Quinoa is a relatively new food for us, however, it is gradually becoming popular and even the FAO designated 2013 as the international year of quinoa and now we tell you all about this food, its properties, benefits and its use in cooking.
Properties of quinoa
Quinoa is nothing more than a seed, but with unique characteristics as it can be consumed as a cereal, so we also call it a pseudocereal. As such, quinoa provides most of its calories in the form of complex carbohydrates, but it also provides about 16 grams of protein per 100 grams and offers about 6 grams of fat in the same amount of food.
If we compare quinoa with most cereals, it contains much more proteins and fats, although the latter are mostly unsaturated, highlighting the presence of omega 6 and omega 3 acids. Regarding caloric intake, quinoa is similar or slightly higher than a cereal, as it contains less carbohydrates.
Also, we must emphasize its high fiber content, since it can reach 15 grams per 100 grams, being mostly insoluble fiber, as seeds characteristically have.
If we refer to micronutrients, quinoa contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc among minerals, while it also offers B vitamins in significant quantities and vitamin E with antioxidant function.
The benefits of quinoa
Since quinoa can be used as a cereal, it is especially beneficial in the diet of people with celiac disease, as it does not contain gluten.
Also, due to its high fiber content and its higher protein content compared to cereals, quinoa has a low glycemic index, which makes it ideal for people with diabetes or those who want to lose weight while eating healthy.
It is also a great help in controlling blood cholesterol levels, since its fiber and unsaturated lipids favor the lipid profile in the body.
Of course, quinoa also helps to reverse constipation due to its high content of insoluble fiber, and can be very useful in the diet of vegetarians, as it has a high proportion of protein and is also a good source of iron of vegetable origin.
For the sportsman it can be a very valuable food, similar to oatmeal, given the presence of good minerals, complex carbohydrates and proteins.
Clearly, quinoa can be used in all kinds of diets, it is very useful and can offer remarkable benefits to the health of the organism.
Cooking recipes with quinoa
To start using quinoa it is important to wash the seeds beforehand, rubbing them gently with your hands under water, so as to remove the layer of saponins that covers the seeds and that if they remain there, would provide a bitter taste.
We must be careful given the smallness of the seed and we can do this operation on a sieve. We should not soak, but wash and rinse repeatedly, about three or four times under running water.
Then we boil it as if it were rice, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the seed opens. Strain and ready to use.
With quinoa we can prepare all kinds of dishes, from hamburgers, salads, cakes, sautéed or use it as a replacement for oatmeal at breakfast:
Some of the recipes we can elaborate with quinoa are:
These and many other recipes can be prepared with quinoa, a noble food with valuable properties and benefits.