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Quinoa- The Benefits Of This High Protein Gluten Free Grain

With a fluffy texture like couscous and a nutty bite like rice, quinoa is a delicious superfood that is transformable into many amazing recipes.

While it seems “new” in that suddenly we are seeing it on menus, it’s talked about on health websites, and we’re hearing about it in the news, quinoa is actually an ancient “grain” of the Incans.

I say “grain” because it is grain-like, but in reality it is the seed of a plant. It is more related to Swiss chard and kale than it is to wheat or rice.

It is gluten-free making it an edible option for those with gluten allergies and intolerances. It is also low on the glycemic index, meaning it’s a better choice for those who are insulin resistant or type II diabetic.

More after the jump…

Everyone can benefit from quinoa and not just those individuals sensitive to gluten or who are insulin resistant. It is packed with protein, containing 8 of the essential amino acids that are normally only found in meat and animal products.

Vegetarians and vegans alike frequently miss out on the essential amino acids because they don’t eat animal proteins. This makes quinoa a good choice to add the diet for protein needs.

In addition to the high amount of protein, quinoa is loaded with vitamins and minerals including manganese, copper, iron, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E, and several B vitamins.

Magnesium helps relax blood vessels, making it essential in maintaining cardiovascular health. It also helps in combination with riboflavin (vitamin B2) to alleviate headaches. Manganese is a powerful antioxidant helping prevent cancer growth and inflammation.

Calcium keeps bones strong, and iron keeps our blood oxygen-rich. This multi-benefit to our health essentially makes quinoa the “multi-vitamin” of grains.

Because of its versatility in many recipes, quinoa can be an appetizer, side dish, or main dish. It’s also possible to bake with quinoa, as several health food chains now carry quinoa flour.

There are different colors of quinoa that don’t have a great effect on the nutrients or taste, but can add color and “pizazz” to your meals.

It is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at most grocery store chains or specialty food stores. One of my favorite brands is “Bob’s Red Mill” and can be found at most grocery stores.

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, you really are missing out. Give it a try next week.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up today for a no obligations consultation.

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Category: Nutrition.