Technically, quinoa (KEEN-wah) is classified not as a grain but as a type of seed. Quinoa provides a complete protein, making it especially valuable for those who prefer to reduce or completely eliminate animal protein from their diets. It contains all the essential amino acids, including lysine, which is crucial for growing and repairing body tissues. One cup of quinoa provides 9 grams of protein which is one more gram than a medium chicken egg.
Its high magnesium and riboflavin (B2) content make quinoa an excellent nutritional ally for migraine sufferers. Magnesium prevents the migraine pattern of constricting and rebound dilating of the blood vessels. Migraine sufferers who consume more magnesium in their diets have reported fewer headaches. Riboflavin’s ability to promote cellular energy production has a beneficial effect on energy, brain and muscle cells metabolism, providing further protection against migraine attacks.
Magnesium’s ability to relax blood vessels also means eating foods high in this mineral helps reduce hypertension, heart arrhythmia and ischemic heart disease.
Digestion and Detoxifying
This seed-like grain has prebiotic properties, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. Since it is easily digested, your body can readily access the vitamins and minerals it contains. Quinoa also provides a good source of insoluble fiber, promoting healthy elimination processes, helping maintain colon health and preventing the formation of gallstones. The folate and vitamin B in quinoa also boost the liver’s ability to eliminating toxins from the body. People at high risk for cancer, as well as those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease are often advised to eat more whole grains, yet if they have celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivities, they must steer clear of many popular grain products. Quinoa is gluten-free, so those who cannot tolerate gluten can eat it.
Quinoa also offers nearly half the daily minimum requirement for manganese and is a good source of copper and zinc. These minerals are necessary to the synthesis of the superoxide dismutase (S.O.D.) enzyme, an important antioxidant. The S.O.D. enzyme eliminates free radicals which can cause oxidation damage in the body. It not only slows the effects of aging, but may help eliminate cancer cells. Several vitamin companies offer S.O.D. supplements but quinoa enables your body to produce its own natural enzymes.
Quinoa is a delicious and versatile alternative to other grains and can be used to make everything from nibbles to main courses, salads and even great desserts. A good friend recently gave me a spectacular cookbook:
Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365 by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming
There are 170 recipes in this book to get even the most reluctant Quinoa initiate excited.