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Quinoa has been getting a lot of notice lately from health food stores and foodie magazines and blogs.   You can find recipes to make quinoa into patties, serve it with chicken, or eat it plain.  Quinoa is everywhere, but what really is it and what are its benefits? 

Quinoa is grain like and grows throughout South America, Peru being the largest producer.  South American’s have been consuming it for thousands of years and it has just now started to take a foothold in the Unites State’s market.  As a country with one of the highest consumption rate of grains, it is surprising that quinoa is just now growing in popularity. 

One of the reasons, quinoa maybe catching on in the Unites States is because of its gluten free benefits.  Gluten free might be the buzzword of the century.  Walk into any grocery store or café and you will find a gluten free section.  Quinoa benefits those people who attempt to stay gluten free an alternative.  Quinoa can be made into pasta shells, breads, and flour.  Quinoa seed is also a great alternative to couscous. 


Quinoa Plant
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Quinoa also offers great nutritional benefits.  Unlike its alternatives like wheat and rice, Quinoa is high in protein, which makes it very attractive to athletes and vegetarians.  It is also a complete protein source, which is difficult to find among other grains.  The benefit of a complete protein is that it contains all nine amino acids necessary for people’s nutrition.  If you are eating foods that do not contain the nine amino acids necessary then you must combine it with other foods that contain the remaining acids in order to receive the nutritional benefits of the nine amino acids.  There are very few foods outside of meat (chicken, fish, or beef, etc) that contain all nine amino acids

Another great benefit to quinoa is its mild taste.  It is similar to pasta in that you can add almost anything to quinoa and it will blend well together.   A perfectly healthy meal can be made with quinoa, a meat source, vegetables, and dressing.   Cooked quinoa can also be beneficial for long travels such as car or airplane trips since it can be stored outside of the fridge for longer periods of time.

Among quinoa’s other health benefits are its nutritional benefits.  Some of those benefits are manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper, and phosphorus.  All of these nutrients have added health benefits such as gallstone protection, migraine prevention, anemia, and childhood asthma. 

Cooking quinoa is so simple that you could even do it camping and do not need a rice maker!  All you need is hot water and a pan, pot, or bowl with a lid.  To cook you combine two parts water and one part quinoa in a pot with a lid, boil and then cover for 10 to 15 minutes.  When the quinoa is cooking you will notice the grain changing in color to a translucent appearance. 

Quinoa should be added to your weekly meals because of its numerous health benefits.  On top of all the benefits, it is very simple to make!