A Quinoa Nutritional Primer
With all the buzz about quinoa these days, you may be asking, "why is quinoa good for you?" Quinoa is very high in protein and has every one of the nine essential amino acids. These nine essential amino acids are the ones that your body cannot synthesize in quantities sufficient to sustain good health, so they need to come from food sources. Qunioa is the only plant-based protien to contain all 9 essential amino acids. Many people think that quinoa is a type of grain, but it's not. Quinoa is actually the seed of a plant related to spinach. This food staple is grown in the mountains of Ecuador and was once called "the gold of the Inca's" because of how it increased stamina. At that time, the Incas didn't know about quinoa's nutritional facts or amino acids.
Stack Up the Quinoa Nutrients for Better Health
Amino acids are the chemicals that make up protein, which provides structure for every living thing from the largest animal to the smallest microbe. Proteins are needed by every cell in the body. They are needed for muscles, hair, nails, organs, repair, growth and the list goes on. Quinoa is a versatile super food because it delivers these nine essential amino acids all in one pseudograin. There is no disputing the nutritional facts of quinoa when you can get all of these amino acids from one product:
- Methionine (cysteine)
- Phenylalanine (tyrosine)
If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa. The proportions are the same: two parts liquid to one part quinoa, and so is the method. Bring water to a boil and add quinoa. The only difference is the time. Quinoa only needs to simmer for 15-20 minutes. You can substitute quinoa in any recipe that would use rice.
Toast Quinoa RecipeAnother great way to cook quinoais to toast it. When you do this, you can store it for about a week in an airtight container to keep out any moisture. It is great when sprinkled over yogurt with berries in the morning for a quick breakfast.
Quinoa Pudding Recipe
Quinoa recipes are abundant. Because you can use it as you would rice, you can even make quinoa pudding. To make four servings of banana quinoa pudding, boil 1 1/2 cups of water and add 3/4 of quinoa. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Leave the quinoa in the pot but remove from the heat. Place 2 cups milk, 2 peeled ripe bananas, 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar into a blender and mix until smooth. Stir this mixture into the saucepan with the quinoa and return to a medium heat. Cook until the mixture is creamy and warm, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the warm mixture and stir without returning to the heat. Serve warm for a delicious dessert on a chilly night.
Now that you know the answer to why is quinoa good for you and know the basics of how to cook quinoa, you are sure to create quinoa recipes of your own. You will be stacking up nutrients for your family's health with this great tasting, versatile little seed that is still the "gold of the Incas."