Why Quinoa is a good choice for a vegetarian or vegan…
Quinoa has an amazing nutritional profile, in fact one could argue it’s almost perfect in terms of what you get, and for how well tolerated it is.
Let’s start with what it is: It’s a seed really, though some people refer to it as a grain and I guess you could call it a pseudo-grain. You cook it as you would rice, but will a little more water, and you need to rinse it thoroughly before cooking or it can be bitter. It’s fairly neutral in taste, tastes a bit like a combination of cous cous, rice and barley. The red quinoa is pretty, and a little more crunchy. White is probably most popular.
Protein – it has more protein of most grains (e.g. one cup of quinoa will give you about 8g of protein whereas a cup of brown rice will give you about 5 g of protein and the equivalent in brown bread would give you about 3g of protein.)
Amino Acids – it also contains the full spectrum of essential amino acids which means it can be considered a complete protein unlike most other vegetable protein sources.
Fibre – quinoa is high in fibre. One of the bad wraps higher protein diets get, is that they don’t contain enough fibre, add some quinoa to the diet and you get an impressive amount of fibre included. Quinoa contains about three times the fibre of brown rice. Fibre is gut protective, heart protective and helps increase satiety… so it’s a good thing.
Iron – grains are not usually known for their iron content, however quinoa performs pretty well compared to other grains and even vegetables. On its own it won’t meet your iron requirements but it certainly can contribute to your daily intake.
Low GL – quinoa has a lower glycaemic index and load than cous cous, brown rice or polenta… and because of the protein and fibre content it will also keep you fuller for longer. You could call it a slow carb, which makes it a good choice for diabetics or anyone wanting to control their blood sugar spikes and energy levels.
Gluten-free – it’s gluten free, so it’s ideal for anyone who is wheat or gluten intolerant.
Low fat – it’s low in fat, about 2-3 percent.
Other nutrients- It’s a great source of minerals (magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc) and vitamins (vitamin E and B-complex vitamins).
We have a few special recipes including quinoa in our plans, for all these reasons. We hope you enjoy them even more now that you know how good they are for you!