The Basics About Quinoa!

We all know what tumbleweeds are. Even if you don’t live in an area where tumbleweeds are prevalent, it’s no doubt that you have seen them on movies and tv shows. But not everyone knows what quinoa is. And yet quinoa is a cousin of the tumbleweed! It isn’t technically a grain, but it is commonly substituted  as a healthy alternative for grain in recipes. According to UN Observances, the United Nations have declared the year 2013 to be “International Year of Quinoa.”

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First, when you are learning about quinoa, you should learn how to pronounce the word. There are many creative versions out there – made up by people who have no idea what this healthy food is. The correct pronunciation should sound like Keen-Wah. Now that you have the name down, it’s time to start learning about all of the nutrients found in this super-food!

  • Quinoa has a higher fat content than grains like wheat or rice. But all of the fat that it contains is healthy, so you shouldn’t ever feel bad for eating it. Some of the fat found in quinoa is omega-3, and some is monounsaturated. These healthy fats help to lower the LDLs (bad cholesterol) and increase HDLs (good cholesterol). So if for no other reason, eat quinoa for the heart healthy benefits!
  • Other benefits include a high antioxidant and fiber content, low calorie count, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Quinoa is also considered to be a complete source of protein. There isn’t another grain out there that possesses the same protein content and also the amino acids needed to digest the protein.

When quinoa grows, it has a bitter tasting saponin substance covering the seeds. This mild irritant is normally removed during processing, so most quinoa that you will buy at the store is ready to cook after just a light rinse! If the quinoa hasn’t been pre-rinsed, then it will require a several minute rinse in a strainer under running water. This will remove the saponin and ensure that your quinoa doesn’t have a bitter taste.

You can cook quinoa just like you would cook rice. Add 2 cups of water for every cup of grain. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. There are thousands of quinoa recipes out there, online. A good place to start would be with this extremely healthy quinoa and black bean recipe! so check some of them out and enjoy a new-found love for this versatile super-food!

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