Quinoa is a whole grain (actually it’s a seed, not a grain) that has been around for thousands of years since the Incas in the Andes used it as a staple for their diets. Vegetarians and vegans should really pay attention to quinoa as it contains one of the highest levels of protein, as well as Vitamins E and Bs and calcium and iron. Quinoa is actually a complete protein containing all eight of the essential amino acids one needs to form protein. And for those of you who are gluten-free or trying not to eat wheat – quinoa is a perfect choice for your natural health!
Whole grains are particularly beneficial to a healthy diet. Quinoa, especially, is very high in fiber which helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks by lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Fiber aids digestion and reduces the incidence of constipation. Adding more fiber to your diet also lowers your risk of certain cancers, and quinoa should be incorporated into the diet of postmenopausal women, as it has also been linked to a reduction in the incidence of breast cancer. Quinoa has a high magnesium content which can aid people with migraine headaches.
Quinoa is easy to cook and it stores well for future use. It’s a great way to start off the day with a protein boost. Mix your breakfast quinoa with berries, seeds, nuts and dried fruit; add a little yogurt or milk and you’ll have a breakfast that is full of natural health.
Quinoa can be substituted for other grains like couscous in Tabouli, or rice in Pilaf. To make quinoa, follow these simple directions.
- Check the label of the package to see if it’s been washed and if not, rinse the quinoa (to remove saponins, natural coatings which are harmless but can be “soapy”) and then drain.
- In a saucepan, put one part quinoa to two parts water – e.g. 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water. Bring the quinoa and the water to a boil, cover, and then reduce to simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Turn off the heat, keep the cover on and the pan on the stove for another 5 minutes.
- When done cooking, the grains will become translucent, and the white germ partially detaches and looks like a little white tail.
- Fluff quinoa gently with a fork (don’t mix with a spoon or it will turn to mush).