Did You Know Quinoa Is This Good For You?

almond-and-pomegranate-black-quinoa-salad1Seeing as 2013 has officially been declared The International Year of the Quinoa, I thought there was no better way to re-launch the super food articles that were so popular here at Lifestyle and Strength a while back. Getting back to writing more about super foods has been something I have wanted to do for some time, but training and diet is what everyone wants me to discuss, so that’s what I do. Give the people what they want, I say. In this case I wanted to get back to writing about super foods, even if it’s not regularly and let all of those people know what is in that quinoa that has become so massively popular, and for good reason.

The reason quinoa is called the food of the year is because of its overall nutrient profile. The composition of quinoa is unusual and definitely worthy of being considered one of the most complete sources of nutrition overall. Quinoa can be eaten the same way a grain can, and can be ground into as well. The important difference apart from quinoa’s superior nutrient profile is that quinoa does not come with the many negatives that most grains do.

The first of those is quinoa’s protein content. Most grains are considered to be too low in protein to be considered a decent source, mostly because they lack the amino acids lysine and isoleucine in adequate amounts. Due to these low levels, most grains cannot be considered complete protein sources. Quinoa on the other hand has both of these amino’s in good IMG_3386quantity, and therefore serves as a complete source of protein.

The fat content of most grains is also very low. Quinoa is considered to be a valuable source of healthy fats. Roughly 25 percent of quinoa’s fat content is in the form of oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat. Eight percent of its fat content comes in the form of alpha-linoleic acid, which is most often found in plants. It is this fat that is associated with decreased inflammation-related disease.

Although quinoa, nor any grains for that matter qualify as good vitamin E sources, in the case of quinoa it contains significant amounts of certain tocopherols, which are related to vitamin E. These tocopherols are not in other grains. Gamma-tocopherol has been associated with having anti-inflammatory benefits. Quinoa is also rich in folate, copper and phosphorus, where as most other grains are not.

Calcium is considered a key mineral for human health, and quinoa is also ahead of other grains in this respect. Calcium in found in quinoa at twice the amount that is found in wheat.

Phytonutrients and flavonoids are also well represented in quinoa. The phytonutrients and flavonoids present, namely quercetin and kaempferol, are so great that they are often in higher concentrations than what is found in high-flavonoid berries like cranberry or lingonberry. Ferulic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and vanillic acid are others present and worthy of mention.

quinoa2One cup of quinoa has:

  • 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
  • 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
  • 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
  • 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
  • A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250
  • 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value)
  • 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B)
  • 30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)

Happy Lifting!

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4 comments for “Did You Know Quinoa Is This Good For You?

  1. March 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I encourage all my patients, and anyone who will listen, to add Quinoa to their meal plans! It is a staple in my place…thanks for spreading the word, so affordable and easy to make!

    • March 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

      I’d have to agree with you on that Jessica. As far as a carb source is concerned, there really isn’t a better one that comes to mind.

  2. March 26, 2013 at 9:00 am

    AND it tastes great too! This is usually my carb of choice post workout with my backloading.

    • March 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

      The good tasting part is a nice bonus as well!

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