Monday, September 22, 2014

QUINOA - Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor ( N.D.)


Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wa”, is known as a grain, used for its culinary versatility and its high protein content. Interestingly, it is not actually a grain... it's a seed related to the spinach family.

It's considered a pseudo-cereal versus a true cereal like barley, rye and wheat.

In a culture wanting low carb foods, quinoa has gained popularity as it's carbohydrate content is low and it resembles an easily digestible fluffy light grain.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is from South America. Some 5000 years ago the Inca culture began to culture it. It was a key component to many pre-Columbian Andean civilizations.

Quinoa is now considered a superfood due to its nutrient value, phytonutrients and antioxidant content.

What is Quinoa used for and How Does It Work?

Because of Quinoa's low carb content it is a perfect food for those with blood sugar imbalances, like high or low blood sugar and insulin resistance. Because of its low carb content it's also great for those on an Anti-Candida diet. It also acts as a 'prebiotic' feeding healthy bacteria in your gut decreasing chances of Candida yeast and fungus from growing.

Quinoa is also gluten-free, making it an ideal food for those with Celiac disease, gluten sensitive, or for those on a Body Ecology program for Autism.

Quinoa has a high protein content of 14% by weight and possesses all 9 essential amino acids, which is very unusual for a plant. These include: Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine + Cystine, Phenylalanine + Tyrosine, Valine and Histidine.

Quinoa comes in black, brown and red
Quinoa is high in the mineral Magnesium, which is important bowel elimination and relaxing muscles.

It's high in fiber which cleans your colon and lowers cholesterol levels and therefore helpful in Atherosclerosis.

Quinoa is higher in the minerals calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron than wheat, barley or corn.

Because of it's high calcium content, Quinoa is a great addition to diets which are dairy restricted.

As a superfood Quinoa is being considered for NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long duration human occupied space flights.

How do you use it?

Quinoa is best soaked for 8 hours prior to cooking. This removes the phytic acid in the seed which binds minerals. Then it's cooked in water for 10 – 15 min.

Left-overs are great stored in the fridge and later added to salads, soups or stir fries. Or reheat cooked Quinoa with cinnamon, raw nuts, seeds and berries for a great nutritious breakfast.

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