Quinoa is a plant that thrives at extremely high altitudes in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. It was already cultivated thousands of years ago by the legendary Incas. The name ‘Quinoa’ comes from the Quechua language, the original language of the Incas. The Incas boiled Quinoa like rice and considered Quinoa as ‘sacred food’. Today, demand for Quinoa and Quinoa products is rapidly increasing, due to its high nutritional values.
Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods. Quinoa is high in protein and Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and antioxidants. Besides Quinoa has a low glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar control. Last but not least, Quinoa is very easy to incorporate into your diet. Quinoa is really tasty and it goes very well with many foods.
Quinoa is often called a ‘pseudograin’. However Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain, rice, pasta or potatoes. Proteins consist of units called amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of protein.
To meet ideal nutritional needs, people need to consume foods with all of the essential amino acids. Animal products are complete proteins, because they provide all essential amino acids. Plant products often offer some but not all amino acids. Quinoa, however, is a complete protein, making it a rare and special entity in the plant kingdom.
Quinoa contains more dietary fibers than rice, pasta or potatoes. Dietary fibers promote a good digestion and a well-functioning gut. Dietary fibers can help reduce blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, increase fullness and help with weight loss. Furthermore, Quinoa is richer in vitamins such as vitamin E and B, and minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, when compared with other grains.
The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a high Glycemic Index can stimulate hunger and can contribute to obesity. Quinoa has a Glycemic Index of 35, which is considered low.
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