Wellness Wednesdays: The miracle grain

If you have been following the rise of “super foods” at all then you have most probably come across a grain called quinoa quite often. Quinoa has been described as a “Miracle Food” and ‘The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)’ has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa”.

A product of Peru – Quinoa is a food that contains more protein than any other grain and it is considered a complete protein because it has all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa is also higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains. It provides a rich balanced source of vital nutrients.

The following excerpt is from a book called The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood. Yes, she loves this grain so much she wrote an entire book about it.

“A careful look at a single grain of quinoa quickly reveals its nutritional superiority to other grains. The germ, equivalent to the yolk of an egg, is the most power-packed part of any seed. In most grains it is little more than a speck, but quinoa’s germ completely surrounds the rest of the seed. This helps explain why quinoa contains up to 20 percent high-quality protein. Hard spring wheat, the next highest common grain in protein, contains only 14 percent by comparison. The United Nations World Health Organization observes that quinoa is closer to the ideal protein balance than any other grain, being at least equal to milk in protein quality. This dynamic grain is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E.”

Quinoa – the health benefits (summarised)

  • Gluten-free.
  • High quality protein with nine essential amino acids (the protein balance is similar to milk).
  • Good source of riboflavin which is vitamin B2 and plays a key role in energy metabolism and for the metabolism of fats, ketone bodies, carbohydrates and proteins.
  • It is also known as an ancient powerfood as the Inca warriors had more stamina and quicker recovery food after eating this preferred energy source.
  • Few calories (only 172 calories per 1/4 cup dry (24 from protein and only 12 from sugars).
  • Complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index which means it won’t spike your blood sugar.
  • full of fibre and healthy fats.

For an easy to prepare and tasty meal using this miracle grain, as well as for the health ingredients of all the other ingredients used, click on over here.

Have you tried quinoa? How did you prepare and serve it?