consequence of the antioxidant action, which decreases the chances of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.

Regarding the decrease in blood sugar, scientists prove that the combination of fiber and other nutrients are responsible for this benefit ( 2 ). Thus, quinoa is very suitable for diabetic patients.

Likewise, quinoa is considered a preventive food for blood glucose spikes in these patients. In other words, consuming quinoa can ward off the sudden increase in sugar, a problem that causes various symptoms, such as feeling sick, dizziness, nausea and even fainting.

good for the brain

One study has shown that quinoa consumption helps improve the neural functions of the human brain ( 7 ). This benefit is the result of the complex and beneficial combination of quinoa composition, rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.

Thus, a very suitable food for people who are entering the third age. It helps to keep essential brain functions healthy and lower the risk of brain disease. Besides, we’ve already said that it’s good for the heart !

Fight inflammation

It is medically proven that quinoa has very potent anti-inflammatory properties ( 6 ). Thus, it is a food indicated to help treat inflammation, reduce inflammatory pain and prevent various diseases.

Thus, the anti-inflammatory power of quinoa can help in the treatment and recovery of inflammatory diseases and relieve the famous pain in the back , joints and shoulders, which are often caused by minor inflammations.

But, it is noteworthy that there is no point trying to fight inflammation with quinoa if your diet is not healthy. That is, there are foods that increase inflammation, so they should be avoided. It’s no use eating quinoa if you eat these foods that nullify the effect of quinoa.

Prevent obesity

Finally, as the last benefit (from the list of the main ones) we have the prevention of obesity ( 6 ). Yes, this food is considered by science one of the main cereals capable of preventing this problem.

Although it contains calories, quinoa is basically made up of fiber and nutrients. Therefore, it brings very little fat and helps throughout the digestive process. This even helps to reduce the absorption of fat from the stomach.

And these are just some of the benefits. Since quinoa is still widely studied in science, every year the number of benefits increases. So, you can now include it in your diet, as you will already be giving that “up” in health!

How to consume correctly

Quinoa is a versatile food. Therefore, it can be consumed raw (seeds or flour) with fruits, yogurts and nutritious drinks, or even cooked, as part of daily meals.

There are a multitude of ways to use quinoa in different dishes and recipes. It is even an ingredient that has appeared in the haute cuisine of some restaurants. The preparation is at the discretion of the consumer.

However, the only caveat we make is actually a reminder. When quinoa is cooked, it loses most of its fiber, which reduces some benefits, such as improving the intestinal flora, for example. Watch out for it!

Types of quinoa

A quick internet search can show you that there are many different types and colors of quinoa, but they are all the same. Especially when it comes to composition and nutrients.

You can find red, black, pink, yellow, green, orange, purple and even pink quinoa. What happens is that the color of the food changes due to the form of cultivation, type of soil and climate. But the composition is basically the same.

We mentioned above that this is an easy-to-cultivate plant that works in various soils and climates. But of course it adapts to each location, so it has different colors, shapes and sizes.

Even so, it is estimated that there are about 120 species of the plant, classified into more than 1800 varieties. They are usually categorized by weather.

Where to buy

A few years ago, quinoa was a hard-to-find food. Today, it’s a little easier, and you can find it in natural food stores, large supermarkets or even buy online.

Contraindications

Quinoa is a food without general contraindications. As it is a natural food, it does not cause harm, but should be analyzed in case of allergies.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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