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Quinoa: The Gluten-Free Superfood

Superfoods are the rare foods that do the best job of keeping us healthy and nourished. While not every healthy food is a superfood, quinoa has so many excellent health benefits that it is considered both. Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wah, is an ancient grain that traditionally comes from the Andes mountain range in South America. Today, quinoa is so famous for its health benefits that it is grown in numerous countries worldwide. Find out more about quinoa and learn the facts that define it as a superfood. 

What Makes Any Food a Superfood?

Superfoods are particularly healthy foods recognized for being nutrient-dense without packing too many calories or fat grams. Superfoods typically are sought out by people who are health conscious or those on controlled diets. They offer the best bang for the buck when determining which foods can fit macros, come in under calories, or hit grams, respectively. Nutrient-dense foods are not all the same, but they do generally target boosting similar functions in the body, such as:

  • Weight maintenance 
  • Low cholesterol 
  • Reduced inflammation 
  • Cardiovascular health 
  • Immune system 
  • Mental clarity 

Superfoods also contain a typical profile that not all other foods, healthy or otherwise, do. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are always found in significant quantities. While you can get the same elements from supplements, absorbing them from natural sources is significantly better and more regulated. 

Superfoods are also generally packed with healthy fats, fiber, and flavonoids. There is often confusion surrounding nutritional terms, and clarification helps secure more informed food choices for some people. 

Healthy Fats

These fats are also known as good fats that your body can use for nutritional purposes. Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that aid your body in preventing cardiovascular issues.

Fiber

Dietary fiber is a naturally occurring carbohydrate from fruits, vegetables, and grains. Fiber aids in digestion, controlled cholesterol, weight, blood sugar levels, and prolonged life due to the general maintenance of body functions. 

Flavonoids

Sometimes referred to as vitamin P, flavonoids are plant-based metabolite compounds that provide the body with anti-carcinogenic and aunty-inflammatory properties. 

What Are the Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Quinoa?

Quinoa is recognized as a superfood, but what classifies it as a complex nutrient? Scientists globally, including researchers from Harvard, classify quinoa as a superfood based on its evidence-based health benefits. 

1.) Quinoa is an excellent source of thiamin, manganese, phosphorous, folate, and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals support healthy development and growth.

2.) Quinoa provides a sufficient amount of fiber in one serving. 

3.) Quinoa is classified as a complete protein because it has all nine amino acids that the body cannot make independently. 

4.) Quinoa is allergy tolerant. Those with a gluten allergy can safely imbibe the seed, generally referred to as a whole grain. 

Is Quinoa Safe for Everyone?

Quinoa is renowned for being a superfood that promotes a complete protein base for nutritious meals. However, some people report that the seed turned whole grain isn’t for them. Is refusing quinoa a preference issue, or is it something more? 

Saponin Reactions 

Saponin is a naturally occurring coating on the outside of quinoa. It is produced by the plant and acts as a repellent to pests. Saponin is usually removed during processing. However, some saponins might remain. If quinoa is not rinsed and soaked before cooking, it can cause digestive discomfort. 

Global Farming 

Initially, the Andean region in South America profited from the quinoa industry. Sustainable practices were not always in place as the industry and demand for the product grew. Some farms and families suffered from land stripping only to move crops elsewhere when the resources ran dry. With over 120 known varieties of quinoa, there is still a great selection on supermarket shelves but be sure to look for those offerings with sustainable practices. 

Celiac Disease

People who suffer from gluten allergies are relieved to discover quinoa. The earthy and slightly nutty grain née seed is a preferred replacement for oats, rice, flour, or pasta containing wheat. Unlike other carbs, quinoa provides celiacs with complete protein rather than empty calories from ultra-processed food items. 

Yes, Quinoa Is a Superfood That You Can Find at the Roots Lab 

The truth is that quinoa has a silly-sounding name but keeping your food choices as nutrient-dense as possible is serious business. You can incorporate quinoa into your daily diet by making simple swaps for empty carbs in cereals, stir-frys, and snack items. Look for quinoa as the primary ingredient in the selection of conscious snacks that maintain the proper portion sizes by shopping the online selection at The Roots Lab.

Image Source: Elena Schweitzer / Shutterstock

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