Quinoa: The Ancient Superfood


Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is quickly becoming the next great superfood. Haven’t heard of it yet? I don’t blame you; it is still a relatively new product as far as being able to purchase it in supermarkets. The first time I came across this fascinating grain was while reading Jared Diamond’s book Collapse which focused on why various societies failed. In one of the chapters he compared the Mayan diet which consisted mainly of low protein corn, to the Incan diet which included high protein quinoa. Having never heard of quinoa I thought perhaps it was no longer grown. But in fact it is still being grown and has been for more than 2000 years. The unique properties of this food are incredible.

High Protein Content

This grain has unusually high protein content for a plant- based source. On top of that, it is considered a complete protein due to the fact that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids required by the human body. They are called essential because the body cannot produce these amino acids on its own.


For anyone with gluten sensitivity, add quinoa to your list of safe foods as it contains no gluten. It is also a very easy food to digest.

Good source of minerals

Quinoa is a very good source of manganese; and a good source of magnesium and iron.

Low saturated fat

Once you try this ancient superfood you may be tempted to eat a large quantity. One less thing to worry about is the fat intake as this grain is low in saturated fat.

Good source of dietary fibre

Another benefit of quinoa is that it provides a good source of dietary fibre.

After researching quinoa and learning of all its benefits I was eager to try this food which was enjoyed by the Incas. Searching for it was a bit like being on an archeological dig but instead of searching for an ancient artifact I was searching for an ancient superfood. Luckily my local supermarket had it in the natural foods section. One of the indicators that this is still a relatively new food product is the fact that there was only one quinoa brand in the store.

Feeling as if I held a piece of history in my hands I rushed home to try this amazing food. My first thought was that it resembled couscous, only with bigger sized grains. Cooking it was straight forward as it is prepared similar to rice. The end product was a light, fluffy pile of little sticking grains which resembled couscous in texture. Even plain, the taste was great but now I add a bit of oil and salt for flavour.

 It has been a few months since my first introduction to quinoa and its popularity is growing. Last time I was at the supermarket there was another quinoa brand being sold by another company. These food companies realize a hot seller when they see one. Another sign of its increase in popularity is the recent bestselling quinoa cookbook by sisters Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming entitled Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood.

Move over rice, quinoa is taking your place.